Defense Computers:

Technical Support Is Key to Naval Supply Year 2000 Success

AIMD-98-7R: Published: Oct 21, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1997.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the status of the Navy Fleet Material Support Office's (FMSO) efforts to correct the Year 2000 problems in the Naval Supply Systems Command's (NAVSUP) standard systems; and (2) whether FMSO can reasonably ensure that standard systems under its responsibility are compliant in time to process Year 2000 data.

GAO noted that: (1) NAVSUP managers have recognized the importance of solving the Year 2000 problem and understand that failure to implement successful solutions could seriously impact the Navy's support mission; (2) to ensure that the Year 2000 problem is resolved, NAVSUP is using the services of FMSO to aid in developing and implementing Year 2000 systems solutions and to supplement the Year 2000 management and oversight responsibilities of NAVSUP headquarters; (3) FMSO has been assessed as a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) level 3 development organization, which indicates that it can realistically plan and manage software development and maintenance projects, such as the Year 2000 project, across the organization; (4) at the time of GAO's review, NAVSUP and FMSO both had made considerable progress towards addressing the Year 2000 problem in NAVSUP's corporate systems, including: (a) developing a Year 2000 strategy; (b) assigning responsibility to Year 2000 projects managers at both NAVSUP and FMSO; and (c) staffing a Year 2000 Project Office; (5) FMSO has also developed and is applying a six-phased methodology to manage efforts to resolve Year 2000 computing problems; (6) this approach is based on the generally accepted government five-phased methodology, which has been adopted by the Department of Defense; (7) the steps included in this methodology are also consistent with GAO's structured approach for planning, managing, and evaluating Year 2000 programs; (8) GAO, however, determined that NAVSUP had not allocated sufficient resources to the FMSO Year 2000 Project Office to ensure that all systems interfaces were identified and adequately monitored for progress; (9) NAVSUP had not directed that risk assessments be performed or that contingency plans be prepared at the system and functional levels; (10) as a result of the concerns GAO raised, NAVSUP and FMSO officials have begun addressing system interface issues by assigning full-time staff to identify date-related data elements in interface files and ensure that date formats are compatible; (11) these actions, together with NAVSUP's plans for requiring systems managers to perform risk assessments and develop contingency plans for critical systems, should help mitigate against the loss of operational capability at the year 2000; and (12) as NAVSUP progresses to the renovation, validation (testing), and implementation phases of the Year 2000 program, continued attention to these issues will be necessary to better ensure that the Year 2000 challenge is met.

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