Congressman Horn Issue Federal Y2K Report Card : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Washington, D.C. - Rep. Stephen Horn, R-Calif., Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, today released the subcommittees eighth report card on the Year 2000 progress of the largest 24 agencies and Cabinet departments in the executive branch of the federal government. The subcommittee is now assessing a new set of programs in addition to its report card. Mr. Horn made the following statement.

"Only 199 days remain until we greet the new millennium, with its expectations and enormous challenges. The 24 largest agencies and Cabinet departments in the executive branch of the federal government are spending nearly $9 billion to mitigate the millenniums most immediate and potentially devastating challenge  the Year 2000 computer problem, also called the Millennium Bug or Y2K. It has taken a great deal of hard work, but progress is being made.

"Up to now, the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, which I chair, has focused on mission-critical systems and embedded chips.

"But the American people who depend on vital Federal programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, simply want to know that these programs won't grind to a halt on January 1, 2000.

"The problem, of course, dates back to the mid-1960s when programmers, seeking to conserve limited computer storage capacity, began designating the year in two digits rather than four. The year 1967, for example, simply appeared as 67. Regardless of the merits of the decision, now we all must deal with it.

"On behalf of the Subcommittee of Government Management, Information, and Technology, I am pleased to release our eighth report card on the Year 2000 progress within the executive branch of the Federal Government.

"Our analysis is based primarily on the self-reported data we had received from each agency on May 14. Our staff has worked closely with the General Accounting Office to analyze the material and develop these grades.

"We have found that the government's mission-critical systems are 94 percent compliant  up from 79 percent in February. Good progress has been made, but there are still critical systems to fix. The FAAs Air Traffic Control System is not Year-2000 compliant. Nor is the Department of Health and Human Service's Payment Management System ready. Each year, this computer system processes nearly $165 billion in payments and grant programs, such as Medicaid.

"The concern is that until all of these systems are compliant, government agencies cannot begin their program-wide testing.

"In addition, we reviewed the agencies progress in other key areas. Have they developed viable contingency plans? Are they are examining telecommunications and embedded systems? Are they verifying their work?

"We found that 70 percent of these activities are still in progress. Yet even with the additional weight placed on these criteria, more than half of the 24 departments and agencies earned As this quarter. I congratulate them on their tireless efforts, which I hope will continue.

"Just as you would not grade college seniors on the same set of criteria expected of college juniors, our expectations for this quarter rose, placing greater emphasis on the agencies' progress in these additional areas of Year 2000 compliance.

"Based on these higher criteria, the government merits an overall B-minus. Although everyone would like to bring home an A, we're getting close to the finish line, and the executive branch still has quite a way to go.

"The Office of Management and Budget has identified 43 federal programs it calls high impact  programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and the nation's Air Traffic Control system. Each day, these programs provide critical services to millions of Americans, but only two of them  Social Security and the National Weather Service  say they are ready for January 1, 2000.

"We will continue to monitor these programs in our quarterly report cards. Each one involves a host of public- and private-sector partners  from vendors and suppliers to state and local governments. Several of them are not scheduled to be ready until December.

"In examining this list of high-impact programs, you may notice some inconsistencies and absences. The list includes Federal Employees' Life Insurance, which is an important program, but one of limited scope. Yet the list fails to include other major areas of concern such as national defense and the Internal Revenue Service. The latter directly affects every taxpayer in the country. Both are astounding omissions. This subcommittee will not let these vital programs off the hook.

"So while I applaud the work that has been accomplished, we are not finished. The federal government will not be Year-2000 ready until the agencies and their partners have fixed and tested all of their systems and programs  and until every agency has a practical contingency plan in case their best Year-2000 efforts fail."

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999


You can see the report cards and scoresheets at this site.

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

Fascinating how many non-ready departments/agencies have moved their done-dates to December 1999. Guess they don't want to answer any more missed-deadline questions.

Thank you, sir.

-- Lisa (, June 15, 1999.


