As one of the nation’s most prominent and enduring institutions, the Army necessarily confronts a wide variety of special issues and concerns in its daily routine. Army personnel must respond to those challenges not only in the best interests of the Army and its mission, but also in a manner befitting its social responsibilities as an exemplar of government policy and good corporate citizenship. In addition to standard policies and training, the Army supports a number of dedicated efforts to address these needs.
Corporate experience has demonstrated that cost-effective
environmental management programs can reduce the consumption of
resources and protect the environment without undue disruption to an
enterprise’s core functions. With that lesson in mind, the Department of
Defense (DOD) integrated environmental protection into its decision making
process. The DOD’s announced environmental objectives are to
protect people, manage properties judiciously, promote good citizenship,
and set an example for the world’s military forces. The Army pursues those
objectives in its daily operations, aided by dedicated programs.
In FY 1999, the Army received $1.56 billion to support environmental quality and restoration and related technology development efforts. Only a slight decline from the $1.59 billion dedicated to such tasks in FY 1998, that funding level permitted the Army to maintain its environmental efforts despite escalating costs. The U.S. Army Environmental Center (USAEC) continued its campaign to contain those costs while sustaining readiness and environmental stewardship. By finding new ways to maintain training areas, preventing pollution at Army installations, and developing cost-effective strategies for meeting environmental standards, the USAEC’s efforts directly contributed to the Army’s ability to achieve its mission goals.
As a field operating agency of the assistant chief of staff for installation management, the USAEC coordinates, promotes, and supports the Army’s environmental programs under the leadership of the director of
environmental programs. With direct control over only $67.6 million of
the Army’s $1.56 billion environmental budget and another $17.1 million
in reimbursable programs in FY 1999, USAEC activities produced long-term
savings of more than $180 million during the year. The remainder of
the Army’s environmental budget was divided among various commands,
which seek to meet individual goals with the USAEC’s oversight and
The USAEC improved its capacity to provide that oversight and support during the fiscal year. In FY 1999, the independent technical review (ITR) program expanded to include active installations. The ITR began in 1997 as part of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process, dispatching teams of specialists to evaluate independently Army environmental cleanup projects at inactivated facilities. The multidisciplinary teams sought to reduce the cost and time associated with environmental restoration while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and agreements.
The program’s expansion paid rapid dividends. ITR teams evaluated eleven active installations during the fiscal year. Their recommendations at just five of those installations identified more than $80 million in long-term savings. ITR experts also assessed efforts at eight posts undergoing the BRAC process during the year. In addition, the teams returned to several previously evaluated sites to assist with implementation of earlier recommendations.
At Fort Gillem, Georgia, an ITR team’s recommendations contributed to a $44 million decrease in the estimated cost of environmental cleanup efforts. Familiar with such results, the leaders of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant in Wisconsin summoned assistance from ITR experts when they received an estimate of $166 million for the planned excavation and treatment of explosives-contaminated soil at two sites on the facility. Their revised plan, limiting the depth of excavation based on the low long-term threat posed by the site, reduced that estimate by $140 million. The ITR teams’ effectiveness at those two active sites is indicative of the program’s potential.
The lessons learned by ITR assessments are posted on the USAEC Web site and published through various media to guide the Army’s future efforts. To guarantee that the Army reaps the full benefits of experience garnered through the ITR, the USAEC also began hosting workshops on principles of environmental restoration. These workshops help Army program managers, regulators, and other interested parties outline goals and strategies for installation cleanup projects.
Sound strategies make a significant difference in the cost effectiveness of restoration efforts. The USAEC’s Groundwater Extraction and Treatment Effectiveness Review program helps installations find alternatives to the expensive and lengthy process of pumping out and treating contaminated
groundwater. Some installations failed to consider other options when
they initially began addressing the problem of groundwater pollution.
The USAEC estimates that the Army could save $100 million during the
next decade by optimizing existing groundwater treatment efforts and
establishing more rational objectives.
