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Y2K pushes U.S., Russia to work on warning center for nukes
January 15, 1999
Web posted at: 12:34 p.m. EST (1734 GMT)
by Bob Brewin
(IDG) -- The Pentagon plans to dispatch a team to Russia next week to work on a
"shared early-warning center" designed to preclude any accidental launch of
missiles brought on by a Year 2000 bug in nuclear command and control
The joint U.S./Russian early-warning center, announced by President Clinton
last September, will allow the nations to pool their resources and expertise to
detect missile launches by emergent nuclear states. But John Hamre, deputy
secretary of Defense, said concerns about the possibility of Year 2000 bugs
in nuclear command and control systems "brought a new sense of urgency'' to
the establishment of the center.
Hamre, speaking at a press briefing devoted to how the Pentagon was dealing
with the Year 2000 problem, said the United States would support placing
the center in either Europe or the United States.
The North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), which operates the
United States' early-warning systems, recently completed a successful
end-to-end test of its 24 mission systems, rolling the systems' internal clocks
to 2000. Army Lt. Col. Warren Patterson, who works on Year 2000 testing
for the DOD Joint Staff, described this test as "highly successful."
Patterson said the NORAD test tracked 30 simulated missile attacks. The
evaluation tested the capability of linked NORAD systems to provide this
data in an integrated stream from early-warning radars to the NORAD
command post located in bunkers burrowed in Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., to
the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. These simulated
attacks included "mass'' missile attacks, Hamre said.
Patterson added that in all the tests "there was no degradation of [NORAD]
systems. They operated as they should, [generating] accurate, unambiguous,