-- Jack (, June 15, 1999.

The 24 largest agencies and Cabinet departments in the executive branch of the federal government are spending nearly $9 billion to mitigate the millenniums most immediate and potentially devastating challenge  the Year 2000 computer problem, also called the Millennium Bug or Y2K.

Nearly $9 billion? The price tag has gone up...again.

It's also worth noting that the federal government has defined only about 10% of its systems as mission critical. 94% of about 10% comes out to about 9.4%.

-- Linkmeister (, June 15, 1999.

Here is an interesting tidbit, grades can go DOWN. The Treasury department went from a B- to a C. Wonder how far down they can go!!


-- Ray (, June 15, 1999.

Can anyone confirm that the USPS is not buried in one of the listed agencies?? Horn still doesn't openly mention it.

-- Brooks (, June 15, 1999.

Congressman Horn says the information is based on self-reported data.

Many programmers have said that those with good news get promoted and those with bad news get fired. We thirst for REAL good news. Meanwhile we have Korea and Kosovo etc.

-- rb (, June 15, 1999.

It's mentioned as one the high impact Federal programs as a non-ready agency with a projected ready date of "Unknown." You have to go to the site to see it because it's in that &$@%&! Adobe Acrobat format.

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

Lemme see, here. It's June, 1998 and the FAA isn't ready, Medicare isn't ready, IRS and Defense don't bother to report in. OK, but there is plenty of time. They say they will be compliant by Dec. 1998 and leave a full year for program testing. Cool.

Say, what?

It's June, 1999? And what?

"The concern is that until all of these systems are compliant, government agencies cannot begin their program-wide testing."

Cannot BEGIN?

Good thing we're not toast, because the FAA has been telling the truth all these months as have the rest. Sure they'll make up for lost time, right? Post Office too. All of them.

And, fortunately, we're well ahead of other countries, which is good for us, but they'll finish in time too, which is also good for us. Right?


"Honey, remember my telling you I've begun planning for a 10 lately? Call the kids, it's time for a family meeting."

-- BigDog (, June 15, 1999.

Bet you won't get a polly spin from this.

-- kevin (, June 15, 1999.

But the Weather Service is ready!

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

But the Weather Service is ready!

Good, they will be able to warn us on 01-01-2000 if any three-day winter storms are approaching!

-- Codejockey (, June 15, 1999.

On some days, A is A really gets me going on the IRS-is-a-business- not-a-fed-agency theory.

Either the IRS really is unspeakably behind or they really aren't required to self-report??

I also need help with this: this report is not going to foster public confidence. Why on earth was it released? Either Horn is 1) outrageously and unbelievably honest or 2) He doesn't mind releasing the data because he really believe all Fed systems will be OK and this is political nose-whacking. Which is it?

And this ties in with Koskinen's state of mind at the 200-day conference where he admitted that there's no way to guarantee there won't be federal disruptions. Historically, he's been pretty confident.. really, arrogant.

-- Lisa (, June 15, 1999.

Anyone else getting an error when trying to open the report card?

Damn, I hate Adobe Acrobat!


-- Roland (, June 15, 1999.

Compare that figure of nearly $9 billion to what was said in this article from January:

"In November 1998, (the GAO estimated) about $7.2 billion, triple the aggregated original estimate in February 1997," Walker said. "And we simply don't have enough data to say whether more will be needed."

-- Linkmeister (, June 15, 1999.

Lisa -- nope. They're making progress, lots of them have "A's", etc. Stop dreaming, girl. Go back to sleep with the rest of the herd.


-- BigDog (, June 15, 1999.

Of course, keep in mind that you get an "A" even if 10% of your mission critical systems aren't fixed. At this point in time, I'll bet it's the really difficult 10%. The easy ones were done long ago.

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

Interesting slip of the tongue used frequently.......... (snip) "The problem, of course, dates back to the mid-1960s when programmers, seeking to conserve limited computer storage capacity, began designating the year in two digits rather than four. The year 1967, for example, simply appeared as 67. Regardless of the merits of the decision, now we all must deal with it.