Preventing further environmental damage is a sure way to reduce the cost of future clean-up requirements. The Army made a significant step in that direction during FY 1999 with the production and use of the first “green ammunition.” New 5.56-mm rounds that replaced the traditional lead bullet core with tungsten-nylon entered the Army inventory. That change in the Army’s standard rifle ammunition, part of a comprehensive effort to make all DOD ammunition more environmentally friendly, eliminates the expense of removing heavy and potentially hazardous lead from the soil of Army ranges. As an added benefit, the new rounds are slightly more accurate than their predecessors and produce less erosion in weapon barrels over time. The USAEC continued working with the Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center to develop lead-free versions of other rounds and reduce the usage of toxic substances employed in the manufacturing process.
Those efforts also support Range XXI, the partnership between the Army’s environmental, training, and materiel-development communities to promote the cost-effective management of firing ranges while conducting realistic training. Nontoxic ammunition is only one of Range XXI’s environmental concerns. The USAEC worked with the Aberdeen Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and the West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, to identify and quantify the chemical emissions of more than twenty weapons, pyrotechnics, and projectiles during FY 1999. The data collected will help the Army address regulatory concerns with scientific fact, limiting potential restrictions on training and protecting soldiers’ health.
USAEC scientists also cooperated with the Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Waterways Experiment Station to test a new technology for controlling erosion and reducing lead contamination on Army ranges. Shock-absorbing concrete, a recyclable, low-density, fiber-reinforced foamed concrete composite, is designed to trap bullets. The new material offers a cost-effective means of preventing bullets from accumulating in the soil of busy ranges while it controls erosion. The result is more flexibility in range use without the sacrifice of training realism or environmental quality.
On another front, the Army met the Environmental Protection Agency’s December 1998 deadline to upgrade existing underground storage tanks by installing devices to prevent leaks and spills. The USAEC played a large role in supporting the Army’s efforts to remove or upgrade more than
seven thousand storage tanks. The Environmental Compliance Assessment
System, managed by the USAEC, helps facility commanders monitor
compliance with such requirements and identify potential problems as they
emerge. Those efforts protect the environment, improve local quality of
life, and prevent the loss of Army appropriations through costly paperwork
The 1990 Clean Air Act threatened the Army with such expenses early in FY 1999. Before the act’s June 1999 implementation deadline, according to a USAEC survey, fifty-four Army installations had to prepare risk-management plans against the possible accidental release of hazardous materials. After fully exploring the legislation’s requirements, the USAEC was able to help thirty installations eliminate the need for risk-management plans by reducing their supplies of targeted chemicals. That saved the Army $1 million, and compliance with the resulting plans will reduce the threat of accidents at the remaining installations.
The USAEC also helps the Army shape and interpret local and federal environmental legislation. In Colorado, a new state law strictly limiting airborne emissions from federal facilities would have had serious consequences for Army activities in the state. The USAEC’s Western Regional Environmental Office teamed with other services to demonstrate to state legislators that the DOD’s emissions-control activities already met or exceeded federal requirements. The effectiveness of those activities convinced the bill’s sponsors to exempt military activities, saving the DOD $16 million in initial costs and $1.6 million in annual reporting and maintenance costs.
Many states required guidance on implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1997 Military Munitions Rule before deciding how to implement it or incorporate its provisions into state laws. The Army’s regional environmental coordinators held briefings and workshops for regulators and lawmakers across the country during FY 1999 in an effort to explain the rule and its importance in supporting military readiness. Consistent and rapid adoption of the rule, which classifies some expended or surplus munitions as a form of solid hazardous waste and governs the handling of such waste, will permit the Army to continue realistic training without significant disruption or additional regulatory costs. By the end of FY 1999, the rule was fully adopted by twenty-one states. Four other states adopted it with amendments.
