FAA's next Y2K hurdle: Reinstalling compliant systems

Although the Federal Aviation Administration has progressed in fixing Year 2000 problems, the agency faces a considerable challenge in installing Year 2000-compliant systems, according to the General Accounting Office and the FAA's inspector general.

Speaking at a joint hearing today, Joel Willemssen, director of civil agencies information systems at the GAO, said "much more remains to be done to complete the implementation of mission-critical system repairs and replacements."

The hearing was held by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight's subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology and the House Science Committee's subcommittee on Technology.

As of March 8, the FAA had 141 mission-critical systems to install, Willemssen said. Meanwhile, 14 critical air traffic control systems that provide communications and radar processing have not yet been installed. "FAA's self-reported data demonstrate that much work remains to be done," he said.

Kenneth Mead, inspector general at the Transportation Department, told the panels, "FAA is facing a unique implementation challenge. "The [air traffic control] system fixes, after being operated in test center environments, have to be installed at multiple sites throughout the system. In the past, the FAA has encountered problems installing test-center solutions" because of changes made by local technicians.

Jane Garvey, FAA administrator, testified that the FAA will have all of its systems validated by the end of March and implemented by the end of June. The agency will also conduct an end-to-end test April 10 at the its operational facilities in Denver. The FAA will test how well interfaces with the Defense Department will function after the Year 2000 date change.

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