I'm having a hard time swallowing this... THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK


Tuesday, December 14, 1999


"Today, the facts are clear: we have done our job, we have met the deadline, and we have done it well below cost projections."

President Bill Clinton Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced the findings of a report by the Office of Management and Budget showing that the federal government is ready for the year 2000. The report indicates that as of today, 99.9 percent of the government's mission-critical computer systems are Y2K compliant. The President thanked the thousands of federal employees and contractors who dedicated themselves to resolving the Y2K problem, and urged small businesses and local governments to make every effort to become Y2K compliant before the end of the year.

Ready for Y2K. In May 1997, when discussions began about the Y2K compliancy of federal government systems, only 21 percent of the government's more than 6,000 mission-critical systems were ready for the date change. Over the past 3 years, in what has probably been the single largest technology management challenge in history, thousands of federal workers and contractors dedicated themselves to readying the federal government for Y2K. Today, President Clinton announced the findings of OMB's last official quarterly report of the year, showing that the federal government is ready for the year 2000. According to the report:

99.9 percent of the federal government's mission-critical systems are fixed, tested, and certified for the date change. The eight remaining systems primarily provide internal administrative support in federal offices, and are scheduled to be completed in December.

Over 97 percent of non-mission-critical systems are compliant, and the remaining systems are expected to be completed in December.

30 of the 43 state and local government programs (such as student aid, disaster relief, and Medicare) that directly affect people are Y2K ready.

99.6 percent of data exchanges between the federal government and state governments have been fixed. In addition, the vast majority of data exchanges between the federal government and the private sector are now Y2K compliant.

The air traffic control system is ready. The Federal Aviation Administration finished work on the majority of its systems in June 1999, and has since undergone additional testing in order to provide further assurance.

All biomedical devices and laboratory equipment used by federal agencies are ready.

The majority of federally owned or managed buildings and government-leased buildings are Y2K compliant

The vast majority of telecommunications systems and networks used by the federal government are ready.

Continuing to Enhance Our Readiness. Even if all federal systems are compliant, the possibility of glitches or problems with external parties still exists. As an additional safeguard, federal agencies will use the remainder of 1999 to refine and test continuity, contingency, and day one plans. In addition, President Clinton urged the private sector and state and local governments to make every effort to prepare their systems for the date change.


-- Roland (, December 15, 1999



"Over 97 percent of non-mission-critical systems are compliant, and the remaining systems are expected to be completed in December."

That's NEW "news!

Guess we'll find out. Real soon.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 15, 1999.


-- Get Real (, December 15, 1999.

Does anyone have a link to the OMB report. Can't find it...


-- Roland (, December 15, 1999.

I find it astonishing that all of these IT projects are all finished on time. Amazing, truly amazing.

-- Larry (, December 15, 1999.

Ditto to Get Real: Bullshit.

-- joe (, December 15, 1999.

The great mass of people. . . will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.

Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf, vol. 1, ch. 10 (1925).

-- snooze button (, December 15, 1999.

Just contributed another dent to my hardwood floor.

Retrieving my chin now.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, December 15, 1999.

Here's a key quote...

30 of the 43 state and local government programs (such as student aid, disaster relief, and Medicare) that directly affect people are Y2K ready.

...meaning that 13 are not. Also see these links:


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 (, December 15, 1999.

Roland, if you have a hard time swallowing, that's your body trying to tell you something. Spit, instead, and you'll feel better. Think of the government's projections as Great Expectorations. [Couldn't help it, sorry.]

-- bw (home@puget.sound), December 15, 1999.

Here are the sites for the OMB smiley-face report that was spun to say 99.9% of the Federal gov't is Y2K compliant. The first is the document in Adobe Acrobat format Click here

For the Adobe-impaired, click on this in Word format Click here

You'll especially like the part about public housing which wasn't mentioned at all in the media coverage of this.

-- Dog Gone (, December 15, 1999.

From a Federal Computer Week search...


Key words: non mission critical (Dont add year 2000 or Y2K or you wont get any documents found). Results: Docs Found: 1...

JUNE 14, 1999

New DOD Web site targets Y2K education

BY DANIEL VERTON 0E4B176023023ECA852567B700551582?OpenDocument


Located at


The Year 2000 Web site also provides a rundown of the status of DOD mission-critical and non-mission-critical systems. Adorned with a picture of a smiling John Hamre, the deputy secretary of Defense, the systems and equipment page reassures DOD personnel that the department "will continue operations and maintain military readiness before, during and after" Jan. 1.


Try Key words: mission critical Results: Docs Found: 65

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 15, 1999.

Unless someone provides better numbers than 99.9% and 97% done, all we have is pure speculation that these numbers are wrong. Speculation can't be used to refute data in the press release.

-- Richard Greene (, December 15, 1999.

Guys: I need help with my math here. I truly don't understand. No wonder I flunked algebra in college. If medicaid and medicare and housing and oh, several other major branches of the government aren't nearly ready, then how can they be 99.9% ready? Could somebody get Bill Clinton on the line to splain it to me? (I'd settle for Kosky)

-- soapie (, December 15, 1999.

OMB posted to TB2000 thread, for qwik'n easy reading:

Final OMB report released: Executive Summary

-- this isnot (, December 15, 1999.

