Agencies face risk

The General Accounting Office has reported that agencies face "serious vulnerabilities" in their attempts to fix computers for the year 2000 date problem and that the White House needs to do more to fix the systems in time.

In its report, "Year 2000 Computing Crisis: potential for widespread disruption calls for strong leadership and partnerships", GAO concluded: "Many agencies are behind schedule" in fixing computers. "At the current pace, it is clear that not all mission-critical systems will be fixed in time."

GAO noted that President Clinton's formation of the President's Council on year 2000 Conversion was "most encouraging".

However, GAO recommended that the council require agencies to report regularly on their progress, expand the information they submit and set independent verification standards. GAO also recommended the council push agencies to focus on systems "that affect health and safety . . . national security and the economy." John Koskinen, chairman of the year 2000 council, said that agencies should focus efforts on all mission-critical systems.

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