Year 2000 Computing Crisis

An Assessment Guide--Exposure Draft (Superseded by AIMD-10.1.14) Gao ID: 158206 March 1, 1997

Instead of a time of celebration, New Year's Day in the year 2000 could be a day of dread for computer system managers worldwide. As the new century approaches, there is widespread concern about what will happen at 12:01 on January 1, 2000. The problem is rooted in the way that dates are recorded and computed in many computer systems. In a two-digit format, the year 2000 is indistinguishable from 1900, 2001 from 1901, and so on. Every federal program is at risk of widespread system failures. For example, the Internal Revenue Service's tax systems could be unable to process returns; payments to disabled veterans could be severely delayed; and federal systems used to track student education loans could produce erroneous information on loan status. Because converting systems to a four-digit year will be a massive undertaking for large systems, agencies must start now to address this problem. This guide provides a framework and a checklist for assessing the readiness of federal agencies to achieve year 2000 compliance. It provides information on the scope of the challenge and offers a structured approach for reviewing the adequacy of agency planning and management of the year 2000 problem.

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