This document is amazing. Its title: "Request for Comments (RFC) for Modernization Prime Systems Integration Services Contractor." Behind this seemingly innocuous verbiage lies a time bomb for the U.S. government, the T-bill market, and every central bank that is holding U.S. debt instead of gold.
On May 15, 1997, the IRS issued a call for large, experienced computer code repair companies ($200 million in working capital) to sign up to help restructure the entire IRS computer system. It's at the breaking point. The Millennium Bug will break it.
They admit that part of their problem is y2k, or as it's called by the government and the Federal Reserve System, CDC (century date change).
Get this: the IRS doesn't have the money to revamp its computer system. They are calling on private industry to bail them out!!! Here is what they say: "In general, the IRS seeks to create a business plan which shares risk with the private sector; incents the private sector to either share or assume the 'front-end' capital investment. . . ." (This appears on page 85 of the electronic document, page 70 of the original printed version.)
Here is their y2k problem. They have 3 big mainframe computers in Memphis, Detroit, and Martinsburg, West Virginia. Then there are 60 other mainframes in 10 regional offices. "None of the mainframes are compliant, thereby necessitating immediate actions ranging from systems software upgrades to replacement" (electronic page 15 . . . paper, 9).
"A still greater and far reaching wave of work in the form of the Century Date Project is cascading over the diminishing workforce that is already insufficient to keep pace with the historical levels of workload.
"For the Internal Revenue Service, the Century Date Project is uniquely challenging, given the aged and non century compliant date legacy applications and infrastructure as well as thousands of undocumented applications systems. . . ." ("Undocumented" means they have lost the instruction manual, if there ever was one.)
What do they have to fix? 62 million lines of code on 63 different mainframes. This is what they call their core business systems. They have completed this inventory. But, "with respect to the business supported field applications and infrastructures, however, we do not know what we do not know. Until central field systems and infrastructures are completed, the IRS will be unable to analyze, plan, and schedule the field system conversion." (Electronic page 19 . . . paper, 13. Remember this as 1913 -- the year the income tax was ratified and the Federal Reserve System was created.)
So, they are not yet finished with their inventory. The California White Paper says that the inventory stage accounts for only 1% of a y2k repair project. In short, the IRS is further behind than any other major U.S. government system.
I wish I could tell you that it will be easy for you to download this document and print it out. It isn't. You need Adobe Acrobat even to view it. Your printer needs about 10 megabytes of RAM to print it out. Also, you can't use your cursor to extract key passages. The cursor turns into a hand. The hand grabs the page and pushes it around -- symbolic of the IRS.
But it's now official: the IRS is in a jam. It is unlikely that it will get out of this jam by 2000.
When you click to this site, look for the link:
REQUEST FOR COMMENT NO. TIRNO-97-H-00010
Click it. This takes you to the document. But you'll need Adobe Acrobat to read it. There is a link to click on the page that will take you to Adobe's site, where you can download Acrobat.