Year 2000 problems sink Coast Guard systems

NORFOLK, Va.—- The U.S. Coast Guard already has experienced computer systems failures as a result of the Year 2000 bug and in at least one instance has not yet fixed the problem.

Commander James Decker, strategic information technology planner at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., said, "The Coast Guard has already experienced a number of failures" in its computer systems due to Year 2000 problems.

Decker, speaking at the Navy Connecting Technology Spring '98 conference here, said systems affected by millennium bug problems, include the service's pay system, the Marine Safety Inspection system and systems at the Coast Guard's internal institute, which offers correspondence courses to enlisted men.

Decker said the systems failed because they manipulate data that contain dates occurring after Dec. 31, 1999. For example, the pay system handles allotment for mortgages that run 20 or 30 years. "That [problem] has not been fixed yet," Decker said.

The Marine Safety Inspection system, which contains the databases of inspections the service conducts on cruise ships, failed because it also manipulates data that contain next-century dates.

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