Agency Y2K Grades

While the federal government has made significant progress in fixing its computer systems for the Year 2000, a House Republican who closely follows the issue said today that most agencies have yet to develop backup plans in case computers fail next year.

Speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) said 94 percent of the government's major computer systems are fixed, up from the 79 percent reported in February.

Horn, chairman of the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, gave the Clinton administration an overall grade of B-minus in his eighth report card, which assesses agencies' Year 2000 efforts. Last quarter, the administration received a C-plus.

More than half of the 24 major departments and agencies earned an "A" this quarter, although critical systems still need fixing at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. The U.S. Agency for International Development received the one "F."

Despite the federal government's improvement, Horn said most of the agencies have not completed contingency plans. Today is the deadline for agencies to submit those plans to the Office of Management and Budget.

"We found that 70 percent of these contingency plans are still in progress,'' Horn said.

Also, Horn said that of the 43 major federal services and social programs identified by OMB, only two—Social Security benefits and the National Weather Service—are ready for Jan. 1, 2000.

"We will continue to monitor these programs in our quarterly report cards,'' Horn said. "Each one involves a host of public- and private-sector partners, from vendors and suppliers to state and local governments. Several of them are not scheduled to be ready until December."

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