Fact Sheet: Department of State Preparations for Y2K (USIA Washington File)

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Rather long... some snippets of internationl Y2K info. Details to come September 14th.


09 September 1999

Fact Sheet: Department of State Preparations for Y2K

(DOS runs test of worldwide communications for Y2K) (1,340)


The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued the following fact sheet September 9 detailing its work to avoid problems associated with the end-of-millenium Y2K technology problem.

DOS identifies the protection of American citizens traveling, living or working abroad as its highest priority. Providing accurate information about the status of Y2K readiness in nations around the world is the DOS objective in conducting an extensive assessment of how nations are preparing for potential problems. These findings have been summarized in Consular Information Sheets that will be released to the public September 14.

DOS has been working closely with an array of domestic and international organizations in order to conduct these assessments.

DOS is advising its 219 embassies and consulates in how to prepare for any potential infrastructure failures that may occur as a result of Y2K technological glitches.

The DOS Y2K assessment program has four components:

--the global deployment and implementation of mission-critical, critical and routine systems
--an independent certification program
--end-to-end testing of core business functions and processes
--business continuity, contingency and "Day One" plans

The fact sheet concludes, "Although problems cannot be precluded, we are confident the Department is well prepared for Year 2000, and ready to fulfill its most important responsibilities."

Following is the text of the DOS fact sheet:

(begin text)
Office of the Spokesman
September 9, 1999



The Department of State is fully engaged in global preparations for the Year 2000 (Y2K) rollover to protect our national interests. Since we live in an interdependent world, lagging Y2K preparations in other parts of the world can affect our national interests. While the United States has taken the lead in preparing for the Y2K rollover, we cannot afford to merely hope that the rest of the world is ready too. Because the protection of U.S. citizens traveling or working abroad is the highest priority of the Department of State, we will provide the public with our best assessments of global Y2K preparedness so they can make responsible individual choices.

Last November, the Department asked each of our embassies to assess their countries in relation to Y2K. Each embassy reported the level of risk associated with each of the major sectors: transportation, energy, telecommunications, health, finance, local government, and water and wastewater. Responses were sent to the Department, the National Intelligence Council and others. This information is being continuously updated.

To protect against any potential negative impacts from Y2K disruptions, the Department of State has formulated comprehensive contingency plans, which called for assessments of every aspect of our 219 embassies and consulates and Washington-based buildings and annexes' Y2K readiness. The Department sent out the "Post Contingency Planning Tool Kit" in February, which addressed the potential resource gaps (equipment, water, generators, etc.) that could result from Y2K-related problems. Again, posts assessed such host country scenarios as the effects of loss of electricity, water shortages, failure of primary sources of communications and other events, during the rollover period. Each embassy had to determine how long they could continue business operations and maintain the safety and security of their staff, and indicated what additional resources would be needed to maintain operations if serious problems developed in the host-country infrastructure. Presently, the individual regional bureaus are coordinating contingency efforts with their respective posts.

The Department of State is actively engaged in Y2K policy formulation with 16 federal departments and agencies through the Y2K International Interagency Working Group (IWG). This group, co-chaired by State and Defense, has reviewed other countries' preparedness by vulnerable sectors. The IWG review seeks to preserve regional political-strategic military stability, U.S. economic interests, ensure operational readiness, U.S. military bases abroad, protect U.S. citizens and assess the likelihood that the country involved would need external assistance to overcome possible Y2K problems. To the extent we are able, special efforts will be made to help these countries identify vulnerabilities and to ensure effective contingency planning. Overall, significant progress has been made on Y2K remediation and contingency planning worldwide.

We have enlisted a number of partners in our global efforts, including the United Nations, the European Union, APEC, international financial institutions, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the IEA and other bodies. On September 21-22 in Berlin, the G-8 will address contingency planning in the critical sectors of federal/ state government preparedness, energy, telecommunications, transportation and health care. We also expect in this meeting to examine more deeply the issue of technical response from a multinational perspective.

Bilaterally, we have had a continuing dialogue with other governments on Y2K issues generally and potential vulnerabilities within their countries. We also informed them of our obligation to inform the American public of potential hazards to their health and safety occasioned by Y2K problems. Consular Information Sheets (CIS) containing such information were provided to respective governments in late August to early September and will be released publicly on September 14.

From a technical standpoint, the Department of State's Y2K program can be conveniently described as having four closely related aspects. They are: (1) the global deployment and implementation of mission-critical, critical and routine systems; (2) an independent certification program; (3) end-to-end testing of core business functions and processes; and, (4) business continuity, contingency and "Day One" plans.

Mission-critical systems support the business processes whose failure would seriously affect the Department's ability to meet its worldwide core responsibilities. The 59 mission-critical systems supporting the Department's key business processes -- financial, personnel, medical, security, communications, consular and logistics -- have been successfully tested and implemented.

Non-mission-critical systems (critical and routine) are often important for specific functions, have a more limited user base, and their degradation would not have the same worldwide impact as that of the mission-critical systems, or affect core business functions. The 52 critical systems are fully remediated and tested; 51 of these systems are implemented, and the final critical system will be deployed and implemented globally by mid-September. We are nearly finished remediating, testing and implementing the 126 routine systems. The certification process, which includes an independent review of the testing, is well underway.

All systems, whether mission-critical or non-mission-critical, must have test plans and test results independently reviewed to be considered remediated and implemented. Testing and certification procedures require tests of 17 dates, including the rollover of date from December 31, 1999, to January 1, 2000; September 9, 1999; and, since Year 2000 is a leap year, February 29, 2000.

Moreover, the Department of State is also undertaking end-to-end testing of transaction flows across the major business functions, applications and infrastructure which support those transactions. Testing plans were developed for eight key business processes: command-and-control communications; personnel; e-mail; consular; security; financial; medical; and logistics. These functions support the Department's primary responsibilities of pursuing U.S. diplomatic goals and providing services to American citizens.

Tests were designed to be conducted in a series of logically grouped "clusters," with appropriate, effective scenarios, including systems tests at overseas posts. Five "cluster" tests were prepared, including consular, business management, e-mail, command-and-control communications and security, with re-tests as needed.

The consular systems tests, including passport issuance, visa and American citizen services systems, have been successfully completed, as were the e-mail and command-and-control communications tests. The business management and security testing is underway.

The Department has also performed an extensive review of the building systems and security systems, both domestically and at all overseas facilities. The few non-compliant system components have been replaced.

It is important to note the real challenges the Department has met to deploy major Y2K-compliant systems to embassies and consulates in countries around the world. Although problems cannot be precluded, we are confident the Department is well prepared for Year 2000, and ready to fulfill its most important responsibilities: protecting American citizens abroad, pursuing U.S. political, economic and security interests, and ensuring the safety of our staff and facilities.

(end text)

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999


For the flip side, see...

Who's monitoring the U.S.?

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 001NqE

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), September 10, 1999.

Good Y2K tracking, Diane and FM. TB2000 at its best.

-- Chris Byrne (cbyrne98@hotmail.com), September 10, 1999.

At the FAA hearing it was clear that the US Reps wanted to get a really clear picture of overseas before folks decide their winter vacation plans. Of all things that were holding up the international air data, lawyers.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), September 10, 1999.

They promised us a leper list on Friday of LAST WEEK, and they give us THIS YESTERDAY!!



-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), September 11, 1999.

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