Likelihood of troop redeployments in 2nd half 1999? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The thread below discussing Saudi oil raises a more general question: are we likely to see redeployments of troops during the second half of 1999 as governments try to anticipate various national, ethnic, religious, and cultural reactions to Y2K?

I'm not privy to any special information about this, but my guess is that three options are being considered: (1) leave the troops right where they are, on the assumption that Mr. Koskinen's three-day snowstorm metaphor is correct; (2) bring the troops home, on the assumption that they'll be exposed to dangers and possibly cut off from their logistical supply ... and besides, we might need them at home to augment whatever the National Guard is doing; or (3) redeploy them to reinforce sensitive areas like the Middle East, the Korean border, etc.

Aside from my intellectual curiosity about all of this, it seems to me that if either option (2) or (3) is chosen, it will have to be set into motion months before the Big Day. As we saw with the Gulf War, you don't just move half a million troops from point A to point B overnight; it takes quite a while. It's also quite visible, not only to the military forces of other countries, but also to the families of the troops being redeployed. As such, it could prove to be an interesting "early warning" indicator of the government's assessment of the international Y2K scene.

Any thoughts or opinions?

-- Ed Yourdon (, March 13, 1999


Big Dog,

I honestly don't know which of the three options are most likely -- or what other options might be under consideration. I think several people have made good points on this thread: it makes sense that we wouldn't send our troops somewhere unless they were "invited," but I could see that as a possibility in Korea or Kuwait.

As someone else remarked, it will be interesting to see if the big oil companies or other multinationals decide to bring most of their staff home; this would presumably be influenced somewhat by whatever the State Department advises later this year.

If any of this stuff happens, it does make sense to start looking for it sometime between July and September ... which will coincide with a bunch of other interesting "trigger dates" during the same period.


-- Ed Yourdon (, March 13, 1999.

I believe we will see 3., with a bit of 1, with emphasis on the Middle East. You make an excellent point about the timing of it all (sometime in August to begin the moves)?

If only 1., this would say to me that the government honestly believes the Koskinen line, otherwise it is lunacy.

If mainly 2., this would suggest the obvious, that we have been subjected to a lot of misinformation during this time period, since the risk to our global interests by withdrawing troops would be huge.

I have argued for a while that the government is going to need "homefront" morale to be extremely high to build support for any moves necessary overseas and is, hence, unlikely to resort to martial law moves except in the biggest cities and, even then, only if necessary. I take at face value the statements that "localities will be on their own."

If Y2K turns out to be a burst (early to mid-January) and then a somewhat long political-economic unwinding, while most Americans do their best to adjust, this could well work.

-- BigDog (, March 13, 1999.

I don't think any plans our DOD formulates in advance will be relevant. I expect N. Korea to test our resolve, and some foreign power (China?) to sacrafice a warship testing the Y2k compliance of our navy. Can you say Independent Verification? I don't think China is going to sit back and wait for Taiwan to come under the ballistic missile defense umbrella, or for delivery of those Aegis class frigates.

-- Nikoli Krushev (, March 13, 1999.

Such a tough question. DoD is already stretched pretty thin as it is, and the Kosovo situation promises to exacerbate that. There aren't many more people TO deploy anywhere right now. So far nothing I have seen in the open press indicates changes to scheduled deployments/movements. And no indications have surfaced that any major changes are in the works further down the road. There have been some speculations on the order of "if X does A then Y might do B" with most-mentioned major players being the Middle East (especially Saddam) and NKorea. State has made some noises about being ready to evacuate US citizens from overseas if things turn sour, but no word on DoD doing any such thing. Right now it seems to be a solid 1. But things may change, and if so it will be both obvious and, I dare say, mentioned here on the forum.

And thanks again for the forum, Ed.

-- nobody (, March 13, 1999.


If you read most the military web-stuff and Senate testimonies, even the Presidential E.O.s (can't remember the drated links at the moment) they are always talking about being able to operate in "two" theatres at the same time.

Ive had the impression, that, come Y2K, one was overseas (oil supplies protection) and the other was on the home front.

For an interesting link, take a look at the Marines experiment happening today in Monterey, CA and this coming week in Oakland/ Alameda:

Urban Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE)


(I laughed at the gunfire plug-in.)

Marines Advanced Warfighting Lab Home Page


They are practicing for Y2K right now, but are calling it terrorism support for local authorities.

In the fall, theyll have to be somewhat forthcoming, because as you point out, moving troops is a massive effort that takes time.


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 13, 1999.


IMHO you will see number 3 develop. Before you see that, you will see the redeplyment of the families of the servicemen. They will be sent home from the areas that the military think will suffer the most consequences of Y2K and whatever other military actions might be taken.Also, big companies like Boeing and the oil companies will bring home all but a bare bones staff and the military airlift will help with that as they always have. Areas affected will probably be as you suggested, Korea and the middle East - Korea because of possible military unrest with the North and the middle East to protect our oil supply (such as it may be!). Kosovo and other areas like it will be left to fend for themselves.

Obviously, large troop movement and family displacement to the states cannot be done in the "17 hour window" so I think you will see the family movement start in early August so childrens schooling is not interupted. A lot of military transfers usually take place in July and August for this reason.

Good thought and definitely something to watch for. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and insight.

-- Valkyrie (, March 13, 1999.

