Hamre asserts DOD will be ready for Y2K

A top Defense Department official said today that DOD will have all of its 2,304 mission-critical computer systems Year 2000 ready by Dec. 31.

The positive report is a significant turnaround for DOD in its battle with the Year 2000 problem.

Last November, Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology who grades federal agencies' progress in fixing Year 2000 problems, gave the Pentagon a D-minus for its Year 2000 progress. In the latest Office of Management and Budget report on agencies' Year 2000 progress, DOD reported that only 36 percent of its computer systems had been fixed, tested and reinstalled.

John Hamre, deputy secretary of Defense, predicted in an upbeat press briefing at the Pentagon that Americans would experience little Year 2000 consequences in systems that support national critical infrastructures such as banking, transportation, power and telecommunications.

Hamre predicted that the United States "will not have the widespread problems" predicted by Year 2000 doomsayers. He said that DOD, through its management of its National Emergency Communications System, has insights into the Year 2000 compliance of the telephone companies, and he predicted that they would be ready for Dec. 31. He also expressed similar confidence in the ability of the national power grid to handle the date change.

The cost to reprogram and replace noncompliant computers will total $2.5 billion, Hamre said.

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