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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Government

Date: 

1998-05-12 13:26:45

Subject: 

The Treasury's FMS: Key to the Survival of the Government

  Link:

http://www.house.gov/ways_means/oversite/testmony/5-7-98/5-7crai.htm

Comment: 

The Treasury's Financial Management Services (FMS) is the linchpin. If it fails, the U.S. government goes down for the count.

A spokewoman testified to the House Ways & Means subcommittee about the noncompliant sytatus of FMS, and how she really, truly hopes it will be compliant by mid-1999. "Certification is scheduled for completion on all but one of our systems, by March of 1999; the remaining system will be certified by June of 1999. Post implementation reviews will be conducted during the rest of 1999."

Hope springs eternal. Systems crash on 1/1/2000.

Finally, "We recognize the importance and enormity of the challenge and are working to ensure that important government services are not disrupted on January 1, 2000." In short, they're working on it.

One other slight problem: ". . . FMS depends on vendors for telecommunications and software services, and public infrastructure services for power and transportation."

The y2k problem is systemic. It cannot be fixed.

* * * * * * * *

In my capacity as Assistant Commissioner of Information Resources, I have the responsibility for making the program decisions to ensure that FMS computer systems are Y2K compliant. . . .

FMS plays a central and critical role within the government. Virtually every Federal agency depends on us to facilitate the issuance of payments, collection of revenue and delinquent debt, and accounting for the government's receipts and outlays. Each fiscal year, FMS issues over 850 million payments, with a dollar value of more than $1 trillion. We issue these payments on behalf of civilian agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Internal Revenue Service. Our payment services touch the lives of over 100 million people, and literally tens of millions of Americans depend on FMS systems to meet lifeline needs every month. FMS also provides debt collection services and manages the processing of roughly $1.4 trillion in Federal revenues, which include corporate and individual income taxes, customs duties, and Federal fines. And, FMS maintains the central accounting and reporting systems that track the government's monetary assets and liabilities, 7,500 separate Congressionally enacted accounts in all. Making sure our systems are year 2000 compliant is absolutely essential to our operations and the integrity of our systems for paying, collecting and accounting for money government wide.

To make the necessary modifications to our automated systems for the century date change requires a massive, all out effort that touches every part of FMS. It is our number one priority effort and we are well underway with making the changes to our software code to have our systems in compliance. I have attached several charts to my testimony that show the status of FMS's 62 mission critical systems. Since January, we have implemented three replacement systems and completed repair on two systems requiring renovation, bringing to 15 the number of Y2K compliant mission critical systems. In addition, of the 38 systems still in need of repair, we have completed assessment on 33, 22 of which are now in the renovation phase, and 11 of which are in validation testing. Implementation of Y2K compliant systems for all but three of our mission critical systems is planned, and on schedule, for completion by the end of 1998. The remaining three will be implemented in early to mid-1999. We are confident that we will complete all necessary work to ensure compliance well before January of the year 2000. . . .

With regard to certification, procedures have been developed which include baseline testing, simulated forward date testing and actual forward date testing. A contractor will be employed to provide independent review and validation of test results for each internal mission critical system, and make recommendations for re-testing or certification based on that review. If re-testing is necessary, they will provide specific guidance on necessary steps to fix identified problems and achieve successful validation testing. Certification is scheduled for completion on all but one of our systems, by March of 1999; the remaining system will be certified by June of 1999. Post implementation reviews will be conducted during the rest of 1999.

Although these efforts will greatly reduce the chance of a systems failure, there will still be areas of risk as FMS depends on vendors for telecommunications and software services, and public infrastructure services for power and transportation. To address these challenges, we are also developing contingency plans so that, in the event there are Y2K related disruptions, a basic level of service can be provided to FMS customers and the Public until normal service can be restored. This includes identification of specific risks and associated mitigation strategies. As examples, if we experience data communications problems in one area, we could route the workload to another center; or if there are local power outages, we could move the workload to a center with backup power capabilities. . . .

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to discuss FMS's plans to complete the work necessary to enable us to meet the year 2000 computer challenge. We recognize the importance and enormity of the challenge and are working to ensure that important government services are not disrupted on January 1, 2000. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this issue.

Link: 

http://www.house.gov/ways_means/oversite/testmony/5-7-98/5-7crai.htm

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