The Army guarantees that its leadership is informed about developing federal, state, and local environmental legislation through the USAEC’s Environmental Legislative and Regulatory Analysis and Monitoring Program (EL/RAMP). During FY 1999. the EL/RAMP’s ability to track regulatory development was enhanced through significant refinement of its primary analysis and reporting tools, the Semiannual Report System
and the Final List of Regulatory Actions. The USAEC also worked with
the Army Secretariat and various Army Staff components to develop
standard EL/RAMP operating procedures, prescribing specific tasks each
client requires from the program, to streamline and improve its ability to
communicate issues up the chain of command.
The USAEC also helped produce a draft DOD Interim Land Use Controls Policy during the fiscal year. The policy distinguishes between remedies prescribed by the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (more commonly known as the environmental Superfund) and other restoration efforts. Land use controls, administrative measures limiting access to contaminated areas, provide a cost-effective tool in the BRAC process. Restoring a former military site to the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent residential standards makes little economic sense if the BRAC process designates it for industrial development, a use with less stringent environmental controls and one that is likely to reverse the results of restoration to residential standards. By ensuring that the exposure assumptions governing site assessment are consistent with a site’s future use, the policy avoids unnecessarily expensive restoration efforts while it protects the environment and public health.
The Army gains access to the innovation and efficiency of small
companies through the Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
(SADBU) program, bringing the ideals of equal opportunity advocated
in other activities into the realms of contracting and procurement. The
SADBU made substantial progress during the fiscal year, once again
expanding the roll of small and disadvantaged businesses in Army
procurement and the Army’s association with historically black colleges
and minority institutions.
The first preferential Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB-Zone) contracts were created in FY 1999. The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 established the HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program under the auspices of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program supports economic development in HUBZones through systematic preferences in federal contracts, including the Army’s SADBU efforts. On 4 January 1999, the provisions of the 1997 act were implemented through the interim Federal Acquisition Regulation, FAC 97-10, FAR Case 97-307.
Under that regulation, small businesses in regions of high poverty or unemployment gain preferential federal contracts if their bid is no more than 10 percent higher than the lowest valid bid received. Firms must be pre-certified to take advantage of the program, demonstrating that
their workforce and principal office reside within a HUBZone. Under
definitions current in FY 1999, these zones are located in approximately
seven thousand urban census tracts, nine hundred rural counties, and
defined Native American tribal areas. The program promotes economic
development and employment growth in these financially troubled areas.
During FY 1999, the Army awarded 27.4 percent of its total procurement funds to small businesses. That percentage surpassed DOD expectations for prime contracts awarded to small businesses, equating to more than $7.9 billion. Small disadvantaged businesses received $2.8 billion from the Army, approximately 35 percent of that amount.
Army participation in the DOD’s Pilot Mentor–Protégé Program (MPP) helped generate that success. Through the MPP, prime contractors serve as mentors to small and disadvantaged businesses, guiding their entry into the DOD marketplace. The MPP provides mentor firms with credit toward small and disadvantaged business subcontracting goals or cost reimbursement in exchange for their participation. By the end of FY 1999, the Army has approved forty-eight mentor-protégé agreements across a broad range of industries, including environmental restoration, manufacturing, telecommunications, and health care.
In FY 1999, the Army took the MPP a step beyond the DOD program through its Graduate Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program. Under this arrangement, firms graduating from the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, including the MPP, and other successful small and disadvantaged firms serve as mentors to emerging 8(a) Army contractors. The Army received a waiver to allow up to ten 8(a) contractors to serve as mentors in the program without the subcontracting plan normally required by the DOD. Nine mentor-protégé agreements under the new program helped the Army rank first among the services in total percentage of funds awarded through the small business program.
