DOD: Some nuclear systems not ready for Year 2000

With just 162 days remaining until Jan. 1, 2000, the Defense Department still needs to fix Year 2000 problems in two mission-critical strategic nuclear command and control systems, according to senior Pentagon officials.

Speaking today at a Pentagon press briefing, Adm. Richard Mies, commander in chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, which manages the nation's arsenal of nuclear weapons and strategic bombers, said one of Stratcom's mission planning systems, as well as an enhanced console used to display situation awareness information, still requires Year 2000 fixes before it can be considered fully Year 2000 compliant.

However, neither system represents a serious safety threat, according to Mies, because neither has been installed. Both systems were developed to replace existing legacy systems, which currently are Year 2000 compliant. "If we don't have assurance...we just won't implement [the systems]," Mies said. In addition to the two mission-critical systems, Mies said there are nine other noncritical systems that have yet to be tested for Year 2000.

Altogether, Stratcom uses 486 systems, 198 of which are considered mission critical, Mies said.

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