Y2K Quotables
(Newest quotes appear at the top of the list)


"If I were to pick one single 'fact' that makes me suspicious, its that the really good places have said how hard Y2K has been, whereas the less active places say its easy."

--- Douglass Carmichael, Y2KWEEKX week 11 and 10, 10/28/1999

"Good news: The conventional wisdom of Y2K disasters striking at midnight on Jan. 1 has been overstated. Bad news: Bug problems could affect systems over a much longer time period -- and have far more widespread effects -- than most of us believe. So says a new British report, released on Tuesday, which predicts that 90 to 95 percent of Y2K-related computer errors and data disruption will actually take place before and after New Year's. 'The current focus on January 1, 2000, although understandable, is simplistic and unrealistic,' Ian Hugo, assistant director of Taskforce 2000, told a news conference...'Let's say a bunch of small glitches take place at the stroke of midnight. On their own, each problem can be taken care of within a few days or weeks at most. But in an interconnected global economy all these little problems could coalesce into a much more serious issue that could ripple well into the new year.' Says Hugo, 'The bigger threat than an apocalyptic meltdown is death by a thousand cuts.'"

--- This is from a NEWSWEEK article by Sandy Lawrence Edry, April 21, 1999, quoted in "More on Two Y2K Red Herrings"

"You'll note that Y2K researchers, most particularly individualists not tied to institutions or major corporations, urge stronger preparations than do members of the mass media, politicians, and major institutions or corporations. One of the major reasons is that us small folk can make these recommendations without damaging the economy. The economy is currently strong enough for the small members of our audience who will listen and take heed. The economy is not capable of similar advice coming out of the mouths of the big players. I bet most of the major market Y2K spokespeople are privately glad that there are 'alarmists' out there getting an acceptable number of people prepared. They themselves can't speak likewise and in fact probably have to criticize the alarmists. But I bet a lot of it is for show. I bet they want America as prepared as it can be without tanking the economy in doing so."

--- Roleigh Martin, "Serious Y2K Preparations Are Needed," April 26, 1999

"In spite of the best efforts of many in government and industry, not every computer will be ready for the Year 2000. There are simply too many computers and many organizations, particularly internationally, have only recently begun to address the problem. The question is how many systems will experience difficulties, how severe will those difficulties be, and what disruptions will they create."

--- The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, Second Summary of Assessment Information

"Lucy, of course is the character in the 'Peanuts' cartoon series. For years she's been fooling poor Charlie Brown with a football. She holds the ball in position for Charlie to kick but at the last moment she pulls the ball away. Charlie flails away then falls flat on his back.What makes this gag so funny is that Lucy always assures Charlie that THIS TIME she won't move the ball. Good old trusting Charlie always believes her but she always moves the ball. And down goes Charlie.

"John Koskinen is Lucy and you are Charlie Brown.He wants you to ignore the government's past record and believe them THIS TIME. He wants you to ignore the fact that, in the past, virtually all their software projects have been delivered late. He wants you to ignore an unblemished history of technical ineptitude and decades of outrageously bad technical management. He wants you to believe THIS TIME they're going to beat the odds. He wants you to believe they'll finish every single one of six thousand four hundred projects on time. He wants you to believe they have pulled off the greatest technical miracle in history. He wants you to have the faith of Charlie Brown. If you do that, like Charlie, you'll find yourself flat on your back on the ground looking up at the sky. And Lucy will be looking down with the football in her hand saying, 'Gotcha!'"

--- Jim Lord, The "Real" Y2K Problem, April 15,1999

"Speculation about how Y2K glitches will affect computing runs rampant these days, but a recent survey by the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va., paints a realistic picture of the problems you can expect the Y2K bug to cause. More than one-third of the survey's 400 respondents reported problems ranging from computer crashes to chip failures. Data-exchange errors affected 34% of the respondents. The other most common problems were accounting errors (27%), corrupted database files (21%) and computer crashes (18%). Not even Y2K-ready commercial software packages are bug-free: 28% of the respondents reported errors with such programs."

--- "Real-World Y2K Woes," Windows Magazine Online, April 1, 1999, Issue: 1004

"The Year 2000 crisis is the greatest wake-up call you could have for the new millennium," said Mr Harvey... "In Britain the Army is on standby, as it is in Ireland, France, Germany and Canada. I understand President Clinton will put the Army on standby in the US in July."

