OMB confident most fed systems ready for 2000

Acknowledging that most of the federal government's mission-critical computer systems will be ready for the Year 2000, the Office of Management and Budget has shifted its Year 2000 oversight focus to just a few critical systems and agencies' contingency plans, according to the latest quarterly report on agencies' Year 2000 progress.

In its ninth quarterly report, released late Tuesday evening, OMB states that most agencies have completed Year 2000 work on more than 90 percent of the government's 6,190 critical computer systems. The report, therefore, does not contain a ranking of the agencies as past OMB reports have.

Instead, the report focuses on information about individual critical systems that are not compliant at 10 agencies, such as the Laboratory Information Management System at the Agriculture Department and the Debt Management System at the Justice Department.

OMB also focused on business continuity and contingency plans, which agencies were required to submit June 15. OMB expects to provide details about the backup plans in its next quarterly report. OMB also shifted its attention to the Year 2000 compliance of the systems that support 43 federal and social programs such as the Child Welfare Program and the Medical Assistance Program.

OMB officials plan to meet with the Small Agency Council to discuss Year 2000 progress at small and independent agencies. While 35 of the 46 small and independent agencies have made significant progress overall, OMB reports that too many are behind on their Year 2000 work compared with large agencies.

OMB now estimates that the federal government will spend $8.05 billion fixing the computer problem from fiscal 1996 through fiscal 2000, up from its $6.75 billion estimate reported in February. The hike is largely due to an increase of $1.05 billion for the Defense Department's Year 2000 fix.

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