Satellite story part 2greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
This article by AP gives a few more details than the previous story by the Chicago Tribune. Testing in sections was a mistake. Different spin. I even spell satellite correctly this tme.
Copyright 2000 Oregon Live .
Pentagon says it erred in Y2K fix of intelligence computer system
By ROBERT BURNS The Associated Press 01/13/00 4:39 PM Eastern
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon acknowledged Thursday that it had erred in its approach to testing a Y2K correction for one of its key intelligence-processing computers prior to New Year's Eve. The computer system broke down that night, interrupting the flow of spy satellite data for several hours.
Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon said the Pentagon would have had to shut down temporarily the intelligence computer system in order to make an "end-to-end" test of its Y2K fix. Instead, the decision was to test the fix piecemeal, allowing the system to keep running, he said.
"They tested it in sections, and it turned out that it was a mistake because the sections didn't fit together -- the sections of the fix," Bacon said. He said this was the only significant Y2K breakdown among the several thousand Pentagon computer systems that were fixed at a cost of $3.6 billion.
The computer system with the glitch is operated by the Pentagon's highly secretive National Reconnaissance Office.
Although Bacon said some aspects of the problem could not be discussed publicly because of the sensitivity of U.S. spy satellite operations, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that the computer system that broke down was at a satellite ground station at Fort Belvoir, Va., south of Washington, D.C. The Tribune reported that the satellite signals were redirected to a receiving station in New Mexico.
The Tribune also reported that U.S. photo reconnaissance satellites were all but blinded by the Y2K breakdown for nearly three days.
Bacon denied this. He said the outage lasted only a few hours before a backup system was in place. The backup gave the Pentagon only 50 percent of its normal capacity initially, but that rose to about 90 percent by the time the regular system was fully fixed Sunday night, Jan. 2, he said.
"We lost a little corner of part of our total intelligence take for several hours. That's what happened," Bacon said.
The Tribune's Washington bureau chief, James Warren, said in response to Bacon's comments: "We understand that ultimately there can be honest debate about how serious this problem was, but we unequivocally stand behind what multiple sources told us."
Other Pentagon officials previously acknowledged that a portion of the satellite imagery was lost due to the computer breakdown, and they have insisted that this did not jeopardize national security.
"At no time were we blinded," Bacon said. "This has been a canard that's been thrown around in the press from day one. At no time were our intelligence collection systems blinded. That is because we have redundant systems designed precisely to deal with a variety of situations."
Bacon said the several-hour outage on New Year's Eve was not more troublesome than interruptions that sometimes occur due to weather or other problems.
"This was well within the type of temporary interruption that we experience on a fairly regular basis," he said.
Bacon said Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told him the New Year's Eve computer problem had only a "very, very, very marginal" impact on the nation's defense readiness.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 14, 2000
This article was already posted to the thread "Report..*Major* defense satellite..."
If the Tribune is standing by their reports, then I am standing by my commentary on that thread. Please note: only insiders could have given some of the info that the Tribune had. At a *minimum*, there is *disagreement internally* within DOD and contractors about what happened
-- Bud Hamilton (email@example.com), January 14, 2000.