--- New Zealand's Labour Party President, Bob Harvey, "Councils Want Army Help: Mayor," April 3, 1999

"Of particular concern to Bennett and Dodd are Y2K readiness levels of 14 Chernobyl-style nuclear reactors located throughout the former Soviet Union. These facilities, all vulnerable to Y2K-related failures, provide many of the former Soviet states with anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of their electric power. It is believed that a Y2K-related failure at these plants could pose serious safety risks and cause regional instability in Eastern Europe.

"Soviet-designed nuclear power plants...are all threatened by Y2K failures," the Senators wrote. "Russia has been slow in recognizing the seriousness of the Y2K problem. In fact, Prime Minister Primakov did not receive his first comprehensive Y2K report until February 26, 1999. Political and economic tensions in Russia could be pushed to the breaking point by Y2K damages."

--- "Bennett, Dodd Urge Gore to Address Y2K Concerns In Upcoming Meeting With Russian Prime Minister," March 22, 1999

"HCFA's reporting of its readiness for next January sounds quite positive as stated in the most recent HHS Y2K quarterly progress report to OMB. According to this report, dated February 10, as of December 31, 1998, all 25 of HCFA's internal mission-critical systems were reported to be compliant, as were 54 of the 78 external systems... HCFA's reported progress on its external mission-critical systems is considerably overstated. In fact, none of the 54 systems reported compliant by HCFA was Year 2000 ready as of December 31, 1998. All 54 external systems that were reported as compliant have important associated qualifications (exceptions), some of them very significant. Such qualifications included a major standard system that failed to recognize "00" as a valid year, as well as 2000 as a leap year; it also included systems that were not fully future date tested."

--- Statement of Joel C. Willemssen, Director Civil Agencies Information Systems, Before the House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on the Year 2000 Conversion Efforts and Implications for Beneficiaries and Taxpayers, February, 24, 1999

"We will have problems in this country with respect to Y2K, but they will be manageable. And we will get through them without seeing the end of Western civilization as we know it. However, overseas I am becoming increasingly concerned that many of our trading partners and our military allies will be sufficiently behind the curve that we will have serious problems."

--- Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, "Will Y2K breed instability abroad?," Wednesday, February 24, 1999

Here are highlights from the Senate report on the nation's year 2000 computer problem:

  • More than 90 percent of doctors' offices and 50 percent of small and medium-size businesses have yet to address the problem.
  • Self-reporting -- akin to letting students grade their own tests -- has produced industry-by-industry assessments of the problem that may be unreliable.
  • A "potentially monstrous" wave of litigation is expected to be instigated by people who suffer from business and government failures related to the year 2000 changeover.
  • Projections of liability costs go as high as $1 trillion.
  • There is no national strategic plan to assure that critical infrastructures will continue to function.
  • Neither is there a national contingency plan in the event of widespread infrastructure failure.
  • Failure of some parts of the electric utility system is likely, but the integrity of the overall power grid is not expected to be compromised.
  • Of greatest concern: 1,000 small, rural utilities.
  • Almost all telephone systems are expected to be ready.
  • Planes will not fall out of the sky, but rationing of flights to some areas and countries is possible.
  • Banks and automated tellers are expected to be functioning and to have enough cash.

-- "Some Y2K Glitches Are Certain, Senators Report," Knight Ridder Newspapers, Wednesday, February 24, 1999

"Many agencies have made truly remarkable progress in bringing their mission-critical computer systems into Year 2000 compliance. Nevertheless, the overall Federal Government earned only a 'C+' this quarter. Certainly, that is an improvement over the previous three quarters, when it garnered an 'F' and two 'D's.' But a 'C+' is disappointing, considering the noteworthy accomplishments of most Federal departments and agencies."

--- "The Progress of the Executive Branch in Meeting the Year 2000 (Y2K) Problem," by Stephen Horn, Chairman Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology February 22, 1999

"U.S. Fortune 500 companies are violating shareholder trust because they aren't complying with federal disclosure rules about how ready their computer systems are for year 2000, Sen. Robert Bennett said today in a letter to companies.... 'Much of the... language used in these disclosures is so vague that it is impossible to tell whether you are looking at a defense contractor or toothpick manufacturer,' Bennett said."

