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The article appeared in GOVERNMENT COMPUTER NEWS (Sept. 15).
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During a recent test, the Defense Department's Global Command and Control System failed when the date was rolled over to the year 2000. The system failure occurred Aug. 1 during the closing hours of this year's Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, an exercise conducted annually to demonstrate emerging technologies that are designed to improve command, control, communications, computers and intelligence operations. DOD held JWID '97 from July 7 to Aug. 1 at 45 sites worldwide.
With a little more than two years left to revise problem date code, the inability of the department's premier command and control system to pass a year 2000 experiment has given DOD officials pause.
"This is a very serious problem," said Marvin Langston, the Navy's chief information officer, in an Aug. 29 policy paper. "Since the problem is known, it can be remedied before the results are catastrophic or significant--if action is taken now." . . .
"Even if the operating system is year 2000-compliant, that doesn't automatically mean that all the applications that run on it are," said John Leahy, government markets manager at Sun Microsystems Federal Inc.
"We can make the operating system year 2000-compliant, but we can't make all the applications year 2000-compliant," Leahy said. "When JWID had problems, it led me to believe there was a problem with the software applications."
But JWID officials rejected the assertion that the GCCS software itself was to blame for the failure.
"We have no indication that the common operational picture software we developed for JWID had a problem," Harvey said. . . .
The year 2000 JWID experiment, which included 28 technology demonstrations, was specifically designed to identify and evaluate potential date code problems in C4I systems. Operating clocks were set ahead on all systems at the end of the JWID exercises to see what would happen. . . .
In 10 of the 28 technology demonstrations, either the software expired or the machines froze, Harvey said. . . .
GCCS is a comprehensive, interoperable system deployed at 500 DOD sites worldwide. DOD uses it to generate a common operational picture of the battlefield for planning, executing and managing military operations. It replaced the Worldwide Military Command and Control System in August 1996.