Department of the Interior:

Year 2000 Computing Crisis Presents Risk of Disruption to Key Operations

T-AIMD-98-149: Published: Apr 22, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1998.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Office of Public Affairs
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GAO discussed where the federal government stands in its efforts to lessen Year 2000 risks and GAO's preliminary observations on Year 2000 activities at the Department of the Interior.

GAO noted that: (1) the federal government is extremely vulnerable to the Year 2000 issue due to its widespread dependence on computer systems; (2) its reviews of federal agency Year 2000 programs have found uneven progress, and its reports contain numerous recommendations, which the agencies have almost universally agreed to implement; (3) one of the largest, and largely unknown, risks relates to the global nature of the Year 2000 problem; (4) with electronic dependence and massive exchange of data comes increasing risk that uncorrected Year 2000 problems in other countries will adversely affect the United States; (5) setting priorities for Year 2000 conversion is essential, with the focus being on systems most critical to health and safety, financial well being, national security, or the economy; (6) agencies must start business continuity and contingency planning now to safeguard their ability to deliver a minimum acceptable level of services in the event of Year 2000-induced failures; (7) agencies must have strategies for independently verifying the status of their Year 2000 efforts; (8) no nationwide assessment, including the private and public sectors, has been undertaken of Year 2000 risks and readiness; (9) Interior estimates that correcting its 95 mission-critical systems will cost $17.3 million; (10) Interior is also assessing its communications systems and embedded chip technologies to determine whether they will be affected by the century change; and (11) Interior's Year 2000 coordinator does not have the ability to verify the accuracy of reported information on the bureaus' and offices' mission-critical systems.

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