--- "Fortune 500 companies chastised on Y2K," BusinessToday.Com, February 17, 1999

"My opinion is that we're going to suffer a year of technological disruptions, followed by a decade of depression."

--- Ed Yourdon, "My Y2K Outlook," Updated February 7, 1999

"I arrived at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday night. I spent the next day attending various panels. Saturday night I was at a cocktail party hosted by Bankers Trust. I was discussing the Year 2000 Problem (Y2K) with the CEO of one of the largest accounting firms in the world. He believes it is a big problem and that most CEOs are too complacent about it. In the middle of our conversation, the lights went out in all of Davos for about 15 minutes... Later that evening, I ran into a top US Treasury official who told me that he thought my Y2K recession forecast was crazy, but he graciously added that he had thought my Dow 5000 by '95 and Dow 10000 by 2000 were crazy too.

"Sunday morning I presented a 'Call for Y2K Leadership' to an informal gathering of ministers attending the conference. Just before I spoke, Bill Gates talked very briefly about the unprecedented rate of change in his business... After my short pitch for more leadership, the CEO of one of Mr. Gate's challengers said that everyone should buy a computer before yearend because his company might not get the components needed to build PCs from Asian suppliers who are '1-3 years behind' in getting ready for Y2K! On the way to a luncheon, a key Japanese official told me that his government was just starting to think about Y2K contingency plans and was unsure what to do."

--- Dr. Edward Yardeni, "Report From Davos & New On Dr. Ed's Econet," January 31, 1999

"Our government is not going to get all of its critical systems fixed in time for the century change. The evidence for this is overwhelming, as I recounted in my address to the National Press Club last year. The General Accounting Office (GAO) cites countless other vulnerabilities. State and local systems that process Federal benefit checks are not likely to be fully remediated. County-operated "911" systems may have failures. At the corporate level, the price of fixing Y2K problems keeps outstripping original estimates. Many companies, like Chevron and General Motors, are now conceding that they cannot guarantee their service as of January 1, 2000.

"Even John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, has publicly acknowledged that the time to begin Y2K remediation is past, and the time has come for crisis management and contingency planning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross have both issued public statements that encourage the public to take Y2K seriously. Everyone-- business leaders, politicians, community leaders, and families -- needs to begin calmly and rationally preparing. "

--- Sen. Robert Bennett, "Ready or Not, Y2K Is Coming," y2ktoday, January 27, 1999

"India, Russia, China, the Philippines, Argentina, Venezuela, South Africa and Thailand are among the countries that will face the greatest impact. These countries will experience widespread interruption in air transportation, power, telephone service and government services, according to the Gartner Group.

"Any potential Y2K economic and social instability will ripple throughout the global economy," said Joyce Amenta, Y2K co-ordinator for the World Bank.

"The resources are just not available to fix all of the problems," said George West, the senior Y2K information manager at the World Bank, and the problem has already started appearing in computer systems.

Ms Amenta said: "we are seeing problems in incorrect projections in loan payments, lost patient records, and prematurely cancelled orders for supplies, such as food, oil machine parts and microcomputer chips, just to name a few."

--- "Losing the Race Against Time," Wired News, By BBC News Online's Kevin Anderson, Wednesday, January 27, 1999

"We face an absolute catastrophe in the world because of this problem. On the other hand, it may not be much of anything. The biggest problem is, we don't know. But don't take anybody lightly that tells you that the roof could come falling in. I can tell you today that if year 2000 hit today, the electric grid that serves South Dakota would go down. It would not stay up, and don't believe anybody that tells you it would. Now, by the year 2000, it might, but today it will go down. Year 2000 doesn't come in the middle of June when the temperature is decent. It's coming on December 31 in the middle of winter. "

--- From South Dakota Governor William J. Janklow's State-of-the-State Address, State Capitol, House Chambers, January 13, 1999

"Several times in my career, I have seen IT disasters. These are rare events but it leaves an impression that doesn't fade. Peak experiences. We're all about to see something that's never happened before: A co-ordinated, world wide, information technology failure. Lots of systems will survive but lots will fail too. The failures will be odd, spectacular, unlike anything we can imagine now.