"Today, the facts are clear: we have done our job, we have met the deadline, and we have done it well below cost projections."

-- Huh? When was the last time the government did ANYTHING on time, let alone "well below cost projections". I think that last sentence says it all. It was well below cost projections because the gov't has done little but produce spin about all this. Just a month ago we were hearing that the IRS had not even completed INVENTORY of their computer equipment and now we're supposed to believe that they have found, coded, debugged and deployed 99.9% of their mission-critical systems all in the last couple of years?

I dunno why, but something I've learned about developing software in the last 20 years is telling me that it just can't be!

-- Bruce (, December 15, 1999.

What a bunch of complete Horse S**t.

Today, President Clinton announced the findings of OMB's last official quarterly report of the year, showing that the federal government is ready for the year 2000.

In the near future it will be seen as... OMB's last official Report (period).

-- my prophesy for today (, December 15, 1999.

I'd say that something got reported incorrectly here. Nobody, Koskinen included, ever talks about the roughly 66,000 "noncritical" systems;the few estimates I've seen over the past year have indicated that maybe, just maybe, 50% of those systems would get fixed, at best. (N.B. The noncritical systems are generally much smaller than the critical ones, let it be said.) If there had been this kind of progress and "good news" about all those noncritical systems, John Koskinen would have been trumpeting the fact repeatedly in recent months, instead of preserving a discreet silence on the subject. Mr. Koskinen is not one to hide his candle under a basket.

Similarly, it's difficult to accept the bit about the "vast majority" of interfaces between the feds and the private sector being compliant. Just a month ago it was reported that 98% of health providers had yet even to test with the HCFA; of the 2% that had tested, error rates were running up to 20% and 1/3 of Medicare and Medicaid claims thus tested were not being processed because of errors.

I'd have to see some hard documentation before accepting certain statements in this article.

-- Don Florence, (, December 15, 1999.


It's stated in black and white in the OMB report, Executive Summary. Over 97%. See for yourself at:

(I was incredulous too).


-- Roland (, December 15, 1999.


Yep, you're right. I just had the chance to browse parts of the actual 11th Quarterly OMB report; and by gawd, "97% of non-critical systems are compliant" is exactly what the OMB is saying--in a number of places, in fact. Plus, there is the agency-by-agency report breakdown, with each agency claiming virtually total compliance of its non-critical systems. For instance, the Defense Dept. claims 99% of its non-critical systems are compliant; Health & Human Services (home to the HCFA) claims 100% of its non-critical systems are compliant.

It would seem that there was no need to prioritize systems in the first place. There was plenty of time to fix everything, even the agency daycare center computer running computer games. In the next two weeks, in the spirit of international brotherhood, we will be fixing all remaining noncompliant Russian, Chinese, and Indian computers, too. Hey, when you're hot, you're hot.

Next week, corporate America will announce that all of its non-critical systems are fixed, too. Whatever the White House can do, Wall Street can do better. And, in one final, glorious, holiday revelation, the week after that, all small businesses and local governments will announce that they, too, have fixed everything, critical and non-critical alike--and dusted, to boot. Never count the little guys out.

'Tis indeed the season of miracles. Jolly John Koskinen saved a surprise for us all.

-- Don Florence (, December 15, 1999.

You kill me, Don. :-)

Also, see pages 46/47 where they say DC had to replace 40% of the embedded systems they assessed.

Ho ho ho.


-- Roland (, December 15, 1999.

They must be frightened to publish this garbage. Perhaps this is the final step in the "don't blame me" game.

Any failures that occur can now be laid at the feet of others. Cyberterrorists or terrorists have been set up and the government has been eliminated from blame. Corporations and state and local governments have been left to twist in the wind.

No one else is free of the legal ramifications of making such a statement.

-- ghost (fading into, December 15, 1999.

It's December - Santa Claus visits all the houses of all the good little boys and girls in one evening and leaves Christmas presents at each one......with a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer.

Miracles happen. Wishes come true. genies come out of magic lanterns. The press repeats what they have told after thoroughly investigating it independently and honestly.

But computers don't read press releases.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, December 15, 1999.

P.S. Joking aside, here's what I suspect really happened. In one of his books on software metrics, Capers Jones once postulated that 50% of a corporation's software portfolio is probably "dormant." IT depts. are notoriously sloppy about cleaning house. Jones noted that his postulated figure could be way off (it was extrapolated from just one IBM data center), but let's assume it's correct. It certainly seems reasonable for giant bureaucracies, where indeed there are probably many entire IT systems not doing much of anything. Under intense pressure from above (read: Cabinet secretaries) to "get ready or else," most agencies may have just "retired" a whole slew of non-critical systems or gutted those systems of most of their programs; perhaps half of the 66,000 non-critical systems went this way. (Remember, many of these systems are fairly small compared to the critical ones.) The other half got fixed, more or less. Fixed in haste, with probably minimal testing and with the foreboding that they will likely prove a source of heartache and aggravation next year, but "fixed."

And voila! A gift under the Christmas tree for thee and me.

-- Don Florence (, December 15, 1999.

I'm sure we're all heartened by the amount of largess we can provide to the foodbanks. (sarcasm off) Don't sell the ranch just yet...

-- Gia (, December 16, 1999.

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