[ISN] DOD stages Year 2000 war game

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 26 1998 - 00:19:25 PST

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    Forwarded From: "Prosser, Mike" <Mike_Prosserat_private>
    NOVEMBER 23, 1998 
    DOD stages Year 2000 war game 
    BY BOB BREWIN (antennaat_private <mailto:antennaat_private>) 
    The Pentagon ran its first Year 2000 "war game" Friday to test how Defense
    Department officials reacted to mock computer snafus caused by the
    millennium bug.
    The results, which mark a shift in DOD's Year 2000 strategy from fixing
    computers to planning for computer failures if they occur, were not
    immediately available. The exercise tested the ability of midlevel
    managers in DOD functional business areas to deal with the Year 2000
    issue, putting DOD's Year 2000 contingency plans to the test.
    "We've moved [responsibility] for Y2K from the techno-geeks to operational
    commands,'' said Marv Langston, DOD's deputy chief information officer.
    "Which may or may not be a big mistake, depending on your viewpoint(mine
    is from many years dealing with mid-managers in operational commands)" 
    The exercise, conducted at the Mitre Corp. facility in Vienna, Va., marked
    the start of a series of Year 2000 war games that will culminate with what
    Langston described as a "Cabinet-level exercise" involving Secretary of
    Defense William Cohen, White House Year 2000 czar John Koskinen, other
    senior government officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    The Pentagon has modeled the Year 2000 "table top" exercises after similar
    war-game exercises in which key players follow a loosely scripted battle
    and attempt to cope with "enemy" moves by exercise coordinators. Enemy
    attacks were not part of the Year 2000 exercise. Rather, participants
    dealt with pernicious and hidden bugs in seemingly benign systems - bugs
    that could cripple U.S. forces as badly as a missile attack, said
    Langston, who calls Year 2000 issues "my No. 1 priority."
    Nancy Peters, Year 2000 vice president at CACI Inc., said the exercises
    should help DOD get a better grasp of the totality of the Year 2000
    problem and how to manage it. "This is an end-to-end problem," Peters
    said, adding that DOD "does not know where the string ends." The
    exercises, she said, should help the Pentagon follow that string to its
    end and then figure out how to manage the consequences.
    Langston, speaking at a meeting of the Association for Federal Information
    Resources Management Nov. 19, said the Pentagon will use the exercises to
    "walk [senior officials] through scenarios to see what will happen if DOD
    cannot function" due to a date-code meltdown in systems that control
    electricity, transportation and water supplies. 
    These Year 2000 exercises differ from Year 2000 tests of key DOD
    information and command and control systems, Langston said. The systems
    tests are designed to uncover technical glitches caused by date code in
    mission-critical systems, while the exercises are designed to see how
    commanders and top leadership can handle situations that result from a
    break-down in not only DOD systems but also those in the critical
    Zach Selden, an analyst who follows Year 2000 for Business Executives for
    National Security, viewed the Pentagon's contingency planning exercises as
    a positive step, albeit late. 
    "The exercises show that they have moved from risk management to
    consequence management, even if they should have started doing this six
    months ago," he said. "The exercises are a real change. It shows they are
    now getting ready to deal with problems instead of trying to fix
    The next exercise, scheduled for January, will put DOD policy-makers to
    the test, while an exercise planned for late February or early March will
    involve DOD's high command, including Cohen and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
    This will be followed by the final "Cabinet-level" exercise in May or
    June, Langston said.
    The Pentagon needs to conduct these war games, Langston said, because it
    depends on outside sources and suppliers. DOD also is concerned about the
    impact that the collapse of foreign information systems could have on
    Olga Grkavac, senior vice president with the Information Technology
    Association of America's Enterprise Solutions Division, said the exercises
    will provide Pentagon planners "with valuable information on their
    exposure, especially in the reliance on [outside] critical
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