4 December 1998

From: "Justin Coleman" <justin.coleman@usa.net>
To: <jy@jya.com>
Subject: Computers Controlling Nukes Should Be High On Y2K List
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 10:51:09 -0600

Computers Controlling Nukes Should Be High On Y2K List

Whether or not your ATM works come 2000 might not be so important.

So what if the traffic lights don't work? We've got bigger problems.

The folks who are responsible for U.S. nuclear stockpiles falsified
readiness reports on the Year 2000 computer problem.

Of anybody, anywhere, it's hard to imagine anything more important 
than ensuring the computers controlling our nuclear weapons are up 
to speed.

The Defense Special Weapons Agency never conducted required tests 
on three of five "mission critical" computer systems despite claiming 
that the systems complied with Y2K standards, a Defense Department
inspector-general's report concluded.

The agency also did not develop required contingency plans that would 
take effect if there was a failure of any system essential to 
conducting its most primary duties.

But never fear. A Defense Department spokesman says he thinks there's 
little mischief going on here.

And the captain in charge of correcting Y2K problems at the agency 
says he has "a good feeling" that things will work out.

Now, of course, we all can sleep better.

Unfortunately, there's still not a complete inventory of the work that 
needs to be done. And there wasn't a suggestion that this was some 
kind of Watergate cover-up.

Never mind mischief, how about incompetence? The results, it would 
seem, would be similar.

It's a little ridiculous to have to say this, but don't you think we 
ought to have nuclear-weapons computers high on our list of things to 
test and ensure are running smoothly?

If somebody stands in line an extra 15 minutes because a government 
computer fails, that's bad.

If somebody doesn't receive a government-issued check on time, that's 
worse. If computers responsible for securing our nuclear weapons 
malfunction, that's, well, perhaps the worst-possible scenario.

With all due respect to the power of positive thinking, let's do the 
tests anyway.