White House unveils Y2K operations center

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White House unveils Y2K operations center By Reuters Special to CNET News.com November 9, 1999, 4:25 a.m. PT

WASHINGTON--The White House lifted the veil yesterday on a $40 million operations center designed to track how the world fares as it enters the technologically challenging Year 2000.

The center, in old Secret Service premises two blocks from the White House, will launch 24-hour operations on December 28 continuing through the first few days of the new year or longer if conditions warrant.

Brian Kilgallen, head of the center's public outreach arm, told reporters that Y2K-tracking operations "probably" would continue at a reduced pace until March 15 to monitor any Leap Year complications for automated systems.

Jokingly dubbed the Y2K "bunker" by congressional staff members, the facility is on upper floors at 1800 G St., NW. It will coordinate data collected by existing government emergency centers and, for the first time, the private sector.

Arrangements have been made for the sharing of centralized information by the following industries: electric power, banking, finance, telecommunications, oil, gas, airline, pharmaceuticals, and retail industries.

The Information Coordination Center (ICC), as the project is formally known, is being set up by the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, headed by John Koskinen, a presidential advisor.

The ICC will receive international status reports from the State Department, Pentagon, U.S. intelligence agencies, and private sector information centers, Koskinen told Congress last week.

Koskinen has said basic U.S. infrastructure is ready for January 1, when unprepared computers could crash if they misread the last two zeros in the date field and mistake 2000 for 1900.

ICC to serve as briefing facility In the days surrounding the century date change, the ICC will also serve as a briefing facility for the United Nations-backed, World Bank-funded International Y2K Cooperation Center, which is coordinating the work of Y2K planners worldwide.

In addition, it will work with the National Infrastructure Protection Center, the FBI-led cybercrime detection operation, and computer emergency response teams in the United States and abroad to monitor unauthorized computer intrusions, Koskinen told two House panels on November 4.

Information gathered by the ICC will be the basis for regularly updated national and international status reports provided to federal decision-makers. But the center itself will not be involved in decision-making, Koskinen has said.

Mindful of conspiracy theorists, he dismissed as a myth the notion that the federal government is planning to use the Y2K issue as an excuse to "take control" of key institutions in the United States.

Kilgallen said status reports would be provided to the public about once an hour starting shortly after 4 a.m. PST on Friday, December 31, when New Zealand becomes the first industrial country to ring in the New Year.

Comprehensive, on-camera briefings by Koskinen are tentatively scheduled to take place about once every four hours, Kilgallen said.

The center's operations are headed by Peter Kind, a retired Army lieutenant general.

-- Forum Regular (Here@y2k.com), November 09, 1999


Also from ComputerWorld Today

Y2K rumour-control centres in the works

http://www2.idg.com.au/CWT1997.nsf/09e1552169f2a5dcca2564610027fd24/62 12de3e15ba43c7ca2568230078d36e?OpenDocument

WASHINGTON - The White House and private businesses are developing year 2000 command centres to respond to problems and prevent rumors and myths from prompting panic buying or rash financial decisions.

"Our biggest concern has always been the fear that people will make decisions about economics, buying or selling of securities, based on a rumor," said J Patrick Campbell, the chief operating officer at Nasdaq Stock Market

Nasdaq plans an education campaign to inform investors about its year 2000 work. Campbell told two House committees that Nasdaq will also establish a command centre that will have communications "hot links" with vendors, news media and the White House Y2K Information Coordination Centre (ICC).

Nasdaq's operation mirrors a much broader effort by federal officials to gather information from industry and agencies about Y2K and channel it to the ICC starting December 31. At the hearing, White House Y2K Czar John Koskinen defended his relatively mild year-2000 forecast, especially his use of self- reported data from industry trade groups.

The White House and congressional committees have generally agreed that year 2000 problems - at least domestically - will be temporary, at worst. The White House will reaffirm that forecast in a Y2K report it will release this week, but that report will also cite problem areas that are of greatest worry - most of them overseas, in countries such as Russia.

But the domestic Y2K forecast is based largely on trade association surveys and that has aroused suspicion, especially in the Senate's Y2K committee, that the data may be too rosy.

-- Forum Regular (Here@y2k.comx), November 09, 1999.

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