Feds see lasting benefits from Y2K crisis

The country will benefit from its extensive efforts to respond to the Year 2000 computer problem long after the Jan.1 deadline has passed, federal officials told Congress today.

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, its Information Coordination Center (ICC) and other related initiatives have given the government some models for sharing information during times of crisis, said council chair John Koskinen, testifying before the Special Senate Committee on the Year 2000 Problem.

These efforts at cooperation and other lessons learned will help the government protect itself against future, intentional attacks on the nation's critical infrastructure and systems, Koskinen said.

Other officials testifying included John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office; Michael Vatis, director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI; and Richard Schaeffer, director of infrastructure and information assurance in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence.

Congress has budgeted $40 million to $50 million for the ICC, which is intended to be in place for only a few months to deal with one specific problem—Year 2000. However, all four agreed that should the ICC succeed, the money will have been well spent. The experience of putting together a center that can coordinate information sharing between federal agencies, the states and private industry is something that will be of great help in the future, they said."Our collective efforts on Y2K should provide valuable lessons learned for the continuing activities of the NIPC and the federal lead agencies in dealing with cyber incidents after Y2K," Vatis said.

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