Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Status of Efforts to Deal With Personnel Issues

AIMD/GGD-99-14: Published: Oct 22, 1998. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed workforce issues associated with the year 2000 computing crisis, focusing on: (1) the nature and extent of year 2000 personnel issues being reported by federal agencies; and (2) what is being done by the government to address reported federal personnel shortages related to the year 2000 problem.

GAO noted that: (1) about half of the 24 large agencies and a quarter of the 41 small agencies and independent entities reporting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expressed concerns that the personnel needed to resolve the year 2000 problem would not be available; (2) generally, these concerns fall into the categories of difficulty in finding and keeping qualified government personnel, and difficulty in obtaining contractors; (3) while a significant number of agencies are raising these concerns, their comments are largely anecdotal and a comprehensive analytical assessment of the issue has not yet been made; (4) as a result, the full extent and severity of the year 2000 workforce issue across the government is not known; (5) the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have various initiatives under way to address reported year 2000 personnel issues; (6) for example, OPM has recently developed additional human resources management aids to assist agencies in dealing with year 2000 workforce issues; (7) while such initiatives have provided agencies with important options to help address reported year 2000 personnel problems, it is not yet clear that recent actions have enabled agencies to successfully resolve all perceived personnel issues; (8) accordingly, it is essential that OMB, as part of its monitoring responsibilities for the government's year 2000 program, continue to solicit from agencies whether they have any remaining year 2000 personnel problems and to help provide specific assistance to individual agencies; and (9) moreover, OMB should work with the CIO Council to expedite evaluations of the full extent and scope of information technology personnel issues to help formulate effective solutions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB concurred with this recommendation and reported that it is working with the CIO Council and OPM to monitor the adequacy of agencies' ability to acquire and retain needed personnel. OMB also noted that agencies are reporting substantial Y2K progress, which is an indication that they have been able to adequately obtain staff.

    Recommendation: Given the likelihood that critical government operations will cease if key systems are not made year 2000 compliant, the Director, OMB, as part of the agency's monitoring responsibilities for the government's year 2000 program, should determine if recent OPM initiatives have satisfactorily addressed agencies' reported personnel problems.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB concurred with this recommendation and reported that the agency had worked and would continue to work with OPM and the CIO Council to assure that personnel issues do not hinder federal Y2K efforts.

    Recommendation: If these problems have not been addressed by existing OPM tools, the Director, OMB, should designate an OMB official who, together with OPM and the CIO Council, would proactively and quickly help individual agencies resolve their year 2000 workforce concerns.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB concurred with this recommendation and noted that OPM and the CIO Council had already completed a number of actions that were identified by agencies to help address Y2K personnel problems.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should work with the CIO Council to expedite the portions of its ongoing study that are relevant to the year 2000 problem, with a goal of issuing its year 2000-related recommendations as soon as possible.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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