DOD: Face Y2K on your own

The Defense Department, expected to be the federal agency to respond to potential crises brought about by the Year 2000 problem, this month said it does not plan to react to all requests for help from state and local civilian authorities. DOD adopted the position in an Aug. 12 message sent to all t

The Defense Department, expected to be the federal agency to respond to potential crises brought about by the Year 2000 problem, this month said it does not plan to react to all requests for help from state and local civilian authorities.

DOD adopted the position in an Aug. 12 message sent to all the military services by the Army's Director of Military Support (DOMS) in the Pentagon. DOMS has been charged with providing military support to civilian authorities under the DOD Year 2000 Consequence Management Plan.

The message follows guidance issued by deputy secretary of Defense John Hamre last month, which emphasized that the first priority for military units engaged in Year 2000 crises management will be their basic mission of defending the nation. "As a basic principle, commanders will not compromise military readiness in providing support to civil authorities," Hamre wrote.

The DOMS message goes even further, making it clear that even if civilian authorities ask for help, they may not receive it. "It should be anticipated and publicized that not all requests from civil authorities will be filled," according to the message.

The Pentagon, according to the message, also has tightened disclosure of its vast supply of resources, which includes food, engineering equipment, generators and water purification plants, that could help cities and counties that may be afflicted with Year 2000 snafus. "Any request for inventory levels of DOD resources from non-DOD activities will be denied," the DOMS message said.

Navy's Plans

The Navy, in its Year 2000 contingency planning and consequence management plan released this month, made it clear that it planned to centrally manage requests for help from communities outside its bases. The Federal Emergency Management Agency "will coordinate with [DOD] to prioritize such needs, and [DOMS] will task specific services to respond as required," the Navy plan said.

Local commanders can only engage in "unilateral emergency actions that involve the saving of lives, prevent great human suffering or mitigate great property damage, only when time does not permit approval by higher authorities," according to the Navy contingency plan. Pentagon officials could not be reached for comment.

Year 2000 problem researcher Jim Kerrigan, president of market research firm Colmar Corp. and a former director of information resources at the Treasury Department, said he doubted that Defense bases would ignore the Year 2000 problems of nearby communities.

"When it comes right down to it, I suspect bases will be able to help local communities," he said. "They can't do their own jobs if the local community is up in arms."

Kerrigan said the potential for municipalities to experience Year 2000 problems remains a reality, even though some portions of industry, such as the financial services sector, have done a thorough job of fixing its systems. He said local governments could face Year 2000-related problems with gas, water and electricity. "All these sorts of things are likely to happen. Maybe I'm too much of a pessimist," he said. "Obviously, I hope I'm wrong."

But he said the public in many cases has not understood the importance of finding and fixing Year 2000 bugs in unlikely places, such as in computers and computer chips that control elevators and pacemakers. "The perception that people have - I think some people still don't have a clue," he said.

Software Bugs

With DOD now heavily focused on Year 2000 consequence management, the Navy plans to pay close attention to the possibility that software programmers who have fixed date code could have introduced malicious code into DOD computer systems as a result of the Year 2000 remediation process. Fixing computers for the Year 2000 bug "provided the opportunity for many individuals to have access to DOD source computer code...[which] provided the opportunity for unscrupulous programmers to compromise system integrity and/or introduce programs into Navy computers that can degrade or interrupt Navy operations," the Navy said.

The plan added that "given the quantity of commercial off-the-shelf Y2K patches written by unknown [citizens] and possibly non-U.S. citizens, there is increased risk that malicious code could be embedded in these patches."

Lee Freeman, a Year 2000 expert at Source Recovery Co., called this a legitimate concern, considering the large number people who worked to fix and patch DOD systems. He said the chances of such code not being discovered is low.

-- L. Scott Tillett contributed to this article.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.