Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Defense Has Made Progress, But Additional Management Controls Are Needed

T-AIMD-99-101: Published: Mar 2, 1999. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1999.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to solve the year 2000 computer systems problem.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's efforts to confront the year 2000 problem is particularly daunting because: (a) DOD's size and scope of operations, criticality of mission, and heavy reliance on a diverse portfolio of information technology is unparalleled in either the public or private sector; and (b) despite considerable progress in the last 3 months, DOD is still well behind schedule; (2) this is largely because DOD did not have the necessary oversight and management framework for handling large-scale departmentwide information technology projects; (3) DOD has recently taken steps to strengthen management of its year 2000 program by providing the controls and guidance needed to fix and test systems; (4) it also has appropriately shifted its focus to core business readiness and operational risks through: (a) planning for the performance of end-to-end tests of key functional business processes; (b) executing a series of simulated year 2000 operational exercises; and (c) conducting system integration tests at the military service level; (5) the key to DOD's success rests in putting in place effective controls for DOD to have the timely and reliable information to know what is going right or wrong so that corrective action can be swift and effective; and (6) for DOD to minimize risks in the 305 days remaining before the year 2000 deadline, it must act quickly and decisively to implement and enforce these controls.

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