Easy to place blame. They won't mention they've known of this for so long but sat on their legislative "ARSE". This problem at one point was manageable.

-- kevin (, June 15, 1999.

Silence from IRS and defense speaks volumes.

-- Vic (, June 15, 1999.

Also see this link for info on government Y2K spending in previous years. For example...


Reported Year 2000 costs have increased dramatically over the prior 3 fiscal years. They have gone from about $74 million for fiscal year 1996, to $837 million for fiscal year 1997, to $2.745 billion for fiscal year 1998 for the 24 major agencies and 10 other organizations included in our review (7 additional organizations did not provide information on prior Year 2000 costs). The reported costs for these prior years represent less than half of the $7.5 billion total Y2K costs estimated by the 24 major agencies.


-- Linkmeister (, June 15, 1999.

End of school, report card: FLUNKED!
Oh no, have to repeat the century.
Hide it from Ma & Pa America; try to escape the whipping.
But they gonna find out real soon now when Johnny System CAN'T FUNCTION.

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 15, 1999.

Geeeeeeezzzzzzz, they did'nt even move the deadline to september with three months for testing !!!!!!!!!!! What do we get now? Three days for testing ? Three hours? Min. ? Sec??????????????????????

-- FLAME AWAY (, June 15, 1999.

Waittamunite! this is bad news?


SSA Social Security Administration A A A A

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Admin C+ C+ B+ B

NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission D C- A A

HHS Dept of Health and Human Services F F C+ B-

HUD Dept of Housing and Urban Development C C A- A

Education Department of Education F C- A- A

DOE Department of Energy F F B C+

GSA General Services Administration B+ B+ A- A

Agriculture Department of Agriculture C C C C+

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency B- B B+ A

Justice Department of Justice F F B C

NSF National Science Foundation A A A A

DOT Department of Transportation D D F C

OPM Office of Personnel Management D C- A- A

Treasury Department of Treasury D+ C B- C

EPA Environmental Protection Agency B B+ A A

DOD Department of Defense D D- C- C-VA

Department of Veterans Affairs B- B- A- A

Labor Department of Labor D C B A

AID Agency for International Development F F F F

SBA Small Business Administration A A A A-

Interior Department of Interior D B A- A-

Administration Overall Federal Departments and Agencies D D C+ B-

State Department of State F F F A-

Commerce Department of Commerce B B B B

-- (huh?@huh.huh?), June 15, 1999.

Snip from Kevin:

"Interesting slip of the tongue used frequently.......... (snip) "The problem, of course, dates back to the mid-1960s when programmers, seeking to conserve limited computer storage capacity, began designating the year in two digits rather than four. The year 1967, for example, simply appeared as 67. Regardless of the merits of the decision, now we all must deal with it. "

Back in the early to mid 1960's computer storage capacity was based on the amount of tape reels you had at your disposal and Ii don't believe was the reason for the problem. IMHO the problem was two fold, first the fact that input came from 80 column punched cards and the addition of two more date digits would mean two less spaces for other data or the possibility of an additional punched card for the update. Second, the amount of computer memory was VERY limited, the largest IBM main frames had 80k of core memory and the smaller 1401's had 16k.


-- Ray (, June 15, 1999.

I think Lisa had it right. They moved the deadline to December so that they won't look bad in Horn's next report, which I assume will be mid-September. These were all self-reporting deadlines.

I wonder what the programmers will do when it becomes obvious to them that the job won't be finished in time, that no silver bullet is going to appear. Do they continue working on it? At some point, they will realize that the deadline won't be met, and that they will undoubtedly be blamed by the bureaucrats. There might be a temptation to quit early and just wait to see how hard things really break.

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

Flame Away --- It's better AND worse than you can imagine. Becuase .gov and .mil is not a monolithic org but a crazy quilt of development and maintenance orgs within and across agencies.