"What flows from that? This is what I don't know. Everyday, I try to see past the wall but the curtain remains drawn."

--- Cory Hamasaki , DC Y2K Weather Report, January 7, 1999

"Have you heard about the new Federal Government Y2K hotline? Call 1-888-USA-4Y2K to get answers to your Y2K questions. Last Monday I called and listened to the recorded message on electricity. It said, 'most problems have already been remediated and tested,' and they cited NERC as the source. I got a supervisor on the phone and told him it wasn't true. Much to my amazement, the next day he called back and said, 'You're correct. We'll change the recorded message this afternoon.' Imagine, little old me deflecting the course of the United States of America. I think the FTC, which gathers the information for the hotline, deserves kudos for at least trying to be truthful. No matter what they say on the hotline, it is certain to be controversial."

--- Dick Mills, "Another Myth, Balkanization of the Power Grid," January 15, 1999

"Today computer professionals around the world are modifying much of their existing software. The CIBC bank in Canada has 1,000 people working on its project with a budget of about $120 million. AT&T has already spent over $500 million, Citicorp will shell out about $650 million, and the Internal Revenue Service's expense will be roughly $1 billion.

"These are huge efforts, but if people have learned anything about large software projects, it is that many of them miss their deadlines, and those that are on time seldom work perfectly. To deny this is to forget the lessons of past software debacles, including the computer fiascoes at the Atlanta Olympics and the Denver International Airport. Indeed, on-time error-free installations of complex computer systems are rare. The excruciatingly painful aspect of Y2K projects is that the deadline is immovable.

"All that said -- and considering other factors, including the amount of work already completed and the planned contingencies and compromises people will have to make as the century turnover nears -- I believe that severe disruptions will occur and that they will last perhaps about a month. Additional problems, ranging from annoyances to more serious issues, will continue cropping up throughout 2000. This prediction might be optimistic; it assumes that people will have done what is necessary to minimize the number of single points of failure that could occur. Accomplishing that alone in the time remaining will require a Herculean effort unprecedented in the history of computers."

--- Peter de Jager, "Y2K: So Many Bugs... So Little Time", Scientific American, January 1999

"Michael Harden, President and CEO of Century Technology Services, Inc. and author of two Y2K books, compared Y2K to the great Yellow Fever epidemic that struck the Mississippi Valley in 1878. The deadly disease, carried by mosquitoes, broke out on the Gulf Coast and slowly worked its way up the river to Memphis, Tennessee. The people in that city knew in advance that the epidemic was on its way. They knew approximately when it would arrive. They knew it would kill them. The government and the media said, 'Don't panic. Everything will be all right.' Relieved by these assurances, most stayed in the city.

"Fifty-five percent of the population died. Many Catholic nuns chose to remain to give aid and comfort to those afflicted with the disease. Most of them perished and today they are known as the 'Martyrs of Memphis.' The city was disestablished as a political entity and was not re-chartered for fourteen years."

--- Jim Lord, World Future Society Holds Y2K Conference, January 4, 1999

Dr. Harrison Fox, Professional Staff, U.S House of Representatives, subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology (Rep. Steven Horn's subcommittee) gave what many considered the most sobering session of the conference.

Dr. Fox indicated that:

  • By this time next year, the panic factor will be in full force and rationing will be in effect.
  • Of great concern are DOD, FAA healthcare and state and local governments (especially water systems).
  • Within DOD, nuclear weapons management and logistics systems were cited as most critical.
  • Three of the five oil refineries in Venezuela (which provides some seventeen percent of the oil supply in the United States) will not be compliant in time and will have to be shut down. These and other problems "will lead to disruptions" in the flow of oil.
  • Medicare will "fail massively."
  • The State Department is still in the "Quill and Scroll" age.
  • Unsatisfactory performance in dealing with Y2K is indicative of the poor management systems and practices in use in the federal government.
  • A comprehensive national level strategy is still needed.
  • Everyone needs to prepare for Y2K and they need to start now.

--- Jim Lord, World Future Society Holds Y2K Conference, January 4, 1999

Joel Willemssen of the U.S. General Accounting Office doesn't sugarcoat his answer. "All the government agencies will not be done on time. There will be some failures," he says...

Air travel? The Federal Aviation Administration concedes it remains at least three months behind where it should be on Y2K preparedness.