Ed, most of our troops are already out of the country right now - I doubt we'll see them brought home to deal with problems here. More than likely, we'll be seeing troops from other countries patrolling our cities if it comes to it... at least that's the scenario the NWO folks would like to see come about. There have been many, many reports of foreign troops in the U.S. over the past couple of years. They may become our new "peacekeepers". It will be much easier for foreign troops, rather than our own soldiers, to fire at U.S. citizens.

-- sparks (, March 13, 1999.

It will be much easier for foreign troops, rather than our own soldiers, to fire at U.S. citizens.

But Sparks, while those nwo furr'ners are machine-gunning our citizens, what exactly will the US military be doing ? They can't ALL be in Kosovo ...

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), March 13, 1999.

How do folks

In Canada our military is quite occupied with Y2K prep. Don't know if it would help but here is some testimony from Industry Canada




[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, November 19, 1998

Thibault, Paul (National Defence Department (DND))

Henault, Lieutenant-General Raymond R. (National Defence Department (DND))

Garnett, Vice-Admiral Gary L. (National Defence Department (DND))

The Chair (Ms. Susan Whelan (Essex, Lib.)): I'm going to call the meeting to order, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), a study on information technology preparedness for the year 2000.


That being said, we have a couple of opening statements. We're very pleased to have here Mr. Paul Thibault, the federal coordinator for the Y2K national contingency planning; Lieutenant-General Raymond Henault, deputy chief of the defence staff; and Vice-Admiral Gary Garnett, vice-chief of the defence staff.

Mr. Paul Thibault (Federal Coordinator, Y2K National Contingency Planning, Department of National Defence): Thank you, Madam Chair.


Our four primary objectives, from a prudent planning perspective, are to ensure that there is no loss of life; basic community needs are provided for; business continues as usual or resumes quickly; and confidence in government is maintained.

Let me talk for a moment, with your permission, about the overall approach. There are basically three phases: prevention phase, preparedness phase, and response phase. The main focus to date has been on the prevention phase, on ensuring that public and private sector organizations will be compliant and ready for year 2000.

Government and industry are identifying mission-critical systems and non-compliant technologies and devising strategies to address the problems. At the same time, we are collecting information that will form the basis of our risk assessment analysis and conclusions.

Our focus is on Canada's critical infrastructure, such as utilities, transportation, safety, communications, government, and services. We are taking into account Y2K planning being done by other countries, other levels of government, and the private sector. This is occurring at the same time as various levels of government and private sector organizations are also undertaking assessments. They should also be developing contingency plans.

Let me take a brief moment to attempt to define what contingency planning is. It's the area of business continuity process where an organization attempts to ascertain the kinds of crises most likely to occur and prepares to deal with them. Typically based on risks deemed unacceptable or that require significant mitigation measures, the overall purpose of contingency planning is to recognize and address as many uncertainties and risks as possible so that organizations can maintain control over their operations when a crisis occurs.

*****Everyone has a responsibility for contingency planning. Every country, every level of government, every department and agency, every private sector organization, and even every individual citizen must be getting ready and doing some planning for January 2000. ******


We're going to turn now to questions. I'm going to begin with Mr. Lowther.

* 0930

Mr. Eric Lowther (Calgary Centre, Ref.): Thank you, Madam Chair.


Mr. Eric Lowther: Just on that very point, one of the documents we've been given here talks about the date August 31, 1998, deputy chief of staff, strategic direction, Operation ABACUS, this particular document. Under risk assessment, item 5, it says the risk assessment related to this strategic direction has been issued separately and is to be read in conjunction with this document.

Unless the clerks or somebody can fill me in, I don't think I have a risk assessment to be read separately. Is that because there isn't one done yet, it's coming, or it's secret? Do we get to know what the risk assessment is at this point?

LGen Raymond Henault: The risk assessment is still being developed at this time. With the establishment of his organization, risk assessment work is now being concentrated under Mr. Thibault's direction. So the risk assessment we're talking about there will emanate from the national contingency planning group and will ultimately be read in conjunction with that plan when it's completed.

Mr. Eric Lowther: Do we have a target date when we'll have the first kick at the risk assessment?

Mr. Paul Thibault: I guess I was expecting this question, so let me be very forthright and honest with you. On the risk assessment and where we are in the connectivities, if getting that information were an issue the federal government alone controlled, I would be able to give you a date. But we are totally dependent on the cooperation of not just the private sector in what information we get and how we assess it, but also the provinces and the municipalities.

So I can't really give you a date when I'll be ready. What I can give you, because it's working back from January 31, is we have to be in a position to be testing what our contingency plan is by the summer. But for me to arbitrarily give you a date when my risk assessment or the risk assessment we'll be doing will be completed, it has no basis of validity right now. I just can't give you that.

* 0935

Mr. Eric Lowther: I have another question that's more on a micro-management level.

You talked about contingency plans, and you're one of the first people I've heard before this committee say "personal contingency plans". Are you including in your mandate here some sort of advisement to the man on the street, the apartment dweller on the 14th floor, the everyday person, on what, if any, contingency plans they should be taking? Is that part of your overall mandate, for lack of a better word?

Mr. Paul Thibault: No. My mandate is to prepare a national contingency plan that covers the issues in the major areas of health, energy supply and basic services, and things like that. But it goes back to the point-maybe I didn't make it clear enough-on the accountability issue, which is that clearly we all have roles and responsibilities in planning for things. There is no one person who is going to do everything for us. For example, the federal government has a role, the provinces have a role, municipalities have a role. And as we get further into the situation, as we have a risk assessment of what the issue is, and as we get into the public communications aspect that I mentioned to you earlier, then obviously individuals have a role and responsibility in taking their decisions.

