Defense Computers:

Improvements to DOD Systems Inventory Needed for Year 2000 Effort

AIMD-97-112: Published: Aug 13, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 13, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to improve the Defense Integration Support Tools (DIST) database, which serves as the DOD inventory of automated information systems and is intended to be used as a tool to help DOD components in addressing year 2000 date problems.

GAO noted that: (1) a critical step in solving the year 2000 problem is to conduct an enterprisewide inventory of information systems for each business area to establish the necessary foundation for year 2000 program planning; (2) a thorough inventory also ensures that all systems are identified and linked to a specific business area or process, and that all enterprisewide cross-boundary systems are considered; (3) in addition, the inventory can play a critical role in the later stages of year 2000 correction; (4) for DOD, this inventory is particularly important given the tens of thousands of systems and the many interfaces between systems owned by the services and DOD agencies and considering that these systems vary widely in their importance in carrying out DOD missions; (5) in such a complex system environment, the inventory helps facilitate information technology resource and trade-off decisions; (6) the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (ASD/C3I) and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have recognized that, at present, DIST, the Department's enterprisewide inventory, is not a reliable and accurate tool for managing DOD's year 2000 effort; (7) as a result, the Office of the ASD/C3I and DISA have initiated efforts to: (a) improve the integrity of DIST inventory information; (b) facilitate access to information within the database; and (c) ensure that services and components input information needed to complete the inventory; (8) however, given the pace at which these efforts have been proceeding, GAO does not believe that DIST will be usable and reliable in time to have a beneficial impact on year 2000 correction efforts; (9) without a complete inventory, the Department as a whole cannot adequately assess departmentwide progress toward correcting the year 2000 problem and address crosscutting issues--such as whether system interfaces are being properly handled and whether there is a need for additional testing facilities; and (10) thus, the Office of the ASD/C3I and DISA need to expedite efforts to complete the DIST inventory before substantial renovation efforts begin in the services and components, and ensure that the information in DIST is accurate, complete, reliable, and usable.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: After the new criteria for reporting information systems are applied by system managers, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence staff, and the Director of DISA, in conjunction with the services and components, should act to ensure that the DIST database is kept up-to-date and accurate, identify instances of noncompliance so that responsible command organizations can take corrective actions, and move forward with any other initiatives needed to make DIST an effective management tool.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Defense Information Systems Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD responded to the report by concurring with this recommendation and indicated that this action would be completed by late 1997. In June 1998, Defense instituted a new inventory system to track year 2000 information, and, as of December 1998, DOD no longer used the DIST for Department-wide inventory information.

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that DIST can be effectively used for year 2000 efforts, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence should direct his staff assigned to oversee implementation of the DOD Year 2000 Plan and the Director of DISA to expand year 2000 information included in DIST for individual systems to include key program activity schedules that managers of interfacing systems need to ensure that their system interfaces are maintained during the renovation phase. This expansion should also include information that will enable the Office of the Secretary of Defense, components, and organizational-level year 2000 program officials to quickly identify schedule delays, promptly correct them, and if necessary, trigger contingency plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD responded to the report by concurring with this recommendation and indicated that this action would be completed by late 1997. In June 1998, Defense instituted a new inventory system to track year 2000 information, and, as of December 1998, DOD no longer used the DIST for Department-wide inventory information. Additionally, senior Defense officials who were assigned specific business area responsibility to implement our recommendations in their business areas also were assigned to the interface and interoperability council for Y2K. Accordingly, this recommendation was fully implemented in July 1998.

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that DIST can be effectively used for year 2000 efforts, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence should direct his staff assigned to oversee implementation of the DOD Year 2000 Plan and the Director of DISA to expedite development and implementation of the purging methodology.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD responded to the report by concurring with this recommendation and indicated that this action would be completed by late 1997. In June 1998, Defense instituted a new inventory system to track year 2000 information, and, as of December 1998, DOD no longer used the DIST for Department-wide inventory information. However, Defense Officials within the Office of the Secretary of Defense were assigned to specifically oversee their business area's implementation of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that DIST can be effectively used for year 2000 efforts, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence should direct his staff assigned to oversee implementation of the DOD Year 2000 Plan and the Director of DISA to ensure that all duplicate, inactive, and incomplete entries be identified and investigated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD responded to the report by concurring with this recommendation and stating that this action would be completed by late 1997. To implement the recommendation, Defense instituted a new inventory system to track year 2000 information. This new inventory system was operational on December 1998.

    Recommendation: After the new criteria for reporting information systems are applied by system managers, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence staff, and the Director of DISA, in conjunction with the services and components, should act to ensure that the DIST database is kept up-to-date and accurate, identify instances of noncompliance so that responsible command organizations can take corrective actions, and move forward with any other initiatives needed to make DIST an effective management tool.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD responded to the report by concurring with this recommendation and indicated that this action would be completed by late 1997. In June 1998, Defense instituted a new inventory system to track year 2000 information, and, as of December 1998, DOD no longer used the DIST for Department-wide inventory information. Accordingly, this recommendation was implemented in July 1998.

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