Defense? The Pentagon received a "D-minus" in the last congressional Y2K report card, but plans war games in June 1999 to demonstrate its preparedness.

The Department of Energy got an "F" in the same report, placing in doubt what it can do in 1999 to ensure electrical power is available on January 1, 2000.

And the Internal Revenue Service is so far behind that the GAO says U.S. citizens could receive erroneous tax bills in 2000 or, on a brighter note, refund checks they aren't entitled to.

--- "Fed Agencies Among Serious Stragglers in Y2K Preparations," CNN Online, December 29, 1998

"Before the Titanic ever struck the iceberg, it had received a total of seven iceberg warnings from other ships. The last warning was not even delivered to the ship's captain, so he wouldn't be disturbed while entertaining passengers. So too, many executives and even CIOs have ignored the press, and consistent warnings of impending doom from industry pundits, experts, television, magazines, radio, video tapes, conferences, newspapers."

"No boat drills ever took place on the Titanic that would have allowed the passengers and crew to practice the procedures to follow in the event of a crash or need to evacuate. Likewise, virtually no company, as of today, has a fully-documented, tested, and communicated contingency plan that outline the steps, procedures, logistics, systems, and people necessary to keep the company going in the event that mission-critical systems."

"The Titanic carried only 20 lifeboats. These lifeboats, even if fully loaded, couldn't hold 50 percent of the passengers. However, if the ship is 'unsinkable,' why worry? You worry because with so much at stake, it is critical to plan for the unexpected! Yet many companies today are afraid or unwilling to accept that the Year-2000 fix can, and in many cases, will require huge resources in dollars, outsourcing, facilities, tools, management, planning, doubling up staff to implement concurrent contingency plans and remediation efforts. For instance, why are some more progressive banks and companies budgeting $250 to $500 million while other similarly-situated companies are budgeting only $20 to $40 million?"

"When the ship struck the iceberg, passengers gave no importance to the incident -- still believing the ship 'unsinkable.' This false belief proved even deadlier as time went on, because passengers refused to board the lifeboats. The belief in the ship's hype, and the disbelief that such a tragedy could happen to oneself personally, cost many lives. The later it gets the more some companies today believe that they missed the boat and become further paralyzed. Do what you can now! The key is to save as many of your company's assets, customers, suppliers, contracts, relationships, competitive advantage situations as possible, until the time the remediated or replacement systems become available."

"All of the lifeboats except one refused to return to help other passengers in the freezing water onto their lifeboats, for fear of capsizing their small vessels. The Year 2000 analogy again is that a company cannot just sail forward into the sunset on its own. It must share its Y2K plans, know-how, secrets, staff, resources with those partners that are not as far along or are unable to do it on their own. What good is surviving if your suppliers can no longer supply you, or your vendors are out of business?"

--- Warren S. Reid, "The Year 2000 Titan"

"I'm back in NY doing a Y2K consulting gig at a Wall Street brokerage. I was here briefly in July and August. What a difference 4 months make.

"In every office now, every hallway, every elevator, coffee shop, restaurant, and street corner in the financial district, all you hear is Y2K this, Y2K that, Y2K blah blah blah, and it's all problems, troubles, and surprises.

"The brokerage I'm in now is slipping schedules, and I'm being advised to not put my project on the company intranet until I can post some results. Otherwise, I'll just generate heat and waste time explaining problems rather than solving them.

"My former Y2K colleagues across the street, at a very large bank currently involved in takeover rumors, tell me that all of the schedules are slipping there as well, and that testing is not getting done on time, or at all. A very nasty testing problem that I discovered in August, involving aging the data on a whole bunch of client-server databases, has been ignored, because nobody knows what to do about it..."

--- From a column by Westergaard 2000 Columnist Howard Belasco called, "Flux," December 7, 1998

"A recent ITAA survey of corporations... suggests that the 'countdown to failure has started.' The survey showed 44 percent had already had actual failures, 67 percent reported test failures, 94 percent predict world crisis, and almost half are still in the awareness/assessment phase. [Harris Miller, President of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)] foresees contractual disputes, business interruptions, and related lawsuits, torts and product liability, lost productivity, corporate bankruptcies and reputations damaged or destroyed. Delays will mean that 'Costs will escalate, expert help will be harder to find, forward looking systems will fail, consumer confidence will be impacted, time pressure will increase and organizations will fail.'"

