Clinton administration: Governmentwide Y2K testing day unnecessary

The White House today announced that it does not support a bill that would require federal agencies to set aside one day to conduct governmentwide testing of key computer systems to assess their Year 2000-compliance.

Last week, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) introduced a bill that would designate July 1 as a "National Y2K Test Day," in which federal agencies would be required to conduct end-to-end testing of their mission-critical computer systems.

But such a step is unnecessary because the Clinton administration already requires agencies to test their systems fully, said John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. Asking agencies to carry out the tests in one day only creates undue burdens, Koskinen said.

"That is a duplicating requirement," he said at a press conference at the White House. "The problem with national test day is that it is very difficult to do. It's almost impossible. Making everybody have another test day is a waste of time."

Though Ford has good intentions, he said, he is "not sure the bill will progress."

At the press conference, Koskinen released the Clinton administration's latest report that focuses mainly on Year 2000 readiness in the private sector. Along with the federal government, Koskinen announced that major industries will be prepared to handle the Year 2000 computer date change.

But he warns that failures are certain in some foreign countries because of late efforts to begin repairing important systems. Koskinen said those problems will affect Americans living abroad and cause ripples in the global economy that will be felt in the United States.

"We are working with our industry partners, the State Department and other agencies to develop a more comprehensive picture of international readiness in the coming months,'' Koskinen said.

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