No doubt, testing is going on in various places even now (Horn's data is also probably unreliable), led by the good guys where they exist. It's probably even going on between geeks/geekettes across some agencies in isolated departments when they're able to make it happen. Big whup.

You see, there IS NO RATIONAL PROCESS going on, taking it as a whole. Anymore than there is for Y2K globally. Unless we are awesomely unlucky (that is, the money that has been spent makes systems even more fragile than they would have been FOF), the efforts will mean that some agencies and some programs come out on the other side just "fine" (or FOF-able). Even if they're never tested. Whoopee, boys and girls!

The gods of programming chaos that we programmers and testers have held back through our hacker-ish cleverness over the decades have been unleashed.

A-. B+. B-. C-.

ROFL. The gods are laughing .....

-- BigDog (, June 15, 1999.

huh? --- here, want a grade? You can have one too:


It's June, 1999 and meaningful program testing hasn't begun. That's the bottom line. Anyone who knows IT and isn't lying to others or themselves knows that this is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

It is prima facie evidence of either massive program management incompetence (that we're sitting with that on this date, assuming the dates were achievable), programmatic lying (if they knew the dates were never reachable) or a combination of both.

Does it mean TEOTWAWKI? How do I know. I only know their status today is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

But we're stuck with it, ain't we?

-- BigDog (, June 15, 1999.

State Department of State F F F A-

Madeline Albright must have really cracked the whip this quarter! Either that, or she hated being rated an F during a war.

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

Huh? @Huh?,Huh?,

My god, I am crying from laughing so Hard!! I mean what else can you do when you see self reported gov. grades. Especially the State dept. This is the same state dept. that when honduras got slammed with the hurricane last year "they all left Town" that is a quote from my state Dept. Neighbor near Dee Cee.

-- David Butts (, June 15, 1999.

Folks, I'm in the middle of moving (yeah, to the country, 10 miles out of town), so I don't have all of my references handy from the home computer.

However, I believe that a self reported finish date ANYTIME in the year 2000 qualified for a "C". Not a real sterling criteria for a passing grade, especially if you get to assign your own scores......

I will try to find the documentation for that. Or, Diane, could you help out there? Or Kevin? Pretty please?

-- Jon Williamson (, June 15, 1999.

Jon, I think that was posted by Rick Blaine... I think I can find it. I remember being shocked, as well................

-- lisa (, June 15, 1999.

What is their grading system based on? What does it really mean to get an "A".

-- (rcar, June 15, 1999.

Jon, found the link.

-- Lisa (, June 15, 1999.

"SELF-REPORTED" "GRADES" -- isn't this an oxymoron!

-- ooooo (, June 15, 1999.

You can't tell the agencies without a scorecard.

The Dept. of the Treasury went from having 93% of its mission-critical systems compliant on 3/31 to 90% compliant on 5/14 yet received a grade of "C"?! Every agency still has one or more components of their project "in progress", but 11 agencies get "A"s!?

Gives new meaning to "close enough for government work".

-- regular (zzz@z.z), June 15, 1999.

This self reporting thing may be just what we need in the Education system. Just think of how our kids grades could improve in just one semester!

-- a (a@a.a), June 15, 1999.

First of all, I am not trying to spin this report. This is just one possible interpretation, and I am pretty sure many will disagree with it. So be it. That is your right. All I ask is you keep an open mind.

Question: How are you interpreting the term "compliant" on the scorecard? Renovated? Renovated and tested? Renovated, tested and implemented? This is the key question. In earlier reports it seems the term specified the last: renovated, tested, and implemented.

If this is still the case, I believe the majority are in pretty good shape. This could also explain the slipping percentages from 93-90, 93-92, etc. from March to May as systems thought to be compliant are implemented, have problems, and are re-renovated and re-tested.

The additional criteria and testing among all business partners is good, but the hard work for many of the agencies, the actual code repair, testing and implementation, seems to be done. If they can actually coordinate the integrated testing with all the program partners, I will honestly be astonished.

