Feds Almost Ready For Y2K

Of more than 9,000 federal systems that need to be year 2000 compliant, almost all of them are ready to go, John Koskinen, chairman of the PresidentÂ's Council on the Year 2000 conversion, told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras Wednesday.

Â"WeÂ're reporting 92 percent of the mission critical systems of the federal government are now year 2000 compliant,Â" Koskinen said.

The council is responsible for coordinating the federal governmentÂ's efforts to address the Y2K problem and had set Wednesday as their deadline for 100 percent Y2K compliance.

Koskinen and his staff work with federal agencies to make sure they have the appropriate funds and personnel to address the issue and that they are effectively using their resources to make their mission-critical systems Y2K compliant.

A mission-critical system is defined as a computer system that allows a government agency to perform its primary function.

Koskinen said he expects the outstanding systems to be compliant this summer.

Even with 100 percent federal compliance, though, there are still potential problems from state, local government, and corporate computer systems that will not be Y2K compliant.

Â"ItÂ's a major concern for us,Â" Koskinen explained. Â"The states and local agencies administer a number of major federal programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid.Â"

Koskinen said the council has been working with states and local agencies for more than a year to encourage them to fix the systems and test them to make sure there is no change in peopleÂ's ability to receive benefits as we move into the next century.

Â"On the information we have, the majority of the states are doing fine,Â" Koskinen added. Â"There are probably eight to ten states that have moved slowly or started late, and weÂ're working with them to ensure that before the year is out, they will have finished the systems and be confident they work.Â"

Koskinen said that, judging from the information he collected from United States industries, there is unlikely to be any major system failure in the United States at the turn of the century.

But, he said, the council is very concerned about whatÂ's going on at the local level and with some small and medium-sized businesses.

Koskinen said this week is Small Business Y2K Action Week, as meetings and seminars across the country provide technical information to small businesses to ensure they are ready for the year 2000 as well.

He said all the preparations going on now will allow people to celebrate the millennium without great concern.