Mr. Eric Lowther: So if we have the risk assessment, and we're further down the pipe here, there is the possibility of some sort of a directional piece being given to the person on the street that there is a real risk here, and prudent preparedness might suggest you have certain things in line.

Mr. Paul Thibault: Yes. I would go back to how this is a critical role for your committee. You make public reports, you make public recommendations. You're the elected representatives, and you are making, when you put out your reports, recommendations to your citizens and constituents. In that respect, obviously, your messages are messages you're giving to the citizens. So you're saying right now that there's a Y2K problem. You're saying people should be aware of it. I assume at a later stage you may want to be making recommendations as what people should be doing with regard to that. Yes, I think it's important.


Mr. Lastewka.

Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.): Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm going to try to get in three quick questions and a request.


Mr. Walt Lastewka: Mr. Thibault, first of all, congratulations on your new assignment. I know that it's not going to be an easy one. My concern about your assignment is that you can't do a lot of work until you receive a lot of information from across the country.

Do we have target dates by which we expect to get information across the country-a preliminary date in say June 1999 and a more firm date in September 1999 in order for you to be able to do your work as far as contingency is concerned?

Mr. Paul Thibault: Thank you for the congratulations. It may be condolences, or it may be congratulations. Who knows?

Sir, I really don't want to give you any timing that subsequently would leave you with a false impression.

I'm a coordinator. I'm dependent on others. To a certain extent, in all of this we are all interdependent and dependent on others. What we're trying to do is keep a simple system.

There are federal government departments; there are mechanisms out there that exist. I don't want to duplicate anything that's there. We don't have the time, the money, or the interest to do that.

* 0955

We have deputy ministers and ministers who run big departments who have federal-provincial meeting systems. They have lines of communication to the private sector. They're getting the information.

We are talking at the same time to the private sector-for example, to the Electricity Association, the Canadian Bankers Association, not so much to duplicate that information but to look at interdependencies.

You mentioned that I haven't been here long. The one thing I have recognized is that we are facing an enormously complex, multi-faceted problem. For me to come out and give you a date on when I expect to have an assessment, a plan, I think would be irresponsible.

Mr. Walt Lastewka: My concern is that organizations from various areas of the country, those that are behind, those that are not meeting dates, will say they'll be there and then at the last minute they will dump on you and say it looks like we're not going to be there-it's over to you.

Mr. Paul Thibault: I understand your concern, and I'm not saying I don't share some of those concerns. I'd be more than happy to come back to this committee when you come back after Christmas, if that's your wish, and report to you on where I am at that point in time.


Mr. Eric Lowther: At a previous meeting we had a couple of weeks back, we had the new chief information officer talking about a national planning group under the Department of National Defence. Are you the person leading up the national planning group there?

Mr. Paul Thibault: That's correct. It's called the National Contingency Planning Group.

Mr. Eric Lowther: Thank you for that clarification.

I would make a final comment that as the national contingency planning coordinator I think somewhere along the pipe that does include contingency planning down to the man in the street level. I would suggest you need to include this in your scope of contingency planning advisements that go out there. Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Murray.

Mr. Ian Murray (Lanark-Carleton, Lib.):


Mr. Ian Murray: I was one of those who had an opportunity to work with the military during the ice storm. One thing that was fascinating was watching the military work with civilian authorities. The military needs a civilian authority normally in order to start doing something, and it was clear that some of the civilians were much better prepared than others. I'm talking about mayors or reeves of townships, this level of authority.

Was there a lesson learned by the military from that experience in terms of working with civilian authorities? I noticed that quite often the civilian authorities had to be prodded by military officers. Once the civilian authorities realized what was possible, because in the military they give orders and the orders are carried out, it's very different from what these people are used to- I thought in terms of your contingency planning it might be something to keep in mind, if you haven't, that countrywide you may want to have some way of informing civilian authorities as to how to operate with the military in the event of a crisis.

LGen Raymond Henault: That's a very good point. I might also highlight the fact that we operate in response to a provincial request for support, as opposed to the other way around. So it is very important for us, and a critical part of our makeup, to make sure that we do cooperate and liaise very closely with provincial authorities.

The task force commanders, who I talked to you a little bit earlier about, our area commanders, as we call them, who are located in cities such as Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and so on, are in fact responsible for providing support to provincial authorities in their areas or their regions of responsibility. For that reason, they have very close links to provincial authorities in the provinces for which they are responsible. So that relationship is very well established and it's one we intend to nurture even more as we go in to the year 2000 timeframe.

Your point is a very valid one. But I think what's perhaps more important from a Canadian Forces' point of view is that we bring a very wide range of general purpose military skills to an operation like the ice storm or others, and perhaps in the case of year 2000 as well. Perhaps it will be important for us to make sure that authorities are aware of the kinds of skills we can help with, things like transportation, setting up and maintaining shelters, for example, assisting in re-establishing central services and those types of things.

So I would suggest that in the longer term, with those links we have through emergency measures and also through our area commanders we will be able to provide that kind of feedback and cooperate very closely with Canadians at large.

Mr. Ian Murray: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Murray.

I want to thank the witnesses for being with us today, General Henault and Admiral Garnett.