Remember, this is my interpretation, and I value your comments.

Remember, the term "ready" for the "High Impact" programs includes testing with all the program partners and the development and testing (I assume, because what good is an untested contingency plan) of contingency plans.

-- newlurker (, June 15, 1999.

Here's Newsbyte's story, where Mr. Horn was 'uncharacteristically optimistic about the progress that has been made in recent months. "I think we are going to be in good shape on Jan. 1."'

BTW, T. Fletch's page is a nice little compi lation, although the articles sort in ascending date order.

-- lisa (, June 15, 1999. it just me or did anyone else notice how light on information this report card is? Is there any way to tell how many MORE systems suddenly became 'non-critical'? Did I miss something here?


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), June 15, 1999.

Let now forget what the grade mean.

The primary determinant of grades is Mission-Critical Systems  specifically, the estimated completion date based upon agency self- reported current rate of progress.

Finishing before the OMB deadline of March 31, 1999 earns a base grade of A. Finishing in the year 2000 or 2001 is a base grade of C. 2002 is a base grade of D. And, anything over 2002 is an F. If there was such a thing as an F minus, AID clearly deserves it for its current progress  hopefully, they will improve next quarter.

We considered failing every agency with an estimated end date after the deadline, however, the estimated end dates are just that  estimates. We hope that agencies will improve their rates of progress and move from an estimated 2001 to successful completion before the deadline. Obviously, those agencies estimated to finish in 2001 have further to go than those estimated to finish in 2000.

-- y2k dave (, June 15, 1999.

less than 100 working days to go...

i fear we are in deep deep shit, the reality is that it is far far worse than this report would have you believe...

who decides what is mission critical? you guessed it...

and what about testing, you know, like the "interlinked" recent banking "tests"

as Milne would say LOL LOL LOL if it wasn't so damned serious - yep I'm a doomer, a lot of people are gonna die thanks to Clinton and the Inventor Of The Internet Gore - thay KNEW about this yeas ago and did NOTHING - even now not a squeak out of the pair of the murdering bastards...

not a peep out of them - NOTHING

-- Andy (, June 15, 1999.

Regular - Techniques for manufacturing a cut piece of wood via government standards.

Specify all dimensions in angstroms.

Make all measurements with a micrometer.

Mark all measurements with chalk.

Make all cuts with an axe.

-- Ken Seger (, June 15, 1999.

(Shhh...You're going to wake 'em up with all that noise. Now I'm going to have to sing that dang lullaby again...)

Everything will be just fine. No more than a three day glitch at most. Here in the States, well be just fine. Well be just fine. Prepare as if you were going to be in a bad winter storm. One week. And, oh, have your bank records and financial papers, and maybe a bottle or two extra of the prescriptions . . . just in case. But dont panic. Above all, dont panic; that would only make things worse. Just remain calm. Really, its going to be just fine here. Just fine.

-- Faith Weaver (, June 15, 1999.

That is so funny. I want to take my December bank statement in on January and say, "Here's what you said I had last month. Give it to me." And they will say, "Sorry, I can't check our records to determine whether you already withdrew that this morning."

-- Dog Gone (, June 15, 1999.

It isn't just the report is also "High Impact Federal Programs Year 2000 Readiness" (Separate page). 43 programs are listed. Only TWO are (self) reported ready (Social Security and weather services)! Most of the others have estimated completion dates of "UNKNOWN" or late Fall 1999 (October, November, and December!) We could probably live for a couple of days without patent and trademark processing, but Child nutrition programs, food stamps, disaster relief, child support enforcement, child welfare, medicaid, medicare, temporary assistance for needy families, housing loans (GNMA, FHA), federalprisons, unemployment insurance, immigration, air traffic control, maritime safety program, and mail service impact many of our lives something fierce. I've seen how badly some of these programs work without Y2K.

-- Mad Monk (, June 16, 1999.

2 out of 43? Unbelievable!

-- (2@outof.43), June 16, 1999.

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