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First Gov  

March 26, 1999



FROM:   Jacob J. Lew
SUBJECT:    2000 Readiness of High Impact Federal Programs

During the past year the Federal government overall has made substantial progress in addressing the year 2000 problem in Federal systems. While many agencies have made outstanding progress on both internal systems and on their work with their program partners, other agencies must redouble their efforts to ensure that their mission critical systems will be ready and that their programs with a high impact on the public will function. We have consistently worked with you throughAssuring the Year the budget process and in other ways to ensure that your partner’s systems are also Y2K compliant, however, we also need to be able to demonstrate the overall readiness of systems -- and the programs they support -- to the public.


This is a critical facet of our work. While the public generally understands that we have made progress in addressing the year 2000 problem based on our internal measure of systems made compliant, their bottom-line concern is that the programs they rely on will function properly. Many Federal programs rely on partners such as other Federal agencies, State, tribal, and local governments, contractors, banks, and others. We must take an even stronger leadership role and work with our partners to assure they have addressed any year 2000 problems that could effect Federal programs, jointly test that the Federal program will work, and together publicly demonstrate that it will.


In the attachment, we have identified a number of high impact Federal programs and we have assigned a lead agency for each program. For each program where your agency is the lead, please identify to OMB the partners integral to program delivery; take a leadership role in convening those partners; assure yourselves that each partner has an adequate Y2K plan, and if not, help each partner without one; and develop a plan to ensure that the program will operate effectively. Such a plan might include testing data exchanges across partners, developing complementary business continuity and contingency plans, sharing key information on readiness with other partners and the public, and taking other steps that you and your partner feel are necessary to ensure that your agency’s programs will work.


We realize that you have been budgeting for the effective operation of these high impact systems for some time, including Y2K compliance, and have been providing much necessary assistance to your partners to ensure that they are fixing their Y2K problems. Nothing in this memorandum or the process it sets in motion is intended to indicate to any agency or any partner in a high impact program, that there is new money available in lieu of the funds they already have to administer programs effectively – which, by definition, includes making their systems Y2K compliant.


For each program for which your agency is listed in the attachment as the lead agency, I ask that you provide OMB with a schedule and milestones for the key activities in the plan, a monthly report of progress against that schedule, and a planned date for an event or events to inform the public that the program is year 2000 ready. It would be most helpful if public events could be held prior to September 30, 1999.


Please provide a copy of the schedules for those programs for which you are the lead agency to OMB by April 15, 1999. Please also provide the first monthly status report detailing progress against that schedule by May 15, and by the 15th of each month thereafter until the work is complete. Schedules and reports can be sent to:


Office of Management and Budget
OIRA Docket Library
NEOB 10102
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Reports may also be faxed to 202-395-5806. Ms. Pamela Beverly is available to answer any questions regarding the process of submitting schedules or reports at 202-395-6880.


Please note that this effort is not intended to give Federal agencies any additional responsibilities, nor are Federal agencies expected to fund fixes of systems other than their own. Rather, this effort should be one of cooperation and partnership among interested parties, all of whom share a mutual interest in ensuring that important Federal programs will function smoothly through the year 2000.


Thank you for your continuing work on this essential effort. If we all continue to work together, we can, as the President said, make this problem the last headache of the 20th century, not the first crisis of the 21st.



cc: Agency Chief Information Officers



Federal Programs and Lead Agencies

Lead Agency


Agriculture (USDA)

Child Nutrition Programs


Food Safety Inspection


Food Stamps


Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Commerce (DOC)

Patent and Trademark processing


Weather Service

Defense (DOD)

Military Hospitals


Military Retirement


Student Aid

Energy (DOE)

Federal electric power generation and delivery

Health and Human Services (HHS)

Child Care


Child Support Enforcement


Child Welfare


Disease monitoring and the ability to issue warnings


Indian Health Services


Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program






Organ transplants


Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Housing loans (GNMA)


Section 8 Rental Assistance


Public Housing


FHA Mortgage Insurance


Community Development Block Grants

Interior (DOI)

Bureau of Indian Affairs programs

Justice (DOJ)

Federal Prisons



Labor (DOL)

Unemployment Insurance


Passport Applications and Processing

Transportation (DOT)

Air Traffic Control System


Maritime Search and Rescue


Cross-border Inspection Services

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veteran’s Benefits


Veteran’s Health Care

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Disaster relief

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Federal Employee Health Benefits


Federal Employee Life Insurance


Federal Employee Retirement Benefits

Railroad Retirement Board

Retired Rail Worker Benefits

Social Security Administration

Social Security Benefits

U.S. Postal Service

Mail Service