Year 2000 Computing Challenge:

Leadership and Partnerships Result in Limited Rollover Disruptions

T-AIMD-00-70: Published: Jan 27, 2000. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the change of century rollover, focusing on: (1) the reporting structure established by the government to obtain information on year 2000-related failures during the rollover period; (2) examples of year 2000 errors and their resolution; and (3) lessons from the year 2000 effort that can be carried forward to improve the management of information technology activities.

GAO noted that: (1) on June 14, 1999, the President created the Information Coordination Center (ICC) to assist the Chair of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion; (2) the ICC was charged with making preparations for information-sharing and coordination within the federal government and key components of the public and private sectors, coordinating agency assessments of year 2000 emergencies and, if necessary, assisting federal agencies and the Chair of the Council in reconstitution processes; (3) an ICC contractor developed an unclassified reporting system, the Information Collection and Reporting System (ICRS), which was used by these entities to provide status and incident information to the ICC and others; (4) the Federal Emergency Management Agency was the primary liaison for gathering information from state and local governments; (5) individual states were responsible for designating a point of contact responsible for submitting ICRS reports and determining how local reports would be provided to the ICC; (6) to obtain status information from key sectors, six federal organizations also worked with private-sector organizations designated as National Information Centers to provide information to ICC on critical sectors during the rollover period; (7) the ICRS reporting processes generally worked as expected; (8) few year 2000-related errors reported during the rollover affected the delivery of key services because they were reported to be corrected quickly and contingency plans were implemented; (9) the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Labor took action to help states successfully transition the 10 high-impact state-administered federal programs into the year 2000; (10) essential to the transition to the year 2000 was the successful rollover of the organizations that manage the nation's infrastructure, such as energy, telecommunications, and water services and banking and finance sectors; (11) there were no reported year 2000-related errors in these sectors during the rollover period that affected their ability to continue providing these critical services; (12) the President's Council launched several initiatives in the international arena to address year 2000 readiness in foreign countries; and (13) the year 2000 challenge resulted in many agencies' taking charge of their information technology resources in much more active ways than they have in the past, and provided them with the incentive and opportunity to assume control of their information technology environment.

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