Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Actions Must Be Taken Now to Address Slow Pace of Federal Progress

T-AIMD-98-205: Published: Jun 10, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1998.

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GAO discussed: (1) the results of the most recent reports submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the slow progress made by the federal government in achieving year 2000 compliance; and (2) what needs to be done now to minimize disruptions to critical services.

GAO noted that: (1) in May 1997, OMB reported that about 21 percent of the government's mission-critical systems were year 2000 compliant; (2) a year later, these departments and agencies reported a total of 2,914 systems as compliant--about 40 percent of the 7,336 mission-critical systems in their current inventories; (3) OMB, the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, and Congress lack sufficient information with which to judge the progress of systems to be replaced; (4) agencies will also need a significant amount of time for essential end-to-end testing of multiple systems that have individually been deemed year 2000 compliant; (5) the Council implemented a number of GAO's recommendations for minimizing year 2000 risks, including: (a) requiring federal agencies to establish priorities for their mission-critical business process; (b) requiring agencies to develop plans for the testing and independent verification and validation of their systems; (c) requiring agencies to provide information on their year 2000 progress; (d) issuing OMB guidance on the development of business continuity and contingency plans; and (e) examining various options for ensuring that an adequate number of qualified people are hired to perform year 2000 work; (6) as the amount of time to the turn of the century shortens, the magnitude of what must be accomplished becomes more daunting; (7) greater leadership and coordination of disparate efforts is essential if government programs are to meet the needs of the public 19 months from now; and (8) the Conversion Council must play a central role in ensuring that agency action not only stays on track, but accelerates significantly.

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