Comments Concerning the 9/12/2000 GAO Report on Y2K : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

The following is an EZ Board crossposting of mine concerning the 9/12/2000 GAO Report on Y2K.

The GAO report is available at .

As a person who is based in Washington, D.C., who has worked with many different government agencies, and who been involved in Y2K efforts since May of 1998, I find the September 12, 2000 GAO Report entitled "Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Lessons Learned Can Be Applied to Other Management Challenges" to be a very partial account with some quite serious flaws.

Major reasons for coming to these conclusions are as follows:

~ The report is based on an extraordinarily narrow definition of Y2K technology problems. The focus of the report is on IT systems and does not include a focus on embedded systems and complex integrated systems. (A larger problem definition is presented in Part 1 of my White Paper on Y2K at

~ The GAO report looks at the internal management of Federal IT systems. One might assume that the report would have included a far more extensive analysis of what the Federal government's roles and responsibilities were and how well these were or were not carried out nationally, as well internationally.

Major accomplishments were left out. For starters, these included

o the role played by the Coast Guard in maritime issues nationally and internationally

o the behind the scenes role played by the Department of Defense in minimizing infrastructure impacts in nations having a US military presence throughout the world; and

o nuclear power plant collaborative remediation initiatives abroad including in Russia and the Ukraine.

Major deficiencies of Federal efforts were also overlooked. I have dealt with these elsewhere at length in questions I posed to John Koskinen in March of 2000. (See the same website noted above for his responses.)

~ The GAO report assumes that ongoing problems in areas of Federal government responsibility have been negligible or non-existent. For whatever reason, some notable problems internal to the Federal government were left out. There have been no visible ongoing efforts to track such problems. It has been politically incorrect to speak of these problems or to publicize them. Indeed, GAO may not even know of them. Lessons cannot be learned when problems are not being openly acknowledged. (See the "Recent Programs" section on the same website noted above for my April 12, 2000 comments concerning difficulties in getting information concerning ongoing problems.)

~ Responsibilities of Federal regulatory agencies of are not dealt with at all in the report. One might conclude that there were no problems to report.

There were and are problems that have occurred this year. These problems have been occurring at higher than normal levels when measured against comparable periods of time in previous years. Presumably the Federal government should be aware of such problems and should be tracking and assessing the problems and taking action as need be. The Information Coordination Center was supposed to have tracked these problems. For whatever reasons, no one, including the ICC, seems to have assessed the possible connection of the problems that have occurred to Y2K and embedded systems malfunctions and failures. These problems are ongoing and if their connections to Y2K and embedded systems are being assessed, the results of such assessments are not being acknowledged. The Chemical Safety Board, the Office of Pipeline Safety, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency are among the agencies that do not appear to be assessing the possibility that the abnormally high number of problems occurring this year within their spheres of responsibility might be related to Y2K and embedded systems malfunctions or failures.

It is natural to assume that surely such matters would be encompassed in this GAO report. For whatever reason, such concerns were not included. If they are fully reported in future studies, the public, the Congress and the Executive Branch will have a far better idea of the many lessons that should have been learned and should be being learned now.

-- Paula Gordon (pgordon@erols. com), September 28, 2000


While many have blown off y2k as being a dud because of the lack of visable outages, the apparent tapping of the petroleum reserves indicates a world wide oil supply side y2k shortage that is getting 2 big to cover up. I suspect that we and others have been tapping the commecial reserves since day 1 of this year which are now depleted, they are faced with tapping govt reserves now. I Hope they can fix enough of those advanced hi-tech wellheads and crackers before it get's critical. Were not out of the woods yet, keep up your diligent efforts, the real y2k truth is being covered up in a shroud of secrecy.

-- y2k aware mike (y2k aware mike@ conservation . com), September 28, 2000.

EZBoard link

GAO study

-- spider (, September 28, 2000.

Thanks, Spider, for the links.

Thanks, Y2K AM, for your comments and kind words.

Regarding secrecy as it pertains to the oil and gas sector: I think secrecy is playing a major role in the private sector where with very few exceptions, those on the front lines in industry are not publicly disclosing what they know. I think that what we are seeing in Federal government officials with responsibilities in the oil and gas sector and in those in the private sector who represent oil and gas sector-related trade associations is simply a lack of knowledge concerning what is actually going on behind the scenes. This can also be coupled with a disinclination to believe that anything is going on that they don't know about. They are not likely to make the connection between oil and gas sector-related problems and any possible Y2K/embedded systems and complex integrated system malfunctions and failures if they have no one on staff with the necessary expertise to make the connection or to raise the question in the first place.

I have dealt with the issues involved in getting to the truth of what is going on in a presentation in April of this year. It is summarized on my website. There is also a link to the video of the presentation at the website. Click on "....Recent Programs" at It might be of interest.

-- Paula Gordon (, September 28, 2000.

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