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1998-01-23 21:23:23


Governments Will Not Meet Deadline, Say Experts



I am not the only person who says that government agencies will not make it by 2000.

This appeared in the DETROIT NEWS (Dec. 19).

* * * * * * *

  Vital national computer operations responsible for the Air Traffic Control system are "at high risk of system failure" at the turn of the century because of poor management by the Department of Transportation.

    That's the bleak assessment of the Office of Management and Budget, which this week sent a wide-ranging report to Congress on how federal agencies are handling the Year 2000 computer glitch -- destined to become the most costly, vexing and time consuming problem in the brief history of the information age. . . .       "Some systems are going to collapse completely and some will be immune, and we won't know which ones are which until it happens," said computer scientist Peter Neumann of SRI International, a nonprofit think tank.         The survey finds:

   * Federal officials concede they won't be able to examine and repair every system -- the military alone may have more than 1 million desktop computers. But officials say they are committed to repairing or replacing vital equipment.

   * State officials say they will be able to fix only their most critical systems. Two reasons for the crunch: tight budgets and scarce, sought-after labor. . . .

    The widely accepted goal is to have all the work done in time for a full year of testing. Government won't make it.

    "We can pretty much unequivocally say that no agency will have reached a position of being able to enter into a year-long test of all their critical systems," Smith said. . . .

    "I don't think anybody has a real clue how much it's going to cost to pick up the pieces for all of this," said John Pike, of the Federation of American Scientists.

    "Federal estimates are all over the place and they're always changing," added Al Picarelli with the consulting firm of Booze-Allen & Hamilton. "Nobody really knows how big or how small it really is going to end up."


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