U.S. Plans Y2k Center, Clinton Aide Tells Senate

U.S. Plans Y2k Center, Clinton Aide Tells Senate

Post by A Use » Tue, 03 Aug 1999 04:00:00


U.S. Plans Y2k Center, Clinton Aide Tells Senate

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is setting up an
unprecedented command center to cope with any year
2000 emergencies, President Clinton's top trouble-shooter for the issue
told Congress Thursday.

John Koskinen, head of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion,
said federal authorities were urging critical U.S. industries to join in
the effort by funneling updates on their systems to the government.

``While monitoring and collecting information on system operations
across the globe ... has never been tried before, I am confident that
structure we have put in place'' will work, Koskinen said at a hearing
of the Senate's Special Committee on the Year 2000.

Koskinen said the focus of his work was shifting to ``event management''
to deal with possible disruptions caused by confused computers. ``It
has become increasingly clear that there is a growing desire and need
for timely and accurate information about system operations as the world
moves into the new millennium,'' Koskinen said.

Until now, the U.S. drive to cope with the problem commonly known as Y2K
has focused on spurring software fixes and contingency planning
at home and abroad.

At the heart of the new phase is the Y2K Information Coordination Center
(ICC), the Washington-based hub of a multimillion-dollar crisis
management system to be operational by Oct. 31, and to wind up its Y2K
operations by June 2000.

Koskinen said the command center is intended to keep tabs on critical
private-sector activities as well as local, state and federal computer
systems; on overseas developments; and on any ''* incidents,''
including electronic attacks.

The center is being set up in a former Secret Service facility not far
from the White House. Among other tasks, it will review information from
International Y2K Cooperation Center set up by the United Nations and
the World Bank.

The command center planning now under way is for the New Year period
only. But U.S. officials consider the Y2K Center a test of a national
``* defense'' drive set in motion by Clinton in a May 1998

The White House said Wednesday it was weighing a long-term plan to
tighten U.S. defenses against threats to government and private computer
networks. Disclosure of the draft plan, which would give the FBI a lead
role, triggered concern that it would threaten privacy and civil

Clinton formally signed the Y2K Center into existence last month to
coordinate, among other things, U.S. agency assessments of Y2K-related
emergencies that could harm U.S. interests at home and abroad.

Koskinen said the center should be a framework for future cooperation
between key infrastructure industries and the federal government to
protect communication networks.

Committee chairman Bob Bennett, a Utah Republican, agreed the center
could provide experience to guide future efforts to protect the country
from *-attacks.

``The ICC, if done correctly, could provide the first real world
experience in dealing with the technological challenges of the
information age,''
Bennett said.

At issue over the New Year are expected disruptions ranging from botched
credit card transactions to power outages caused by computers
initially programmed to recognize dates only through 1999.

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