-- Brian (, March 13, 1999.


I'm sure the pentagon will have more options than these and many scenarios considered. I wouldn't expect a noticeable redeployment (option 3) without there first being a visible threat (as from N. Korea). Such movements are unnecessaringly alarming and provocative and we don't want to provoke antagonists where a clear threat from them doesn't exist, otherwise there will be a loss in diplomacy points and a giving away of confidential expectations and intended responses. But I expect the most likely political destablizations will be identified and the possible consequences of these may require planning of various sorts, depending on the situation (supplies to Japan vs. show of force and commitment in China/Taiwan showdown, Iraq/Kuwait invasion threat, or S. Korea/N. Korea tensions). I think a primary goal will be to discourage crossborder opportunisim and hysteria among irrational leaders or militaries (N. Korea).

I don't expect option 2 because the military seems to have ample time to plan on logistic support for at least a moderate time period (6 months). Stockpiling on bases and ships and for cargo planes should enable bases to remain self-sufficient for that time. (Just my guess, I have no expertise in this). From what I read some time ago they are more concerned with being stretched thin providing humanitarian aid support to the many countries that aren't preparing well or that are unable to control their critical inputs of food, medicine, etc.

I expect more of option 1 not because they believe in the storm probability but because they essentially will have to take a "wait and see" approach (unless economies start noticeably falling apart before Jan. 1). I think that the National Guard, FEMA, and Red Cross will have the major responsibility of taking care of in-country concerns unless more some worst case scenarios develop here.

I think our leaders (should I call them that???) have to be very careful about "interfering" in places like Saudi Arabia, even for the sake of oil. What if we jump to support the current regime but it falls during domestic turbulence? Same with Russia and Mexico and Venezuela. Won't there be long term negative repercussions if the side we act against comes out on top? Of course. We may though beef up forces in Kuwait since we don't give a hoot about upsetting Saddam. I imagine the impression the US will want to give is that it will be available to assist foreign governments to repair and maintain parts of their infrastructure, if asked, and in return for helping us with our critical needs (like oil).

-- bdb (, March 13, 1999.


Here's a paragraph from a story in my local paper today about the Monterey Bay Exercise:

(sorry, no URL for this one, but it's credited to the AP)


The $4.5 million Urban Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiment is supposed to test the Marines' ability to handle a coastal urban conflict, natural disaster or large-scale humanitarian effort.


-- Kevin (, March 13, 1999.

Ed --- What is your own opinion about the likelihood of 1, 2 or 3?

-- BigDog (, March 13, 1999.

IF they leave the troops right where they are I don't believe it will be due to them buying the storm scenario which they are selling (or trying to sell) to the public. Haven't there been reports from "government insiders" where problems are expected to last 'a minimum of 30 days'? The storm metaphor is something that most people can relate to and also serves the job of preventing a panic, which Koskinen has admitted is Job #1. They would not need to have a mobilization exercise of the National Guard without traditional communications if they really believed the storm crap that they are feeding the uninformed public. I don't buy it, they know better, so this is to me the least likely of the scenarios if the motivational factor is Y2K. They well indeed decide to leave troops where they are, but not because of Y2K.

Scenario two is plausible. I'm not sure it is realistic to expect all of them back home, but certainly some percentage. If it were a high enough percentage to notice, this indeed would be a tip-off to those of us who are watching what is going on as best we can. They would need a reason for doing so. Would the politicians and government say it is due to Y2K? If they were honest about Y2K, they would simply admit that Y2K is the reason, but in doing so could raise awareness too high and begin a panic which they feel must not begin.

The third scenario is also plausible. If they were to re-deploy then they would also have to have a non-Y2K related reason for it though. With tensions as high as they are in various spots globally, this may be needed regardless of Y2K.

It is also possible that we may see either the status quo, or some combination of these scenarios as they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I have heard that this administration has more troops overseas (during peacetime) than any other in our country's history - and that we have troops in some 32 different countries too.

When it comes to government, I do not rule anything out. Regardless, the timing aspect you mention is most interesting. Like so many other things with Y2K, we are in wait and see mode, and now have another thing to watch for. Thanks for a great thread Ed.

-- Rob Michaels (, March 13, 1999.

It's becoming more obvious to me all the time what the ultimate fate for America will be and that is gun confiscation/subordination to the NWO. Just work backwards...major upheaval due to Y2k related power,water and food shortages in cities filled with many people totally dependent on some sort of gov't. services...this problem will require a police-state solution combining US/foreign troops for "peacekeeping" operations (remember, a prime Marxist/Clinton definition for peacekeeping is: the elimination of all opposition to their goal of their socialistic, stateless, no-border N. American trading zone formerly known as the United States of America). The other operative phrase is "ordo Ab Chao", order out of chaos. (Who was that other prophet that predicted "helter skelter" and what was he talking about? In any event...come soon Lord Jesus.

-- Wm. Crown (, March 13, 1999.

Rob -- You make some provocative points. One thing that can't be ruled out is that recent "softening up" of the media here at home about cyberterrorism (BTW, it may well be based on entirely authentic threats) could provide more than adequate cover for bringing some troops home 3Q/4Q.

-- BigDog (, March 13, 1999.

Thanks, Brian.

The latest round of testimonials to the Standing Committee should be online soon, shouldn't they?

-- preparer (, March 13, 1999.

See the other thread near this re UN troops on U.S./Mexican border in Mexico.

