Y2K fizzles at DOD bases in Europe, Middle East

To the surprise of many in the Defense Department, the Year 2000 arrivedthis evening in Europe and the Middle East with little or nothing to showfor itself, as far as widespread computer failures or coordinated acts ofcyber terrorism are concerned.

Although the Pentagon readied itself for bear during the past year,preparing for just about every Year 2000 contingency imaginable, allsystems remain operational throughout Europe, and DOD has not received anycalls for assistance from foreign governments or U.S. embassies abroad.

In major cities throughout Europe and the Middle East, including London,Paris and Jerusalem, crowds of millions gathered in defiance of what somefeared would be a moment of terror, fueled by the combination of extremistgroups and widespread electronic infrastructure failures.

Instead of chaos, however, the Air Force greeted the New Year with thebirth of the first DOD baby. Born just 14 minutes into the new millenniumat the Naval Hospital on the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa,Japan, baby Lauren measured 21 inches long and weighed seven pounds, 12ounces.

Other than Lauren, a spokesman for the Air Force characterized the New Yearfor military installations in Europe and elsewhere as "a quiet evening withno significant incidents."

"To date, we have no installations from Department of Defense that haveindicated any disruptions, either in their own systems or in the hostnation systems that are being provided to them, and that is veryencouraging news," said Rear Admiral Robert F. Willard during a Pentagonbriefing earlier in the day.

Willard added, however, that DOD plans to remain on the lookout for anyhidden problems during the weekend ahead.

A Pentagon spokesperson interviewed just one hour after the date changeoccurred in Europe said "things went very quietly" and added that there wasnothing to report.

Officials manning the Air Force's Y2K Fusion Center in Montgomery, Ala.,also characterized the evening as "a slow night."

Officials from the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for managingDOD operations in 25 countries throughout the Middle East and Africa, couldnot be reached for comment. Officials manning the command's Y2K Task Forcedeclined to be interviewed.

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