Army contracts also embraced historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions (HBCU/MIs) under objectives the Army established in cooperation with the DOD during FY 1994. Those objectives are an increase in the number of research centers on HBCU/ MI campuses; expanded HBCU/MI participation in Army research programs, particularly among smaller institutions; greater opportunities for the HBCU/MIs to participate in training, education, and research activities; and increased subcontracting at the HBCU/MIs by the Army’s prime contractors.
During FY 1999, the Army awarded forty-three research contracts of varying types, totaling $4.7 million, to twenty-three HBCUs. That funding level represents a $1.4 million growth over the previous year. Research grants to the HBCUs increased by $700,000, reaching $6 million.
The eighteen grants divided that sum among twelve recipient schools.
Researchers at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, received the
most support—$1.1 million. Howard University in Washington, D.C.,
received $477,000 in research grants; Alabama A&M in Huntsville won
$264,000; and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, received
the fourth-largest grant, $260,000.
The Army began recording figures for contracts with Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in FY 1998. During FY 1999, two additional HSIs began participating in Army contracting and grant programs, thus expanding the total to fourteen schools. The research contracts and grants they received totaled $10 million. The Army Materiel Command provided an additional $3.3 million to New Mexico State University under a contract awarded in FY 1998.
Three Native American tribal colleges also participated in the Army HBCU/MI program during FY 1999. Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana, continued to perform archeological research and records management services at Montana’s Libby Dam for $35,758 under the second of four option years of a Corps of Engineers contract. Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas, received a research contract worth $68,990. Stone Child College in Box Elder, Montana, received a research grant for $37,590. This marks a 75 percent increase in tribal college funding over FY 1998’s only award ($34,995 for Salish Kootenai’s activities at Libby Dam).
The Office of the Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) provides the
Army with legal services and oversees its system of military justice. From
three hundred offices in the United States and sixteen foreign countries,
1,450 active-component and 2,700 reserve-component OTJAG attorneys
directed those complex and important efforts during the fiscal year.
Over the previous five fiscal years, the OTJAG has suffered a 41 percent
decrease in officer accessions, despite a 25 percent increase in the number
of commissions offered. OTJAG attorneys at the grade of captain have
also left the Army in great numbers in recent years, thereby increasing the
need for replacements in a difficult recruiting climate. Approximately 73
percent of the officers leaving active duty with the OTJAG in FYs 1998
and 1999 cited financial pressure caused by student loans as the primary
reason for their decisions. With an average of 3.8 years in service, departing
judge advocate officers received salary offers from $69,100 to $112,000
per year, with an average of $77,600.
The OTJAG processed 1,045 courts-martial, including 342 special courts-martial authorized to dispense bad conduct discharges, during FY
1999. Both figures represent an increase over the previous fiscal year’s 972 total and 273 bad conduct special courts-martial. FY 1998 appears to have had unusually low courts-martial rates and correspondingly higher rates of nonjudicial punishment, however. With that exception, comparing the rate of general courts-martial and nonjudicial punishment per thousand active-component soldiers for FY 1999 with the same figures for the preceding six years reveals fairly consistent disciplinary rates. Those figures appear in Table 19.
Form of Discipline
Two of the courts-martial convened in FY 1999 were particularly
noteworthy. In December 1998, a joint commander ordered an Army
court-martial in Germany to hear charges against a soldier, only the second
time in the Army’s history that the convening authority for a court-martial
was an officer in another service. In the second notable case, retired
Maj. Gen. David R. E. Hale became the first general officer in all of the
armed services to be court-martialed since 1952 and only the second
since World War II. Charges were filed against the general on 9 December
1998 after a year-long investigation. On 17 March 1999, Maj. Gen. Hale
appeared before a military judge and pleaded guilty to one specification
of making a false official statement and seven specifications of conduct
unbecoming an officer. The offenses involved inappropriate relationships
with the spouses of four of his subordinates. By pretrial agreement, the
sentence was limited to forfeiture of $1,000 pay per month for a full year,
a reprimand, and a $10,000 fine. Courts-martial cannot reduce an officer’s
grade, but federal law states that officers are retired at the highest grade
in which they served satisfactorily. Subsequent investigation by a grade
determination review board found that Hale had last served satisfactorily
as a brigadier general. On 2 September 1999, Secretary of the Army Louis
Caldera ordered his reduction to that rank, retroactive to the general’s 1
March 1998 retirement.