Call me paranoid (and if you do, you're DWGI re government), but if you don't think the NWO crowd isn't planning on how best to take advantage of this Y2K thing, you've got your h up your a.

Tell me of any government that will put the interests of its populace over those of the ruling class.

This country has been "odd man out" since its founding. The "elite" have been in a battle since the get-go to reduce this country's government to the level of every other one -- one where the populace are just niggers (regardless of race) on the government plantation -- a disarmed, helpless, dumbed down, apathetic, cowardly, propertyless populace.

BTW, Lincoln's Civil War was not about slavery -- that was the rationale for public consumption. The real reason was to establish, by force, the preeminance of the U.S. Federal government over those of the states (instead of the other way around, as in the Constitution.)

-- A (, March 13, 1999.

Bring troops home!

Protect the heartland of America! Widespread attacks in USA! Some panic! We win!

-- Mark Hillyard (, March 13, 1999.


This is a big question for this old military guy. If the administration knows of a serious threat of US military members being stranded at overseas locations and no action is taken, then I can only wonder what the reaction of the rest of the US military might be. If the stateside-stationed military sees their compatriots sacrificed through inaction to provide an illusion of pre-Y2K calm, I don't think they'll be to eager to act on behalf of the same leaders' orders post-Y2K.

So some action will likely be taken. I suspect that we may see dependent families evacuated from certain high-threat locations. But they may not be pulled all the way back to the states. Maybe from areas "in jeapardy" like the Middle East to "safe countries" such as England. There are lots of former Cold War US military facilities standing empty that could house them.

Will the troops themselves be brought home before Y2K? I don't think so, not before the rollover shows its hand. Maybe after we see how bad things are, as the slide downward begins, then we may see troops start coming home from those same "areas in jeapardy". Whether it will be an orderly withdrawal or a "Saigon evacuation" is a big question. My worst fear is that in some places, like the Middle East and maybe South Korea, an American departure will look more like Dunkirk.


-- Wildweasel (, March 13, 1999.


Elements of the Ohio National Guard are being sent to Nicaragua anywhere from 2 weeks to 7 months beginning soon. Though not necessarily a "hot spot", we know that the region is way behind compliance preparations. Their purpose is to help with disaster repair. I know members who are upset about this, especially if gone for several months. I won't pretend to claim this a reason to have troops in Central America but perhaps an interesting coincidence.

-- lparks (, March 13, 1999.

Was out shooting today with a new friend! "War sucks!" he said, but I would rather go out with a man who knew "war sucks" than with a rambo type.

I'm rambling!

At present militia is afraid of Government but that does not mean they are not willing to help defend this country!

Many Americans are prepared for trouble and I think (personal opinion) that these Americans will rally and take care of what needs to be taken care of, wether that is taking care of the helpless or defending our country, I think we Americans have it in us!

We win!

-- Mark Hillyard (, March 13, 1999.

Ed, I leaning towards the third option, even though the leaders involved would prefer to do #1. There's a lot of activity going on "over there", and I can't see them pulling out. IMO, personnel and resources are spread thin at present, and option #1 would only exacerbate the situation.

Thank you for making these discussions possible, Ed. I've learned more not only about Y2k here, but also human nature, government, cooking, self-reliance, even shopping tips. A lively and analytical bunch here :-)

-- Tim (, March 13, 1999.

Who and what will be the 'acceptable losses' this time around?

-- Arnie Rimmer (, March 13, 1999.


Y2K May Stop Oil, Start Terrorism - Senate Hearing

05 Mar 1999, 10:45 AM CST

By Robert MacMillan, Newsbytes.


In the spirit of Warren Zevon, send oil, guns and money -- Y2K is about to hit the international fan.

Year 2000 problems could result in travel and terrorism warnings for Americans abroad, and also may cripple the US' oil import infrastructure, officials from the State and Commerce Departments told the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem today.

The State Department is planning to issue an "initial Y2K travel announcement" that would presage travel warnings urging Americans not to go to places that might put them in danger because of Year 2000- related problems.

"We're looking at a world situation where we face unknown and unintended consequences," US Undersecretary of State Bonnie Cohen told the committee this morning. "We focus on power, telecommunications and water systems...the kinds of things you need to keep the infrastructure of a company running."

Committee Chairman Robert Bennett, R-Utah, asked a senior Commerce Department official whether there were any areas in the world that might be particularly susceptible to terrorist attack by criminals wanting to take advantage of problems the glitch might cause -- and whether that kind of terrorism risk exists.

"I am concerned that (for) people who don't have our best interests at heart...Y2K may be an opportunity to do this," said Michael J. Copps, assistant secretary for trade development in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration. He did not name any locations that might be more susceptible.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a member of the Year 2000 committee, said he was especially concerned about a lack of readiness in eastern Russia and Siberia, and the potential pollution and economic problems that could be caused by that region's military buildup and oil pipelines.

"As an Alaskan, I'm quite worried about eastern Russia," Stevens said. "I'm worried as chair of the Appropriations Committee -- we have not really estimated the cost. We haven't seen an analysis of what needs are going to be through next year."

Stevens added that in Russia, where the government cannot even pay its armed forces, "they don't have the money to pay for Y2K." He said that oil pipeline leaks and ruptures could result, as well as military breakdowns.

