Naval War College Discussions and Planning on Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

There is a very long and complex series of slides and comments at the US Naval War College site.

Topics cover everything from the safety of military dependants overseas to the polly/doomer debates, which seem to carry up to the top level of government with the same biases that are exhibited here.

A few of the more interesting comments have been included below. These really are long documents. Reading them for yourself is encouraged.


Understanding that there is a tremendous gap between the public face many corporations and governments put forward on this issue ("we will have it well in hand") and the private fears and concerns expressed by many information technology experts (ranging from "global recession" to "apocalypse 2000!"), we want to explore this topic in as systematic a fashion as possible.

We don't pretend that we'll end up with all the answers, but merely a sensible read on what's possible, how governments and companies are likely to respond across a range of scenarios, and what the USG and DoD should be prepared to undertake in response to Y2K's global unfolding. In short, while we're not interested in unduly hyping the Y2K situation, we are interested in exploring the "dark side" potentials because, frankly, that's what we get paid to do as a research organization that serves the U.S. military.


On the Polly/Doomer Confrontations

There is an interesting and very important sociological phenomenon occurring between some of the owls and roosters responsible for national-level political or financial policy. It has already begun and will begin to harden as we approach 1 January. The owls ridicule even the rational roosters as the owls' fears of what panic may mean becomes more palpable. The more reasonable roosters become even more concerned as they see the owls' continuing disinformation about what is ground truth concerning levels of remediation/confidence in our systems working properly. This in turn makes the roosters (that is, the reasonable ones, not the wackos) dig in their heels, because their perceptions are that those who should be responsible are not being so. This is all to say that there will be much greater distrust and lack of cooperation at the highest policy levels unless a bridge can soon be found. Dr. Landes' approach is, I believe, correct. The owls' approach will not work for this crisis. It is all pervasive. A proper approach should be to encourage populations and entities to have some preparation just as they would buy insurance against an unlikely event. That doesn't mean it will happen, but it would calm fears among a great number of people in the US. [The hardening of boundaries between roosters and owls is the single greatest risk to clear and successful planning.]

On Media Control

Shaping the media is going to be very difficult in the age of the Internet. I think that the more authorities try to assure the population, the Net will provide a vast and lively playground for playing out all sorts of scenarios, centralizing conspiracy theories, etc.

On Use of the Military for Domestic Problems

Civil libertarians already oppose "excessive" military involvement in domestic civil matters. Notwithstanding the appeal in some people's minds of accessing human and material capabilities held by military, I'd suggest we must be very conscious of potential objections, and should carefully fold in a soothing message in areas of "sunset clauses" [editor: referring to rule sets with predetermined expiration dates] of such organizations or use arrangements.

------------------- An interesting side trip concerns reading of panel comments. Access to these are found about 3/4 of the way down this lengthy document. One set of comments, at Coments contains the following nuggets. The italacized remarks are responses to the intital comments.

From the information we have been given, it looks as though the United States is the big winner in the Y2K game. We organize the remediation, we sell the new hardware, we poke around others' computers, and we are far ahead in remediation. Far from being seen as a crisis, this can be an enormous opportunity. [Or opportunities to create even more mistrust for our country. The winner is often seen with jealousy and contempt.] [Yes, mistrust -- but nonetheless, opportunities do exist.] [Very interesting point. Could force a significant reordering of our foreign aid priorities.] -------------- Geographic CINCs need to be protected by policy up front (ASAP) from domestic support issues in order to be able to respond to regional mission requirements, for good solid national security reasons. If we don't, we may solve problems at home a little faster and end up with a world that is unacceptable to our national interests for a long time. [This is an important issue, but the view is expressed in very CINC-centric parochial. The President sets priorities and it simply is not feasible to think in terms of "protecting" the CINCs from the Commander in Chief in the lawful exercise of his constitutional responsibilities. Here's the reality: the decision on priorities (domestic vs. international) will be inherently political. Can any of us imagine the President telling a Governor, "Sorry, I have to take your National Guard troops away from their mission of maintaining order and alleviating suffering in your state so I can send them to Ghana." I think not. CINCs must be prepared for the possibility they may only have extremely limited resources for a while, depending on how serious the domestic consequences of Y2K turn out to be.]

Re: omniscience of USG: The track record of the USG in fixing complex social issues is not all that great. Perhaps we need to rely more on the ability of people and institutions to adapt and survive. If so, the USG position should be to encourage adaptation and emergent behavior.

Concern for the service member's family is more than an issue for that service member. It is possible for that member to be in a secure environment, yet their family "in harm's way"--particularly in foreign countries. This is also a morale issue and a logistical issue, should we have to exercise some type of NEO.

-- De (, May 28, 1999


De, This stuff was picked to the bone last week in several threads. You might want to check those threads, if, for nothing else, to see the posts by Dr. Thomas Barnett, the coordinator of the study at NWC. Let us know if you have anything else to add to those comments. Later.

-- Puddintame (, May 28, 1999.

De, in your search, look for the words "naval" and "elite" and "panic". This initial thread was started by Jon Johnson and contained the word panic in the title.

-- Puddintame (, May 28, 1999.

De, I saw that on Gary North's site. Fascinating stuff. Here's the link: (yours was kludgy)


The last line that you mentioned:

"Concern for the service member's family is more than an issue for that service member. It is possible for that member to be in a secure environment, yet their family "in harm's way"--particularly in foreign countries. This is also a morale issue and a logistical issue, should we have to exercise some type of NEO."

Strikes a chord. Lately there's been a lot of press about corporate contingency planning, and while the bulk of these pieces mentions having extra staff on hand, no vacations, paying bonuses, or whatever, there seems to be NO thought WHATSOEVER to the idea that responsible corporate contingencies would have to include making sure that those people they will need to work are PERSONALLY prepared for at least the level of disruption that the coprorations are preparing for. Personally, I find this incredible, and a sad statement on the level of arrogance and greed that is corporatia.

For what it's worth, at least the military seems to know better...

-- pshannon (, May 28, 1999.

If You Like Being Manipulated, You'll Love This Thread! re: Naval War College

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-- Leska (, May 28, 1999.

apologies for resubmission. was hospitalized for the past two weeks,so wasn't able to follow the discussion.

-- De (, May 28, 1999.

De, Gary North linked it again today, no prob, it's fine to re-examine comments & issues. Found a lot of scoffing and jibes on that site, hope they stop the hooting long enough for serious consideration. 1/2/00 will be a sobering day.

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-- Leska (, May 28, 1999.

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