--- Victor Porlier , "Government Contingency Planning for Y2K", November 25, 1998


"As you can see on the 'Year 2000 Progress' chart, the picture is a gloomy one.

"Overall, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government has earned a 'D.' Unfortunately, the Federal Government has not made enough progress since the last report card when it also received a 'D.' Executive Branch departments and agencies are responding too slowly in assessing and repairing their mission-critical systems, their telecommunications equipment, their embedded chip systems, and their data exchanges. This includes their interaction with other Federal agencies or the clients they serve be they States, localities, or non-governmental sources. More important, over one-half of the agencies have not completed contingency plans to ensure that service will continue should their mission critical systems fail.

"We estimate, at the current rate of progress, that nearly one-third of the Federal Government's mission critical systems will not be Year 2000 compliant by the deadline established by the President of March 30, 1999. Federal systems need to be updated by this deadline to ensure sufficient testing of multiple systems. This deadline cannot be extended."

--- Representative Stephen Horn, R-CA, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, Press Release, Monday, November 23, 1998

"There's no point in sugarcoating the problem. If we can't fix the century-date problem, we will have a situation scarier than the average disaster movie you might see on a Sunday night. Twenty-one months from now, there could be 90 million taxpayers who won't get their refunds, and 95% of the revenue stream of the United States could be jeopardized."

--- The Commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rossotti, Wall Street Journal, 4/22/98

Peter de Jager, founder of de Jager and Co. Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario, told about 200 people that individuals and businesses need to practice "dire diligence," or get ready for some inconveniences, but they needn't expect the end of the world. "I don't think we're capable of entering Year 2000 without problems," de Jager said. "But they should be minimal. There will be a couple of glitches. What we hope to achieve is that they're all trivial problems and not the consequential ones."

Noting there could be "tens of thousands of problems," de Jager said most will not be life-threatening situations. He did, however, suggest that people stock up on about a month's worth of food, have a backup generator for electricity and carry some money. He said he does not recommend taking all one's assets from financial accounts, noting that individuals professing doom are extremists with a self-fulfilling prophecy; they may not like banks, for example.

--- "Minimal Y2K Glitches Expected", The Bangor Daily News, Tuesday, November 17, 1998

"It's time to say goodbye to one order and get to work building its replacement. It's not the end of the world. But it's the end of a world -- a world where people trust the promises of politicians, bankers, computer programmers, and lawyers who write press releases."

--- Gary North, "De Jager Sets Up a New Service: Corporate Promises Kept (Giggle)", Tuesday, November 3, 1998

"Historically, the fin de siecle (end of century) has caused quite a stir. Until now, however, there has been little factual basis on which doomsayers and apocalyptic fear mongers could spread their gospel. After studying the potential impact of Y2K on the telecommunications industry, health care, economy, and other vital sectors of our lives, I would like to warn that we have cause for fear. For the failure to address the millennium bug could be catastrophic."

--- Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York), "Small Businesses to Global Corporations: Will They Survive Year 2000?", Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, October 7, 1998

"Y2K is inherently ambiguous; its possible consequences range from minor inconvenience to the toxic meltdown of civilization -- and there is ample evidence to support either view and most views in between. It is hard to know whether to ignore it or drop everything."

--- Tom Atlee, from a summary article entitled, "The Y2K Environmental Movement is Expanding," Saturday, October 31, 1998

"Three months after the Year 2000,
things will be pretty much
back to normal."

--- Peter de Jager, "Y2K prophet says doom talk is overrated", Sacramento Bee, Oct. 30, 1998

"As a society, we are on the point of conceding [Y2K] failure. It's crazy. It's frustrating. It cannot be happening. But it is."

--- Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) President Harris Miller, testifying before a House Ways and Means Subcommittee. His comments were published by ITAA, May 8, 1998

"The pattern we observe with final exams is called a Bell Curve. At first there is a slow trickle (the high-achievers), which builds to a crest (those of us in the majority), and then finally peters out (the under-achieving stragglers)...

"We are being assured that organizations and technology systems will be fixed by the deadline of December 31, 1999. Well, at least enough of them will be fixed so that our economy and prosperous way of life will not be greatly affected. But if that is the case, where are the high-achievers? Where are the super smart students who zip through the exam in half the time and walk out with an 'A'?