According to Committee Ranking Democrat Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., the US depends on much of its oil supply on countries that mostly are far behind on their Year 2000 compliance efforts. The top five oil exporters to the US are Venezuela (16.2 percent), Canada (15.5 percent), Saudi Arabia (14.4 percent), Mexico (12.9 percent) and Nigeria (7.3 percent). Except for Canada, these countries are between six months to 24 months behind on their compliance efforts, Dodd said.


On a brighter front, Bennett and Dodd said that the Defense Department has established formal ties with Moscow on preparing that country's aging conventional and nuclear arsenal for the date change.

Making a reference to Year 2000 litigation, which is the topic of two Senate bills and one House bill, Bennett derided a statement made by Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D- S.C., who said that attempts to shield large companies from Year 2000- related litigation would allow those companies to "to sell upgrades...and expensive consulting services."

"Critics claim that the American companies sold their software and equipment abroad with the full knowledge that these products contained the Y2K problem," Bennett said. "The US has been accused of creating the Y2K problem so foreign buyers would be forced to upgrade systems more quickly, or purchase expensive consulting services from the US. One French banker went so far as to say that the Y2K problem was invented to distract attention from the euro conversion."

Reported by Newsbytes News Network,


-- Kevin (, March 14, 1999.

I don't know enough about European force structure to comment, but the Navy and Marines deploy from Japan for the Middle East. For every active duty military member in all branches, there are probably 2 civil service employees and dependents. Dependents and civilians from Korea are evacuated to Japan in emergency scenarios.

How is the belief that Japan is the "safe haven" for the wives, husbands and children of U.S. military members mesh with the ranking that Japan is on par with North Korea, Kuwait and Saudia Arabia in y2k remediation? Perhaps that's why not one Senator mentioned Japan after the "secret" CIA session? They're were hoping no one would ask.

I cannot envision any scenario except armed confict (at any location that allows accompanied tours) that would motivate evacuation of the families and civilian workers and their families. And they are the first to be evacuated in any emergency. A massive redeployment of troops from accompanied tour locations would cause serious "quality of life " issues for military families. The task would be a monumental. Y2k is easier than solving that logistical nightmare.

They have houses, jobs, furniture, dogs, schoolwork to do (DOD teachers also) and the today's military is not your father's military. The active duty members would almost mutiny at the loss of income. If the dependents go away, so does about $800-$900 per month (tax free) cost of living allowances. The cost of living allowance is rarely spent because everything is purchased on the bases at subsidized prices( less than in the U.S.).

[The average take-home pay for a LTC (Lt. Col or Commander O-5 about 38-42 years old) with 3 dependents is about $8,000 per month and about $5,500 of that is tax free. Adding all the additional benefits of free housing, medical, dental, prescriptions, eyeglasses, health clubs, reduced cost restaurants, golf courses (can you play a championship course for $8 per round?) tax-free comissaries, exchanges, liquor, hotels, reduced (or free) advanced degree tuition, interest-free loans for moving incidental expenses...the equivalent private sector lifestyle would require an annual income of at least $150,000 per year. And we shouldn't forget the non-reported income of the dependent wife or husband working in the local economy.]

It's not just an adventure, it's a job. The base pay for young enlisted people is low, but the totalcompensation for a 10-15 year, mid-career officer is much better than the public realizes. The 48-55 year old O-6's (Colonels and Captains) live a very nice lifestyle these days...

Anyway, I don't see accompanied-tour troops doing much re-deployment.

-- PNG (, March 14, 1999.

Sorry...mistake. About $4,500 is tax-free not $5,500.

-- PNG (, March 14, 1999.

Here's the first country I know of that's getting edgy because of Y2K:

[begin article]

North Korea Lashes Out At Millennium Bug Charges

(Last updated 12:54 PM ET March 12)

TOKYO (Reuters) - North Korea lashed out Friday at charges its weapons systems could be at risk of malfunctioning due to the millennium bug, saying it was ready to teach anyone slandering its military "a bitter lesson."

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), citing overseas news reports that its weapons might be vulnerable to dangerous computer malfunctions, said: "This is intended to create the impression that the quality of the North's military equipment is low and its control system outdated."

"This is nothing but a scream of those who are extremely terrified at the self-defensive forces of the North powerful enough to destroy any formidable enemy at one stroke," it added.


The state news agency said the real potential for millennium bug problems was in rival South Korea, demonstrated by its mistaken firing of a missile late last year.

"The South Korean authorities are floating the rumor about the North's fictitious 'bug' in order to shift onto the North the blame for irretrievable accidents to be caused by the 'bug' in their military system," it said.

"We are fully ready to teach anyone slandering our armed forces a bitter lesson. Repentance always comes late," KCNA added. [end of article]


-- Kevin (, March 14, 1999.

Dear Ed,

For some years I have been studying various subjects, a few of which touch on government, media, and other issues that are also brought into play by Y2K. I'm no expert on anything, but I suppose I can inflict my opinion or thoughts as well as any other mostly-lurker.

I discovered unintentionally, and to my disappointment, that nearly everything I was taught in school in California regarding American history, politics, etc. was not only wrong, but amounts to propaganda (mostly liberal -- hey, it's California [g]), though of course the biggest sin was 'omission', especially in the areas related to finance/treasury, media and medicine. I discovered that the idealism I'd been taught as a child about my country and constitution were all very nice but the necessary components don't actually exist any longer, having been legislated out from the inside without most people having any clue what was going on, or what that meant. I have came into close contact and occasional friendship with a number of people formerly employed as soldiers and spies for the CIA, DIA, NSA, etc., and their off the record comments and stories have about made my eyeballs fall out.

