FAR rule includes time fields

An amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation aimed at ensuring that government contracts address Year 2000 issues unnecessarily expands the definition of Year 2000 compliance possibly causing confusion among Year 2000 contractors vendors said last week. Issued late last week the final rule sets guidelines for federal agencies that acquire - and for vendors that provide - Year 2000-compliant technology in all current and future procurements. But the final rule changes the definition of a Year 2000-compliant product to include not only computer date fields that must distinguish between 20th and 21st century dates but also time fields. The rule includes the phrase "accurately processes date/time data (including but not limited to calculating comparing and sequencing)" between the 20th and 21st centuries. In a prepared statement issued late last week the Information Technology Association of America said the introduction of the concept of time into the standard definition for Year 2000 compliance is confusing. "The issue is one of date representation and to introduce the issue of time especially to those who may not be experts could lead some to believe that all time [fields] as well as date fields have to be accessed modified and tested."

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