In FY 1999, another general officer, Maj. Gen. John J. Maher III, became the first Army general subjected to nonjudicial punishment since 1981. The general was found guilty of two specifications of conduct
unbecoming an officer and one specification of attempted fraternization
with an enlisted soldier during a nonjudicial punishment hearing in
September 1999. He received a reprimand and forfeited $4,316 in pay per
month for two months. Maher submitted a retirement request in September,
but in response to the Hale case the secretary of defense had instituted
a new retirement policy in October 1998. Under that policy, the Army
no longer honors retirement requests from officers under investigation
without careful review. Secretary Caldera directed a grade determination
review board to convene on 1 October 1999 to recommend the appropriate
grade for Maher’s retirement.
The OTJAG pursued 250 more informal equal employment opportunity complaints in FY 1999 than it did in the previous year, but the number of formal complaints declined by one hundred. Army civilians continued to file complaints for alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. The number of such complaints addressed by alternative dispute resolution procedures more than quadrupled over FY98 levels as the OTJAG worked with specialists at Headquarters, Department of the Army, and at the DOD to develop an Army-wide program for mediation and dispute resolution. The effectiveness of those efforts accounts, in part, for the reduction in formal complaints.
During FY 1999, the OTJAG’s Procurement Fraud Division opened 206 new cases involving fraud or irregularity in Army procurement. The new cases, a 25 percent reduction from the number of new cases in FY 1998, left a total of 560 active cases at the end of the year. The Procurement Fraud Division pursues a broad range of activities, from prosecuting corrupt federal employees and contractors to investigating the failure of critical parts procured under major contracts. The steady decline in the number of new procurement fraud cases filed continued in FY 1999.
Legal assistance services are tracked by calendar rather than fiscal year. During the 1998 calendar year, which ended during FY 1999, family law advice displaced estate advice as the primary service sought by Army personnel. During 1998, the OTJAG recorded a 27 percent increase in marital separation agreements prepared. Other comparisons with 1997 figures showed similar results: a 20 percent growth in notary services, 17 percent growth in the number of powers of attorney, and 6 percent growth in wills. At the same time, the 5,456 referrals the OTJAG provided to civilian attorneys more than doubled 1997’s total of 2,150.
Beyond adjudicating cases and providing legal assistance, OTJAG personnel assist in implementing and revising military law and procedures. During FY 1999, the Joint Service Committee on Military Justice (JSC) completed its fifteenth annual review of the Manual for Courts-Martial, with input by lawyers from each service. The JSC review proposed changes in
the manual to correspond with the civilian provisions of the Victim’s Rights
and Restitution Act of 1990. Under the proposed revision, victims who
may testify during sentencing for a court-martial may not be excluded from
the court room during other phases of criminal proceedings. The JSC also
suggested changes in a military judge’s authority to issue protective orders,
and provided guidance on when adulterous conduct becomes prejudicial to
good order and discipline. Other proposed changes increased the monetary
thresholds for the maximum punishments for some offenses and expanded
the maximum penalty for selling captured or abandoned property when
firearms or explosive devices are used in relation to the offense.
The OTJAG continued to implement congressional mandates and DOD policy regarding victim and witness assistance. Following the success of the first on-site victim and witness assistance training program (held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on 25 September 1998), the OTJAG offered training programs at fourteen large Army posts in the continental United States and at locations in Hawaii, Germany, and Korea during FY 1999. The curriculum at these seminars, which hosted up to 270 participants, included victim and witness notification requirements, post-trial procedures involving prisoners, and treatment and compensation programs.