I used to be so un-paranoid it is almost pollyanic, I'll confess. I nearly joined the marines (and would have, but women weren't allowed in combat then, and my 99% ASVAB score only opened about half an inch listing of jobs to me out of a whole wall of them). I have a heavy penchant and soft spot for stray cats and old VFW vets, and for some reason this made me very positive about soldiers, military, government, etc. But I have learned enough, sometimes against my will, to recognize that there is a lot more going on, and there always has been, than the populace -- or even most politicians -- realize.

I have it from more than one good source that a minimum 3-4 months of food-water-sewage-ammo-heat-cash-etc. issues are expected by some of the alphabet soup groups for Y2K, and some of their people are off-the-record told to prepare for that. I can't prove that's true but the separate sources sounded sincere in telling me. Geez, I hope that's all there is to it -- I don't think so -- but there you go.

The military is facing a real problem with the Y2K issue. We are going back to war in Iraq. I know it hasn't happened yet, and I know my saying so only seems like guessing or prophecy, but due to things I won't bore you with, I just personally believe it's so. I also believe that this one (not counting the bombing we're already doing -- eventually Iraq may as well be fully at war, what will they have to lose if we're already bombing them? -- and isn't it great how you can bomb someone daily yet not officially be 'at war' with them?) is going to have serious economic and terrorist impact on this country. Of course that doesn't count the many other countries and peoples who may not take well to our gov't's behavior -- including our own people.

I have learned, and I'm sorry if this sounds cynical but it seems to be true, that every time I hear something on the news, the question is not even the truth of it, but rather, why it showed up on the news at all. Major, huge, amazing things are ignored by the news media while inconsequential things are blown into major events, and if you track almost any subject deeply, one finds that you can actually predict what is coming in a few weeks' time based on what is to be found in major media preceding that. This goes for certain military actions, certain laws, etc. So, I think the best estimate of what WILL happen is, to some degree, what we are being told is happening now. If tomorrow you turn on the news and see a story about how mean and awful the paramilitary of XYZ country is, you can bet we are already there, and fairly shortly it will be publicly announced that our military is there to defend everybody from XYZ. If our gov't doesn't plan to bother to be there -- like for the Tibetans for example -- you probably just won't hear about it.

The problem with posting military personnel away from home is that if they are on duty, they need to be fed, and it is even more difficult to feed them elsewhere than here -- unless, of course, our military merely commandoes crops directly to their personnel without regard for the people of the country (this has happened more than once in the past), in which case it might be easier to have them elsewhere than here.

Personally, I suspect that our gov't will keep military personnel stationed only in two types of places: (1) places where we fear they might fairly quickly develop nasty weapons which could be used against us, particularly if Y2K creates a weakness in our defense or warning systems, and/or where re-establishing our military presence would be massive trouble; and (2) places where the natural resources, be it oil or minerals or foods, are in good quantity and could be confiscated by our military. Those places can be estimated by people more familiar with military situations and geographic resources than I am.

IMO only,


-- PJ Gaenir (, March 14, 1999.

Good post PJ

-- PNG (, March 14, 1999.

And here's a dandy, surefire way to accurately forecast overseas troop deployments: if you know anyone working in or owning a business that provides the following:

Catering and support services; emergency shelters and/or relocatable shelters and warehouses; transport (air, sea, land) services; construction and logistical supply services; AND deals with the government AND is willing to tell you about it..

Then troop deployments can be foreseen anywhere from 1 to 6 months in advance, i.e. when the RFP's start coming out (for planning purposes).

And incidentally, troop deployments to the Middle East will be much faster than '91 due to the heavy preparations the Armed Forces have made in the area with pre-positioning equipment, materiel, ordnance, etc. in various new bases.

-- Morgan (, March 15, 1999.

i vote for scenario 3. and i agree with PJ Gaenir about the media spin that will be used to prepare us. i think there will also be manufactured incidents used as excuses for any changes to be made. i believe august could be the start of something interesting, based on history. (BTW, anybody know when the sirocco starts blowing? they say it makes people irrational.)

-- jocelyne slough (, March 15, 1999.

If you assume that everything Bill Clinton (BC) does is for his own personal gain, then the answer quickly falls out: he will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to gain for himself the most benefit, personally, politically, historically, and in any other way that he fancies. Translate this to the 3 choices, and you get (1) and (3).

The troops he deploys overseas will, of course, further drain the ranks of our already seriously depleted troop strength here at home. This is where the blue hats, and BC's "international good will through the exchange of troops" program come in. As sparks mentioned, there have been reports that troops from other countries are already in the U.S., and will be here for the rollover. They will replace our absent regulars, although probably not in equal numbers. What their mission will be is anyone's guess. Those that have been interviewed say that they are here for training, and to "assist" the U.S. military.

It will happen early, since the troops will need overseas stockpiles. They know that they cannot depend on the kind of resupply they would need for a prolonged conflict or presence after December 31, since the Panama Canal will be closed. Airborne resupply is much more limited and very much more expensive than most non-military/non-veteran people think. The bulk of resupply is sent by ship.

Just to make it a little more interesting, the Middle East oil producing countries just voted to cut back oil production in order to raise oil prices. That will make it more expensive to add to our strategic oil reserves, and more expensive to fly, even for the military.

