DOD to stage governmentwide Y2K exercises

The Defense Department plans to conduct a series of exercises over the next several months to determine how it can best help other government agencies manage any breakdown in the power grid and other critical systems due to Year 2000-related computer problems.

As part of what Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre called a "new phase" of the DOD Year 2000 program, the Pentagon will coordinate exercises with other federal agencies to determine areas in which it can provide help—such as providing emergency generators, water purification plants and communications systems—to areas temporarily affected by Year 2000 problems in computers that control those systems.

DOD also will provide communications systems to a federal governmentwide Year 2000 command center now being planned, and the agency also will set up its own command center to manage potential Year 2000 problems, Hamre said.

Hamre described DOD's strategy as a shift from contingency planning—in case its own systems fail—to what he called "consequence support planning."

Hamre, speaking at a Pentagon press briefing on the Year 2000, debunked notions that individual states plan to call up National Guard troops during the last two months of 1999 to help manage any unrest or problems that could result from a massive meltdown of the nation's highly computerized infrastructure. "There are no plans for mobilization," said Hamre, who added that he believes any societal impact of Year 2000 glitches will be "modest."

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