Army attorneys faced many challenges as U.S. forces continued to withdraw from Panama. A large number of legal issues emerged as the November 1999 deadline for the transfer of military facilities approached. These issues included Panama’s initial refusal to accept ranges after the removal of unexploded ordnance; continued U.S. control of the Veteran’s Cemetery in Panama; transfer of property to the Panama Canal Commission; and issues related to criminal jurisdiction, family support, and child custody.
The relocation of forces from Panama to Puerto Rico focused attention on a long-standing dispute over application of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940. Authorities in Puerto Rico ultimately agreed to exempt military personnel from property taxes. Army attorneys also continued to ensure that the relocation and related construction programs complied with all applicable laws, including those related to historic and environmental preservation.
The inspector general (IG) and the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency conduct investigations into the discipline, efficiency, economy, morale, training, and readiness of the Army. During FY 1999, the IG received 1,993 Inspector General Action Requests (IGARs), a slight increase over FY 1998’s 1,854. Requests for assistance from both military and civilian personnel in the Department of the Army made up two-thirds
of the case load, with 1,317 individual inspections. The remaining 676
IGARs resulted from direct allegations from various sources. The IG
substantiated 215 (32 percent) of those allegations, could not substantiate
421 (62 percent), and in 40 cases (6 percent) could neither substantiate nor
refute the alleged problem.
Inquiries and investigations by the IG originate from a number of sources. The DOD Hotline for fraud, waste, abuse of authority, and mismanagement produced 487 IGARs in FY 1999. Allegations of reprisals against internal complainants in violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, revised in 1998, continued to fall. The IG received only thirty-seven IGARs alleging whistleblower retaliation in FY 1999, a decrease from the previous fiscal year’s forty-four The. IG undertook fifteen actions at presidential request, one less than FY 1998’s sixteen presidential IGARs. Congress increased its use of the IG by seven IGARs, producing ninety-six during the fiscal year. The senior leadership of the Army and the DOD, however, expanded their demands on the IG at a faster rate. In FY 1999, those sources produced sixty-one IGARs, twelve more than in the previous year.
Most IGARs originating in FY 1999 fell into one of six functional categories. Personal conduct issues, including sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and nonsupport of family, accounted for 561 (28 percent of the total) of the year’s IGARs. Another 362 (18 percent) addressed the command and management of Army organizations. These actions involved command attention to soldiers and family members, property handling, and the exercise of command influence, among other concerns. Military personnel management issues, including recruiting, reassignments, evaluations, promotions, separations, awards, and decorations, drove 301 (15 percent) of the IGARs in FY 1999. Civilian personnel management issues added 186 (9 percent) additional IGARs. Health care concerns, including medical evaluation boards, medical staff attitude complaints, medical records, and the DOD Tricare system, produced 95 IGARs (5 percent). The final major category, acquisition, raised questions about policies and procedures, contract administration and surveillance, and competition. Those 84 IGARs accounted for 4 percent of the total number of requests The. IG actions addressing concerns beyond those six major categories accounted for the remaining 404 FY99 IGARs.
The IG’s Investigations Division also received allegations against 698 general officers, Senior Executive Service and other civilian employees, and officials in high-visibility positions during the fiscal year. Abuse of authority was the most common complaint. The division completed fifty-five formal investigations and 133 preliminary inquiries against the accused. Those proceedings substantiated only 14 percent of the 188 allegations.
To ensure the Inspector General Agency’s continued ability to exercise
its various functions, the Training Division conducted nine inspector
general courses. The three-week courses qualified 502 students in IG
functions: 240 Army officers, 200 Army noncommissioned officers,
44 Army civilians, and 18 students from other services. Two one-week
refresher courses prepared thirty-one more personnel for their roles with
the IG, thus promoting the efficiency and effectiveness of the Army.
The approach of 1 January 2000 posed a potential threat to the world’s
information systems, including those belonging to the United States Army.
