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Y2K czar claims feds will be ready for 2000
January 21, 1999
Web posted at: 11:40 a.m. EST (1640 GMT)
by Orlando de Bruce
(IDG) -- President Clinton's Year 2000 czar told Congress Wednesday that he is confident
that all federal mission-critical systems will be fixed and ready for the new
John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000
Conversion, told a joint House committee hearing that even those federal
agencies, such as the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation
Administration, that have reportedly lagged in fixing their computers for the
Year 2000 computer problem will be ready by the end of 1999. Koskinen
appeared before a joint hearing of the House Government Management,
Information and Technology Subcommittee and the House Technology
Koskinen said he supports DOD's recent claims that the department will have
all of its 2,304 mission-critical systems fixed, tested and reinstalled by Dec.
31. He said DOD should
have 90 percent of its systems fixed by March 31, which is the deadline that
the Office of Management and Budget had set for all federal agencies to have
their systems Year 2000-compliant. For all of the federal government,
Koskinen said more than 80 percent of the mission-critical systems should be
compliant and reinstalled by OMB's March deadline.
Koskinen said the Health Care Financing Administration, which manages
Medicare, the national health program for the elderly, also should be ready by
the end of the year. HCFA has been criticized for its lack of Year 2000
progress, especially for not adequately ensuring the compliance of the
computer systems operated by the dozens of contractors that process
Medicare bills and payments. Most Medicare contractors are expected to
meet the March 31 deadline, Koskinen said, but he did not say how many
contractors would be compliant.
Koskinen also said he is "confident that the air traffic control system will be
totally compliant well in advance of the Year 2000." Congress and the
General Accounting Office had mentioned the FAA as one agency that had
not made Year 2000 fixes fast enough to avert potential dangers in the air
traffic control system.
Joel Willemssen, director of civil agencies information systems at GAO,
disagreed with Koskinen. "I am not optimistic that [the FAA] will be
compliant well in advance," he said. The air traffic control system has a lot of
systems that are still at risk of missing the deadline because the FAA got such
a late start in fixing them, he said.
Koskinen told Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the Government
Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, that he did not
foresee any need for new legislation to help the federal government meet the
Year 2000 deadline. He said the $3.25 billion emergency funding for Year
2000 that Congress passed last year "has been a tremendous help."