18 high-impact federal programs that remain "at risk of failure"greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The 18 "at risk" federal programs include: child nutrition; food safety inspection; food stamps; supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC); student aid; child care; child support enforcement; child welfare; Indian health services; low-income home energy assistance; Medicaid; Medicare; temporary assistance for needy families; public housing; unemployment insurance; retired rail worker benefits; air traffic control system; and maritime safety.
-- Linkmeister (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 24, 1999
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Y2K doubts haunt air-traffic control
Tuesday, November 23, 1999
By ROBERT A. RANKIN
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - The nation's air-traffic control system still is not ready for the Year 2000 computer challenge, according to a report Monday from the House of Representatives' Y2K oversight committee.
With 38 days to go, air-traffic control is one of 18 "high- impact" federal programs that remain "at risk of failure," according to the House Committee on Government Reform. Other at-risk programs include food stamps, child nutrition, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance.
Air-traffic control's potential Y2K vulnerabilities stem principally from the international nature of much air travel. "The international connections are the ones they are concerned about," said Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-Md. "But nothing will fly that isn't totally safe," she added.
Government Reform Chairman Stephen Horn, R-Ca., said "we are concerned about" air-traffic control readiness in Japan, Italy, Russia and many under-developed countries, but added: "I think that what we're looking at is also domestic readiness."
Yet in a demonstration of his own confidence in the domestic system, Horn plans to fly out of Los Angeles on New Year's Eve. "I've already booked my ticket. It's right in my pocket for Dec. 31," Horn said.
The FAA insists that its air-traffic control system is fully prepared. "I can only speak from our perspective, and to us things look good," said Paul Takemoto, FAA's spokesman for Y2K. The FAA certified its systems as fully Y2K compliant last June.
"We feel very confident" about all U.S. air-traffic control systems and "the safety of airlines flying into the U.S.," Takemoto said.
As for potential Y2K aviation problems overseas, the FAA has done "exhaustive tests on the communications links between foreign air-traffic control systems that link with our systems. The one thing to bear in mind is that the FAA does not have authority over foreign air space," Takemoto said.
The Y2K computer bug stems from a pervasive software practice where the date for year 2000 is recorded simply as "00." Computers may misread that as year 1900, which experts say could cause them to malfunction or shut down on Jan. 1, and even for weeks and months after.
To demonstrate the system's safety, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey will make a symbolic flight across the country on Dec. 31. Garvey plans to depart from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. at 5:10 p.m. EST, to arrive at Dallas-Ft. Worth at 7:43 p.m. CST, to depart from there at 10:09 p.m., and to arrive in San Francisco at 12:07 a.m. PST.
During that trip through four U.S. time zones, Garvey's plane will pass three times through the century-date rollover as measured by the aviation standard of Greenwich (England) Mean Time. Under that standard it will be 7 p.m. on the U.S. East Coast when midnight strikes at Greenwich, England.
In general Horn praised the federal government's success in fixing potential Y2K problems. He gave the government overall a "B- plus" report card for its efforts since he held his first oversight hearing in Y2K preparations in early 1996.
Twelve government departments and agencies are fully Y2K compliant, Horn said, but four - Defense, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Treasury - "still have a few mission- critical systems to fix." The Internal Revenue Service's field computers remain a concern as well, Horn said.
The White House insisted that the entire federal government will be ready for Y2K by Dec. 31.
"I think it is important to look at the overall picture. Two years ago when we started issuing reports on Y2K, 80 percent of government mission critical systems were not prepared, were not ready for the date change. Today, as of our last report a couple of months ago, those figures were 97 percent and climbing," said Linda Ricci, spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.
"Now, six weeks before the end of the year, there are in fact three agencies and a handful of systems (unprepared). Each of these agencies has assured us that they will have the final work done in time.and the federal government will be fully prepared for the date change," Ricci said.
Nevertheless, Horn said OMB has designated 43 federal programs as "high impact" in terms of Y2K exposure, and 18 of them "remain at risk of failure." The Y2K-vulnerabilities of most of those programs stem from the fact that they involve federal benefits administered by state and local governments whose Y2K preparations may be inadequate, Horn said.
He cited an October audit from the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example. It concluded that thousands of families who live in public housing are at risk of losing their heat, elevators and fire and security systems from Y2K-outages.
Public-housing authorities "were seriously behind in their Year 2000 remediation efforts" in eight of nine cities audited. Only New York City was prepared, the HUD inspector general reported. Cities whose public housing was audited and found under-preapred were Detroit, Fort Worth, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Omaha, and the District of Colum- bia.
The 18 "at risk" federal programs include: child nutrition; food safety inspection; food stamps; supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC); student aid; child care; child support enforcement; child welfare; Indian health services; low- income home energy assistance; Medicaid; Medicare; temporary assistance for needy families; public housing; unemployment insurance; retired rail worker benefits; air traffic control system; and maritime safety.
-- Linkmeister (email@example.com), November 24, 1999.
It doesn't take much to get a B+ grade, does it? :-((
-- John (jh@NotReal.ca), November 24, 1999.