Variously referred to as the Millennium Bug, the Year 2000 Challenge, or
simply the Y2K problem, the threat originated in the method that many
computer operating systems and programs use to handle dates. From the
origins of the computer age through the mid-1990s, software developers
commonly abbreviated years as their final two digits to reduce memory
requirements and increase computing efficiency. Given the rapid advances
in information technology, programmers had little reason to question the
convention, assuming that new equipment and software would replace
their creations long before the last year of the twentieth century could
compromise them. But the convention persisted in some software and
operating systems, along with older computer systems and databases that
proved too expensive to replace or too labor intensive to re-create.
Information systems designed for use with two-digit dates are unable to distinguish between the years 1900 and 2000, rendering both as “00.” Although at its core this was a simple problem, the magnitude of its potential consequences and the efforts required to avert them were staggering. Without intervention, each system using the shortened date system would respond to the year 2000 based upon its unique provisions, perhaps in unpredictable ways. In the civilian sphere, uncorrected accounting and banking systems faced potentially widespread errors or outright failures. Power grids, emergency dispatch centers, transportation schedules, and traffic control systems faced possibly crippling disruptions. Problems were already occurring as systems began to encounter dates including the year 2000. Some automated inventory-control systems, for example, were trying to ship perishable items with expiration dates in 2000 ahead of items with earlier dates because “00” comes before “99.”
Army information systems confronted identical problems plus two additional burdens. As the calendar turned to 1 January 2000, the Army had to maintain its foreign mission readiness and be able to support domestic civil authorities facing emergencies arising from Y2K-related systems failures. Meeting the challenge required efforts from every information system user, coordinated and supported at every level of the
chain of command. The DOD was treating the Y2K threat as a cyber attack
directed at the core of American military capabilities: the ability to obtain,
process, and control the information that enables U.S. forces to dominate
The scope and complexity of the DOD’s required defense against Y2K eclipsed those facing any other federal institution. More than a third of the federal government’s mission-critical information systems were located in the DOD. On 14 September 1998, a DOD memorandum barred further growth of the problem by ordering contracting officers to cease obligating funds or initiating procurement procedures for any non–Y2K-compliant system after the end of FY 1998. The same memorandum required all services and agencies to report to the secretary of defense before 1 October 1999 the Y2K compliance of systems scheduled for acquisition during the new fiscal year. The FY99 Omnibus and Supplemental Spending Bill signed by President Clinton on 21 October 1998 included $1.1 billion to fund the DOD’s continued Y2K preparation efforts.
Many of the federal government’s critical systems were included in the twenty-five thousand information systems the Army needed to prepare for the end of the calendar year. Microprocessors in six hundred thousand additional devices, ranging from communications and medical equipment to precision-guided munitions, had to be prepared and tested to guarantee their continued mission readiness. The Army effort to prevent Y2K problems consumed $600 million—over half of all DOD Y2K preparation funds—during FY 1999.
Army Operations Order 99-1, Millennium Passage, issued in January 1999, emphasized the effort’s importance. The order outlined the remaining preventive actions and contingency preparations the Army needed to complete before 31 December 1999. The remedial process had begun much earlier, with a 1996 Army Acquisition Executive policy memo and the release of the Army Y2K Management Plan in October of that year. Activities under Army Operations Order 99-1 marked the culmination of three years of effort.
By early 1999, many Army computer systems had already been prepared, checked, and certified ready for the year 2000. Installation and garrison commanders had designated personnel and resources to execute Y2K preparation programs. Those local personnel coordinated their activities through the Army Y2K Project Office, physically located in the Army Information Integration and Analysis Center at the Pentagon but directly accessible through a dedicated Web page. Major commands and field activities promoted specific efforts and programs through their chains of command, within the framework of the larger Y2K program. Under the director of information systems for command, control, communications, and computers (DISC4), the Y2K Project Office implemented the DOD
approach of centralized policy and decentralized execution.
