Labor added to critical list in latest Year 2000 report

The Office of Management and Budget has added the Labor Department to its most critical list of agencies that are showing "insufficient progress" in Year 2000 computer conversion efforts, according to OMB's latest Year 2000 quarterly report, obtained by Federal Computer Week.

In its report, OMB also increased the overall cost to fix computers from its November estimate of $3.9 billion to $4.7 billion—- a hike of more than 20 percent.

Labor joins the departments of Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation and the U.S. Agency for International Development on the critical, or Tier One, list. These agencies, according to OMB, are furthest behind in reprogramming computers so that they can properly process dates after 1999.

The Agriculture Department and the Office of Personnel Management, which were on the critical list in the November report, were moved to Tier Two, which includes agencies that OMB has classified as showing progress; however, concerns remain. OMB has moved the departments of State and Housing and Urban Development from Tier Three to Tier Two because of what OMB described as "some concern with recent progress."

As for costs, the report explained that the $800 million increase was primarily due to the Defense Department's Year 2000 cost estimate increasing $522 million and the Treasury Department's Year 2000 costs increasing $248 million.

"Significant funding is requested in the FY 1999 president's budget," the report noted. "OMB will work closely with the Appropriations committees to ensure adequate funding is provided for these purposes."

OMB also has noted that the number of mission-critical systems that require Year 2000 compliance has decreased. "Agencies now identify 7,850 mission-critical systems, which is less than the 8,589 identified in the November report," the report concluded. "This change occurred because senior management in several agencies refined their lists of mission-critical systems."

The percentage of mission-critical systems that agencies have fixed increased from 27 percent in November to 35 percent in February, according to the report.

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