"It is now the Fourth Quarter of 1998. If the vast majority of organizations are going to be finished within a year, as we are being told, we should be seeing some major organizations that are now finished. It is the result the bell curve should give us: a trickle of high-achievers finished by now, a crest of the majority of firms finishing in 1999, and a handful of stragglers who will miss the deadline.

"But here in the Fourth Quarter of 1998, there is not a single major bank which is done; there is not a single power utility finished; there is not a single telecommunications firm compliant; there is not a single Fortune 500 company all set; there is not a single federal agency which is finished. In fact, the Social Security Administration, which discovered the problem way back in 1989 and began its Y2K program in 1991, is still not finished. If any organization should be a high achieving 'A' student, it should be the SSA.

"So what can we conclude? If no major outfit has yet been able complete this 'exam,' if the trickle of high-achievers has not yet begun, it is obvious that the bell curve will not crest in mid-1999. It will instead crest well after January, 2000 -- which means our economy and our prosperous way of life are in for some serious, possibly life-threatening, disruptions..."

--- Michael S. Hyatt & Bill Dunn (Westergaard 2000 Website), "Y2K & the Bell Curve", Wednesday, October 21, 1998

"Based on the findings of the subcommittee's investigation, the Year 2000 problem requires one of the most massive and coordinated repair efforts in human history. An enormous amount of progress has been made, but at least as much remains to be done and, unlike virtually every other major challenge, the Year 2000 problem presents an absolute deadline. Both because of the enormity of the challenge and because of the extraordinary potential for fear and panic, this problem calls for strong leadership. The committee hopes that the President of the United States, as well as executive leadership in organizations throughout the country and the world, will rise to this challenge in the months to come."

--- II. Report on the Committee's Oversight Review, October 8, 1998

"Virtually all data on Federal Year 2000 status are self-reported. Questions have been raised about the reliability of these data. On June 5, 1998, the Defense Department's Inspector General published a highly critical audit of Defense's Year 2000 remediation. The purpose of the audit was to "determine whether the year 2000 certification process is adequate to ensure that mission critical technology systems will continue to operate properly after the year 2000" and to evaluate "the year 2000 certification process" through a random sample of systems already certified as compliant by the individual managers in charge.

"The audit uncovered two separate but related problems in DoD implementation of the Management Plan. First, many systems were certified as compliant when in fact no adequate justification for such assertions existed. The Inspector General estimated that only 109 of the 430 systems reported as compliant by November 1997 were in fact adequately validated according to the five-phase process."

--- II. Report on the Committee's Oversight Review, October 8, 1998

"The mission for service providers is to ensure that their networks will interoperate smoothly as the date rolls over to Jan. 1, 2000. And representatives from long distance, local, satellite and wireless providers came to last week's [FCC] meeting to coordinate testing and contingency planning. They have less than 440 days to do what amounts to 60,000 testing-years on systems and equipment, according to AT&T chairman and CEO Michael Armstrong, who heads the industry-government Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) working group on Y2K issues."

--- "Service Providers Turn To Y2K", InternetWeek, October 19, 1998

"The Year 2000 problem could result in a stunning array of technological failures. Air traffic could be delayed or even grounded; telephone service could be interrupted; breakdowns in the production and distribution of electricity could bring widespread power failures; automatic teller machines might malfunction; traffic lights could stop working; timeclocks at factories might malfunction. Government payments, including checks from the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury, and the Veterans Benefits Administration, could be interrupted; military technology, including the Global Positioning Satellite System, could malfunction. Closer to home, devices with a timing function, including microwave ovens, personal computers, video cassette recorders, and climate control systems could all falter or even shut down entirely.

"Some early failures have already occurred. According to one survey, more than 40 percent of companies in the United States already have encountered Year 2000-related system failures. In 1995, for example, computers at the Unum Life Insurance Company automatically deleted 700 records from a database that tracks the licensing status of brokers when a computer program interpreted some of the "00" expiration dates as 1900. More dramatically, when Phillips Petroleum ran a Year 2000 test on an oil rig in the North Sea, a safety system that detects emissions of deadly hydrogen sulfide gas stopped working. When the Chrysler Corporation turned clocks forward at one of its assembly plants in 1997 to simulate the date change, the security system failed, preventing people from leaving the building. In a similar exercise by NORAD personnel in 1993, the result was total system blackout.

