DOD to declare victory over Y2K

The Pentagon kicked open the portal to the twenty-first century today withno major disruptions to critical computer systems and no urgent calls forhelp from its various outposts around the world.

While some officials watched the fireworks on the National Mall inWashington, D.C., from the Pentagon's perch along the Potomac River, othersminded the store, keeping watch over the Defense Department's globalinformation infrastructure.

"The lights are on and the computers are working," said DOD spokespersonSusan Hansen shortly after midnight. She added that all systems remain in a"green" status, indicating they are operational.

Another Pentagon spokesperson said deputy secretary of Defense John Hamreplans to hold a press conference at noon Jan. 1 in the Pentagon, when he isexpected "to declare victory" in what the Defense Department head Year 2000official has always viewed as the equivalent to a war.

The Pentagon spokesman characterized the smooth transition from DOD'sworldwide telecommunications and computer systems from one millennium tothe next "as about as uneventful as anyone of us could have hoped for. ...It was a very smooth transition; nothing significant and nothing worthnoting."

Air Force Col. Bruce Paterson, director of the Air Force Y2K Fusion Center,which is responsible for monitoring all Air Force installations around theworld, said 11 incidents thus far have been reported, but only three ofthose have been linked to the Year 2000. According to Paterson, the threeYear 2000-related errors were "very minor" and had "no operational impact."

However, some of the reported Y2K disruptions remain classified, he said.

Marine Col. Kevin McHale, director of the Marine Corps' Year 2000 efforts,said, "The lights are still on, the Internet still clicks along, and westill have dial tone on all the phones. We have positive comms with all ourbases, and they are giving us good reports. No Y2K related anomalies."

Although the Pentagon appears to have weathered the initial wave of Year2000 anomalies, the beginning of the next business week on Monday willprovide yet another test of DOD systems. Many officials believe that Year2000 errors may remain dormant, particularly in office automationapplications, and will likely show up when most federal workers return towork on Monday.

"As confident as I am about our success to date, I am also a realist," saidMcHale. "In the coming days, weeks and months, glitches will surface inprograms and we will be ever vigilant in tracking them down, correctingthem and insuring that we don't miss a beat in support to our Marines andmission accomplishment."

When asked if the Year 2000 "hype" was worth it, McHale answered with aresounding yes. "As technologically advanced as we are, it would be grossnegligence for us to ignore the warnings of industry leaders, developersand our leaders by ignoring this effort," he said. "Our time and money wasanother application of due diligence in protecting our Nation's freedom."

-- Bob Brewin contributed to this article.

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