I'm betting on late summer/early fall at the latest.


-- LP (, March 15, 1999.

The strategic oil reserve is being increased from domestic production. The government is 'swapping' lease payments for oil. No money (real or electronic) is changing hands.

-- PNG (, March 15, 1999.

The blue helmuts inside the US is disturbing. How do you control panic? My best guess is that the military will be used to close the transportation system to keep people in the major cities and to keep the roads open to commerce and military traffic. There just isn't enough military personell to go around.

I am certain that enemies of the United States will take advantage of any and all y2k anomalies to engage in terrorism and this most likely will occur in large population centers (big cities). They already tried it once at the world trade center.

Smaller urban cities and towns will have to rely on the State police and local police to maintain order.

As far as the international arena is concerned I think we are already spread too thin with our military. We have the big guns and WMD at our disposal but you know what happend when David battled Goliath. Even Hitler didn't want to venture into Yugoslavia with its mountainous terrain.

I also don't think you will be able to count on our allies because they will have their own y2k problems. As 1999 unfolds, in the months ahead a good barometer of the situation will be to watch for the indicators that we are all so familiar with.

-- Steve (, March 15, 1999.

"The strategic oil reserve is being increased from domestic production. The government is 'swapping' lease payments for oil. No money (real or electronic) is changing hands." - PNG

Even so, wouldn't there be a "ripple factor" that stems from the increased prices for foreign oil into fuel prices? Somehow it seems incredulous to think that the gov/mil would pay a fixed price for fuel while prices for everyone else varies up and down.

-- LP (, March 16, 1999.

Now is the best time to "top off the tank,' prices being as low as they are. Whether the price is fixed or variable (Morgan is the expert) the payment in kind against future federal lease payments is a win/win for the oil companies and the people.

-- PNG (, March 16, 1999.

Previous posts mentioned 'coastal urban warfare' training as well as recent excersizes in Monterey, Ca., also article expressing our government's concern about other entities 'taking advantage' of circumstances here 'not to out interests'.

Implied situation:

1) others will be able to project small, mission dedicated forces here (not dependent on higher tech (Y2K vulnerable)

2) our inability to prevent same (failure of coverage by Navy or Coast Guard or other military entities)

3) our intelligence blind (unable to 'see' or 'hear' to forewarn; signal intelligence, sat intelligence, foreign resources unable to report via telecom network re movements, etc)

4) our situation chaotic (preoccupation with unravelling domestic situations)

I remember that some of the gulf states have bought older submarines. Iran in particular. These are diesel powered, electric boats. The North Koreans also have subs (a year or two ago one was captured by South Korea).

Well, this highly publicized emphasis on bio/chem/urban warfare is obviously designed to anounce to our enemies that we are aware and preparing for their attacks. This is hoped to be a deterent to them.

But it also gives us insight into the government's own assessment of our situation: vulnerable, preoccupied with internal difficulties, unable to anticipate threats and/or unable to operate to intercept threats before they arrive. They are expecting chemical and/or biological attacks via seaborne forces.

Along this line the urban warfare training, IMHO, points to the military's preparation for dealing with failure of local authorities to keep peace in urban areas, which are home to heavily armed gangs and civilians. Remember that in the riots after the Rodney King trial the miliray was brought in 'under' civilian authority to stop the chaos. I have no problem with this personally. The sworn oath of the Armed Services is to protect the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign AND DOMESTIC. When people become involved in anarchy and destroy local authority (county and state) then it IS appropriate to subdue with force. It must be done in accordance with own laws.

I would like to point out that virtually no one in the military wants to operate on our own soil against our own people. There is no cabal of despots waiting to take over America from within. In contrast I believe you will find quite a few in the civilian political arena which have despotic tendencies, but are constantly being undermined by all the other politicos who have similar despotic tendencies. (checks and balances of a venal sort)

Our military recognizes this problem. They are not a bunch of dumbos. Because of things that went on in Vietman alot of lessons were learned and incorporated into the mil culture which would make it very difficult for them to fall prey to obliterating the Constitutional processes which make our nation work for all of us.

We will be glad to have their help and protection. Yes, they will make mistakes and so will our civilian authorities as they grapple with problems they have never dealt with before. The best thing we can do, all of us, is to work with them instead of against them. This will avoid misunderstandings which could lead to tragic situations.

That said, we still are citizens as well as individuals and must assess and make our own choices. It is important that we continue to be involved in the political process and not just run away from it. It is also important for each of us to know what the legitimate limits of government are. And when we see overstepping of bounds then we need to find constructive ways to meet those challenges.

Consider the internment of the Japanese during WWII. It only happened and continued because our entire country was fairly racist at that time. We werer very bitter about Pearl Harbor and wanted revenge. We as a nation did that to our own citizens because we as a nation felt it was justified. The point here is that it is not what the few try to impose on others which we should be concerned about here .. that will be summarily opposed and thwarted. It is what we all want that is wrong of which we must be weary.

May God help us during this time of trouble.

- David

-- David (, March 16, 1999.

I choose #3 Troops will be overseas to be deployed in sensitive areas or to fight a war.

This is on a speculated opinion. I personally know of two commanding officers that will be leaving for Germany in May 99. This means they will have troops in Germany to command. My husband was in the Air Force during the Viet Nam war and was stationed in Germany. I could have an over active imagination, but this sounds like a strong possiblity.

-- Mary (, March 22, 1999.

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