By Susan L. Thompson, CECOM HistorianDecember 13, 2019
Do you remember where you were twenty years ago? If you were like many on New Year's Eve 1999, you were anxiously waiting to see what would happen when the year kicked-over.
The year was about to be Year 2000, or then known as "Y2K." Expansive efforts were underway, ensuring computer and technology systems were capable of handling the switch of calendars from 1999 to 2000. There were significant projects for the U. S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM). Compliance represented the single largest Information technology (IT) project ever undertaken for the U.S. Army Materiel Command in general and for CECOM in particular. An estimated $45 million was spent on project management costs during the four years of the project's lifecycle.
CECOM's role in the project was threefold. CECOM was not only responsible for ensuring that CECOM-managed tactical systems complied, but CECOM also supported AMC Headquarters in their overall implementation efforts and ensured the IT infrastructure at every AMC installation was Y2K compliant. Items such as telephone switches, traffic lights, and even refrigeration units had to be identified, inventoried, and corrected before December 31, 1999. Following the completion of a comprehensive IT inventory, organizations had to decide whether or not to re-engineer, retire, or replace every item that was non-compliant. Only after all that had been accomplished, could programmers and software engineers begin work on addressing the specific compliance issues in each piece of software.
Over 1.3 million items were inventoried and assessed during CECOM's Y2K project. Over 986,000 were corrected for potential problems.
Compliance efforts dramatically intensified as the Millennium quickly approached. Despite the numerous technical and managerial challenges associated with the project, no significant problems were associated with Y2K. CECOM clocks and systems switched over without incident.