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KOSKINEN SAYS U.S. GOVERNMENT IS Y2K READY (Predicts 90 percent fix of crucial systems) (790) By Paul Malamud USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- John Koskinen, chair of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, says that 90 percent of the U.S. government's "mission-critical" computer systems will be freed from the Y2K bug by March 31.

Koskinen spoke February 23 at a press conference at the Foreign Press Center. Guy McKenzie, assistant secretary of the Year 2000 Project Office of the Treasury Board of Canada, and Carlos M. Jarque, president of the Y2K National Conversion Commission of Mexico, told journalists their governments are making good progress as well.

All three, however, stressed that small businesses may still have a way to go, and that those ignoring the problem could find their commercial relationships disrupted if their computer systems fail.

The Y2K computer problem is a glitch affecting some of the world's computer software that may make it difficult for some date-sensitive computing systems to function normally as they approach January 1, 2000. Potentially, this flaw, which exists in some "embedded chips" that control manufacturing, transportation and industrial processes, could cause disruptions in worldwide trade, commerce, transportation and infrastructure, including electric utilities.

At the press conference, however, the three National Year 2000 Coordinators gave a generally upbeat assessment of their nations' readiness to deal with the challenge. "All three countries," Koskinen said, are making "substantial progress" in readying their national government systems for the date-change deadline.

"Banking, power, transportation and telecommunication" sectors in all three nations seem to be in reasonably good shape with their computerized systems, he added, but further cross-border coordination and information-sharing needs to take place.

McKenzie called the trilateral meeting that preceded the press conference "a model of cooperation," adding that Canada has about "11,000 people working on the Y2K bug within the federal government."

Jarque reported the Mexican financial sector has made "good progress" fixing its computer systems in advance of next January, and predicted the Mexican public sector would be in good shape by "June of this year." Other "strategic sectors" addressing the problem, he added, include oil companies and airlines. He added that the February 22-23 trilateral meeting in Washington that preceded the press conference "has been very important" in assessing potential "cross-border" issues linked to Y2K.

Koskinen said the United States, Canada and Mexico agreed to continue exchanging information on crucial sectors such as "commerce and travel...border issues...transportation...air traffic control systems" and "tunnels and highways." Assessing the efforts of all three governments, he concluded "everyone is at 70 percent or above."

Jarque added that, in his experience, about half the Y2K remediation effort boils down to testing procedures. "Proper planning should take into consideration contingency planning" he noted.

Asked whether the Y2K glitch had already begun to affect U.S. industry and commerce as computerized systems work on business plans extending into next year, Koskinen offered the opinion that U.S. airline systems are booking ahead "smoothly."

Koskinen added that, as far as he knows, benefit programs at the state level are running without "any hitches" in their forward planning due to the use of "workarounds" in operations.

Asked what specific items had been discussed between the United States and Mexico, Koskinen responded "there are customs and immigration issues going both ways," as much border traffic is now monitored by intelligent systems. He said "at this point we don't have any indications of major obstacles" caused by Y2K.

Koskinen and Jarque, however, expressed concern about the readiness of some local governments and small businesses to grapple with Y2K. Jarque noted there could be "a domino effect from small firms to large firms" if supply chains are disrupted.

While praising the efforts of Canada and Mexico, Koskinen added that "around the world" there are still "a large number of countries that have taken very little action in this area." In particular, he expressed concern that developing nations are vulnerable to "embedded chip issues."

While decrying this "wait-and-see" attitude, Koskinen asserted "there is still time for a lot of countries and a lot of small businesses to take effective action" on the problem.

In a statement released by the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, the following sectors were listed as having the greatest potential Y2K "cross-border implications" for the United States, Mexico and Canada:

-- financial institutions, including banking and the securities industry; -- telecommunications, including wireline and wireless phone service and satellite technology; -- transportation, including air and rail transport, maritime shipping and customs; -- food supply, including the agricultural sector and food processing, and -- the auto industry, including the auto parts supply chain and production plants.

-- (Busy@the.top), February 25, 1999


So who do you believe?? The guys whose lives rest on their credibility to continue doing their work or a hired gun who'll slink back into the power backwaters after the sh** blows over???

Chuck who is now so frustrated he could do something stupid


(Proportionate correct, Robert??)

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 25, 1999.

Remember that scene in "Animal House" during the parade riot, everybody's going nuts, and ROTC twerp Kevin Bacon is screaming at the crowds, "All is well!!"

That's Koskinen. The whole planet could be melting down in Jan. '00, and he'll still be droning on about "substantial progress," and "optimistic forecasts" blah, blah, blah.

It's starting to get comical.

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), February 25, 1999.

I wonder .. if Ko-skin-em was the guy that tried to sell the Brooklyn bridge way back when?


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), February 25, 1999.

I was just wondering if ANYTHING that has to do with the President will EVER be truthful. Who in the HELL do we have running our country. Oh well, at least the Senate, CIA, FEMA, Rec Cross, and USDA can be manly enough to speak out on what they know!

-- WHAT THE HELL (Wondering@woindeiring.com), February 25, 1999.

Rick, LOL I love that scene

My imitation of an interview with Bill Clinton:

Interviewer: Mr. president, did you have any relations with Miss Lewinsky?

Bill Clinton: (Shakes finger) I have NEVER had sexual relations with that woman!!!

Interviewer: Mr. president, did you rape Juanita Broadrick?

Bill Clinton: (Shakes finger) I did NOT rape that woman!!!

Interviewer: Mr. president, how are things progressing with the Y2k issue in the government?

Bill Clinton: (Shakes finger) I WILL NOT let you down!!!

-- (Lancelot @ tavern link.com), February 25, 1999.

My hiking boots are armed, willing and able .. Ko-shin-'em.

Good grief!!

This guy is NOT from this planet or any neighboring galaxy.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), February 25, 1999.

I guess the questions in my mind are:

how long before the fedgov realizes that no one with the common sense God gave a rock believes anything this administration puts out anymore?


what will they do when they realize that their current machinations aren't working?


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), February 25, 1999.

Yes, Arlin,...don't you think they already know there are ever-fastly-increasing numbers who would sooner believe the Wizard of Oz? I remember reading a long time ago that a general, when losing a battle, will throw every last remaining resource into the last go around....the definition of "the last hoorah"....it strikes me that this is what their "all is well" campaign is all about....that, or bad habit akin to nose-picking. Hard to tell.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), February 25, 1999.

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