"Failures such as these may be the tip of the iceberg. Solving the problem, however, is an expensive process. In 1996, the Gartner Group estimated that the worldwide cost of Year 2000 repairs would reach $600 billion, with half of that going to repairs in the United States, and $30 billion to the Federal Government. The Office of Management and Budget has insisted the Federal cost would be much lower, but has repeatedly raised its own estimate. Beginning with $2.3 billion in 1997, OMB's estimate swelled to $5.4 billion as of August 15, 1998 (although the 24 largest departments and agencies were asking for $6.3 billion at that time). Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Horn has long argued that the Executive branch should be prepared for costs to exceed $10 billion. In the private sector, General Motors expects to spend $565 million, Citicorp estimates its costs at $600 million, and MCI at $400 million."

--- The U.S. Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, "Summary of Oversight Findings and Recommendations" , October, 1998

"It is now clear that a large number of Federal computer systems simply will not be prepared for January 1, 2000. At the same time, the utilities industry, the financial services industry, the telecommunications industry, vital modes of transportation, and other indispensable industrial sectors are all at risk."

--- The U.S. Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, "Summary of Oversight Findings and Recommendations" , October, 1998

"If any of the audience
can find me a fax that won't transmit
because of the tick over from
December 31st to January 1st 2000,
then I will eat it."

--- Gartner Research Director and leading Y2K expert, Andy Kyte, "Gartner Symposium: Embedded systems will not fall prey to Y2K bug", October 15, 1998

"In my own business, a Seattle software company that buys new PCs every 18 months, no one was worried about Year 2000 compliance on our PCs until late last year. When we looked into it, we found that 30 percent of our hardware and 80 percent of our software had Y2K compliance problems...

"According to the Gartner Group, 64 percent of organizations run mission critical applications on their PCs, and 90 percent will incur preventable costs, revenue losses, or, in the worst case, business process failures due to the Year 2000 Problem in their PCs.When you consider that more than 70 million personal computers are in use in American business and government (another 40 million in homes), the problem grows exponentially..."

--- Doug Walker, "Even New PCs Have Y2K Bug", October 12, 1998

"It is now clearly evident that segments of companies and governments throughout the world will not be fully prepared to deal with this problem by 2000."

"In the U.S., industry segments such as healthcare, education, agriculture, construction, food processing, governments, and companies under 500 employees are lagging way behind in compliance efforts. Many of these will simply not finish critical systems by 2000."

--- Expert Testimony of Lou Marcoccio to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, October 7th, 1998 Washington, D.C. Based on a Gartner Group survey of 15,000 companies and government agencies in 81 countries

"Our experiences shows that U.S. companies are not providing accurate disclosures related to Year 2000 risks and contingencies. There are considerable differences between the status of Year 2000 compliance and critical risks that companies disclose to the SEC, and what the actual status and risks are within that company."

--- Expert Testimony of Lou Marcoccio to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, October 7th, 1998 Washington, D.C. Based on a Gartner Group survey of 15,000 companies and government agencies in 81 countries

"Even if we were to miraculously fix every one of these domestic issues and make certain all U.S. companies and government agencies will get themselves Year 2000 compliant before 2000, the absolute largest risk to the U.S. and to U.S. citizens is the impact from companies and governments outside the U.S. Far too many companies and governments critical to our continued strong economy, and providers of key resources, are more than 30 months behind private industry in the U.S. Since it takes an average of 30 months for a midsize company to achieve compliance of their most critical systems, many of these lagging foreign companies and governments will simply not have enough time to get their systems fixed before 2000... The only way now to combat this enormous issue, is for the U.S. Government to launch significant foreign contingency strategies in order to reduce or negate high risk dependencies on these industries and countries before we begin to feel these ill-effects. Since failures will increase in numbers throughout 1999, increase in volume throughout 2000, and continue at reduced levels throughout 2001, the time to act on this is now. "

--- Expert Testimony of Lou Marcoccio to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, October 7th, 1998 Washington, D.C. Based on a Gartner Group survey of 15,000 companies and government agencies in 81 countries


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