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Summary and Comments

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1997-11-03 14:03:53


No Standard for Fixing the Dates



This document, posted by the Department of the Army, reveals a major problem: the military has no agreed-upon standard for the date revision.

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Where there are a large number of interfaces it is important to keep standards in place on that interface. Revamping interface standards prior to the rollover date increases the potential for Y2K problems. No formal policy has been made regarding military standards therefore careful management, including a review of the policies issued by the agencies associated with the interfacing systems, is essential in avoiding non-compliance.

Interface standards among various agencies are conflicting and could lead to misunderstandings. Three examples follow:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS Pub 4-1

Recommends a four digit year element; 2 digit years be eliminated among US Government agencies.

Army Material Command, Memo November 27, 1996

Recommends a hybrid solution by maintaining presently formatted date structures but a 8 digit date field is preferred for new systems and current systems that require Y2K renovation.

Department of the Army, "Project for Change of the Century Action Plan," October 4, 1996

Directs that all interfaces meet the DoD 4 digit year standard; it does not allow non-standard format, without an authorized exception; and requires written agreements between interfacing agencies.


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