The Army Y2K Management Plan originally specified 31 December 1998 as the final date for completion of all required preparations, but the task proved too complex to meet that goal. Changing one system can have consequences elsewhere in an information network, requiring certification of each minor change by large-scale testing. On 9 December 1998, the DISC4 led the fourth operational evaluation of Army Y2K preparation efforts—the first of several evaluations conducted during FY 1999 as the pace of final preparations accelerated. The evaluations extended beyond purely Army or DOD systems to address cooperation with, and the concerns of, local communities. Some Army posts share utilities with neighboring communities, and a large population of uniformed, civilian, and retired personnel live near Army facilities. For those reasons the Y2K preparedness of surrounding communities had to be considered in Army planning. Continued investigative efforts identified areas requiring further improvement as the year progressed.
For example, a series of tests conducted between 7 June and 23 July 1999 assessed the Army personnel system’s preparedness for Y2K. Within that period, six testing windows enabled the Army’s information technology specialists and personnel systems end users to reset calendars throughout entire information networks. By entering two critical dates, 1 January 2000 and the leap day of 29 February 2000, in a total of more than thirty-two thousand date fields, examiners verified the networks’ capability to execute 106 critical transactions. Those transactions allowed end-to-end testing of fifteen different information threads, such as the processing of a new recruit from accession, through the creation of a base record and initial pay receipt, to training and first assignment. Such threads in turn supported six mission-critical Army personnel functions. The Army Audit Agency provided independent validation of these tests and of other tests organized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Continued analysis of the Y2K challenge and the Army’s readiness to meet various contingencies also required clarifying the level of support that civilian authorities facing Y2K-related crises could expect. Under the DOD Year 2000 Consequence Management Plan, the Army’s director of military support (DOMS) was charged with providing domestic contingency support. But in February 1999, Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre emphasized that the military’s defensive mission took precedence over civilian support and was not to be compromised by such activities. The DOMS clarified that position even further in August, warning civil authorities that requests for assistance for Y2K-related problems might well be refused.
As the Army completed its preparations, it shared information with the other services, joint commanders, and defense agencies. The DOD
assembled information from all of those sources in its Y2K database,
the official source for status reports to senior officials and the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB coordinated Y2K preparation
efforts throughout the government. A partial exemption from the standard
DOD Y2K reporting process was granted to the intelligence community,
which maintained a separate database and independently reported its Y2K
progress to Congress and the OMB. Declassified summaries of those
intelligence reports were incorporated in the primary DOD database to
provide a central picture of all DOD preparations without compromising
Plans called for the activation of an Army Y2K Transition Operations Cell in the Pentagon between 28 December 1999 and 4 January 2000, and again around the Leap Year rollover period of 26 February to 2 March 2000. Similar cells in the major commands reported their status and any incidents to the Pentagon cell, allowing the Army to address issues as they arose.
The Army Transition Operations Cell in turn reported to the DOD Y2K Operations Center, thus ensuring coordination at all command levels as transition issues arose. This elaborate planning and preparation effort, and the centralized assessment and control of information systems it encouraged, offered the Army additional benefits. In compliance with a March 1997 directive from the chief of staff, General Dennis J. Reimer, the Army used Y2K preparation processes to reduce the number of information systems in its inventory. Eliminating unnecessary systems, consolidating functions, and rationalizing the Army’s computing capabilities improved operational and fiscal performance. The mechanism developed to coordinate the response to Y2K as a cyber attack also improved the Army’s ability to deal with more malevolent threats to information security.
By the end of FY 1999, the Army had nearly completed its preparations for the transition to 2000. The potential problems associated with Y2K provided the Army with an increased sense of its dependence on information systems and their vulnerability to various hazards. In formulating a coherent response strategy and implementation mechanism, the Army also prepared itself to meet future challenges to its increasingly vital information infrastructure.