Y2K could bug national security
March 24, 1999
(CNN) - All over the world, U.S. soldiers are training to fight an invisible enemy. It's an enemy without an army, weapons or even spies. The vast complex of military computers that helps organize and mobilize U.S. forces has been undergoing testing to make sure they do not fall victim to the millennium bug.
Over several days in March, the U.S.S. Constellation and 15 other warships tested their Y2K readiness as a battle group and reported only minor glitches.
Captain Tim Traverso, the Pacific Fleet Y2K Director, says during the exercise there were only two anomalies out of a possible 100.
But things haven't always looked so good. According to Rep. Steve Horn, Chairman of the Y2K Task Force, earlier claims concerning military Y2K readiness were not always accurate.
"That was about six or eight months ago. We did send the General Accounting Office over to the Pentagon and sorted it all out. Yes, there was some game playing at that time but it hasn't occurred since and I don't think it will occur ever again," he said.
The Defense Department admits it got a late start on the Y2K issue. But officials there say that since last summer they've made significant progress. The military does promise to be ready when the New Year arrives. In fact, Pentagon officials say they expect to have about 90 percent of their mission critical systems Y2K ready by March 31.
At the top of the priority list are nuclear weapons.
Officials say the Y2K bug will not fire missiles accidentally or cause false alarms.
In February, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) spent two weeks testing its early warning systems and says it found no Y2K problems. U.S. officials say they believe Russia will be able to control its nuclear arsenal, too.
The bigger worry is that Russian military computers could crash, cutting off controllers from vital information. The U.S. has offered to share data from its early warning systems at a special center near Colorado Springs during the transition to 2000.
Pentagon officials say other nuclear powers don't even keep their missiles armed so there's little chance they could launch an attack by accident.
DOD confirms cyberattack 'something new'
The President's Council on Y2K Conversion
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