At the same Subcommittee Meeting of the House Ways & Means Committee at which Joel Willemssen outlined the Treasury's problems, a Treasury spokesman painted a not-quite-so-gloomy picture. The spokesman is the man in charge of the repair. It's all going according to schedule, he assured Committee members. Compliance is just around the corner. And when he says just around the corner, he means JUST AROUND THE CORNER. (OK, I'm stealing this from a depression-era film short by Robert Benchley, on economic recovery, which was also just around the corner. Actually, his son's book is more fitting: JAWS.)
What we are being told is that the Treasury is nowhere near compliant.
Meanwhile, there are regular committee meetings. This is vitally important -- not for the survival of the Treasury, but for the careers of the participants. They will be able to prove that they were doing everything they could.
Of course, if Treasury shuts down in 2000, there will be nobody left in the Federal government to prove anything to.
The Treasury has over 6,800 external interfaces with outside organizations. Most of these interfaces are compliant, we are assured. Unfortunately, he forgot to mention that the computers at the other end of the 6,800+ lines are noncompliant -- a technical detail, no doubt. So, when noncompliant data pour through the phone lines in 2000 (if the phone systems are still up), into and out of the Treasury, these data will get though intact -- and noncompliant.
Then there are the third-party software vendors. Some -- no figures here, of course; just "some" -- have not released compliant software. No doubt they will. Probably. Real Soon Now.
If the vendors don't come through, Treasury cannot conduct testing. "While we are continuing to work on our renovation efforts, our testing cannot be completed until we have obtained and integrated the Year 2000 compliant third-party versions of these products." With holes in the Treasury's systems, the systems will fail.
Then there is the man's writing style. It inspires, if not confidence, then at least narcolepsy:
"Since the kickoff of the Treasury Non-IT Working Group on August 28, 1997, Non-IT efforts have been continuing. The management planning and the definition of bureau and office specific Treasury Year 2000 Non-IT management plans began on October 16, 1997. These plans are based on the standard plan format, overall process, and content requirements as defined in the Treasury Year 2000 Non-IT Baseline Management Plan, dated October 16, 1997."
Remember: what is said here applies to every Western nation's systems. No national government's Treasury is compliant today. This is not just a U.S. problem.
* * * * * * * * *
Statement of James J. Flyzik Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and Chief Information Officer U.S. Department of the Treasury
Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the House Committee on Ways and Means
Hearing on the Year 2000 Computer Problem
May 7, 1998
The Assistant Secretary for Management and CFO has overall responsibility for the Year 2000 date transition. As Deputy Assistant Secretary (Information Systems) and CIO, I am the overall program manager for the Year 2000 effort. The day-to-day responsibilities of the Year 2000 program reside within my office. . . .
Secretary of the Treasury Rubin is briefed periodically on the status of our Year 2000 program, and the Assistant Secretary for Management and CFO and myself meet weekly with bureau heads to review their Year 2000 progress. Working groups meet regularly for the IT, Non-IT, and Telecommunications components of our program. The Department requires each bureau and office to submit detailed monthly status reports. . . .
Treasury has identified 323 mission critical IT systems and 269 mission critical Non-IT systems. At present, we have renovated 133, or 54.7% of the mission critical IT systems that need to be converted. We can now report 125 out of 323 (38.7%) of the total mission critical IT systems are now Year 2000 compliant.
I believe that, as a Department, we have made significantly more progress than has been indicated by the above figures. . . .
Treasury operates one of the largest enterprise telecommunications networks in the Government. . . .
The Treasury Communications System (TCS) is a nationwide data network serving all Treasury bureaus and some Federal agencies (such as Justice). The TCS provides multiple services and is the largest secure, private wide-area network in the U.S. civilian Government. We have established a test laboratory where each component of the TCS network can be tested, both as an independent system, and from an interoperability perspective as each component is interconnected with other components. Treasury is coordinating the Year 2000 issues with the manufacturer of each piece of equipment and software incorporated in the TCS network and expects to be operationally Year 2000 compliant on or before 30 September 1998. . . .
Since the kickoff of the Treasury Non-IT Working Group on August 28, 1997, Non-IT efforts have been continuing. The management planning and the definition of bureau and office specific Treasury Year 2000 Non-IT management plans began on October 16, 1997. These plans are based on the standard plan format, overall process, and content requirements as defined in the Treasury Year 2000 Non-IT Baseline Management Plan, dated October 16, 1997. This Treasury plan has been used as a model by the General Services Administration (GSA) for addressing Non-IT systems. . . .
As of March 6, 1998, Treasury bureaus and offices had identified 6,898 external data exchanges, of which 3,169 were incoming and 3,729 were outgoing. The Department has assessed 6,878 out of 6,898 (99.7%) of these external data exchanges, and found that 87.3% are Year 2000 compliant or have been granted a waiver. Of the 2,551 interfaces with the US private sector, Treasury bureaus and offices thus far have contacted 2,446 and reached agreements with 2,391. . . .
In spite of our best efforts to date and our aggressive plans for the future, the Year 2000 problem is far from solved. Indeed, several significant key issues pose special challenges for us, and possibly for other Government agencies as well.
One issue that concerns us is vendor schedules for Year 2000 compliant versions of their commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software products. Some vendors have yet to release Year 2000 compliant upgrades of their products. While we are continuing to work on our renovation efforts, our testing cannot be completed until we have obtained and integrated the Year 2000 compliant third-party versions of these products. . . .
I believe that Treasury has an aggressive overall Year 2000 program in place, and we are on target to complete the conversion, testing, validation, and implementation of all mission critical systems in time to avoid disruption to any critical systems. Nothing less than 100% compliance will be acceptable to the American public, or to me personally.