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Operational Archives Branch
Naval Historical Center
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Records of the Navy Year 2000 (Y2K) Project, 1996-2000

Project Biography

As the new millennium drew closer and the Department of Defense grew increasingly dependent on the use of technology, a new awareness of the “Year 2000 (Y2K) Challenge” developed. The Department of the Navy was delegated one of the active roles in helping the Department of Defense in preparing for this challenge. Specifically, the “Y2KChallenge” was a computer software and hardware problem that developed in the early 1970s as programmers adopted a two-digit year convention that would conserve expensive memory space. Additionally, the year 2000 was a leap year, not typically common at the start of a new millennium, so concern over computer systems properly reading dates arose.

Having entered the age of Information Technologies, the Navy prided itself on having implemented upgrading technologies since the 1950s. The Y2K Challenge posed a problem for any system that had since been dependent on time and date information. Malfunctions related to miss read dates had implied serious repercussions. When the New Year would arrive, instead of reading 2000, computer systems might revert back to 1900 or other variations of those numbers. It was this threat to their existing IT that forced the Navy to reconsider their current IT infrastructure. Their planning began as early as 1995, having prepared documents to direct and manage the Y2K effort. In March of 1998 the Navy Chief Information Officer developed a Project Office to help combat these Y2K challenges. Work had been done prior to the establishment of the Project Office, however after its development, the Navy was able to extend strategies and plans under the Project Office that aided in the Y2K Challenge.

The Y2K “bug” was originally viewed as a minor issue for the Navy. By the mid 1990s however, it became evident that there was a significant dependence on Information Technologies where threats were posed to satellites, aircrafts, ships and weapon systems, and essentially most other tools embedded with computer chips. All systems dependent on electronically timed devices were considered to have a potential “Y2K Problem” and needed attention.

The Department of Defense began to address this problem in 1995 and established a management plan in April 1997 for a DoD-wide effort to minimize risk to systems. A plan was assembled that described the overall DoD strategy and provided the Navy the initial guidance for inventory, prioritizing, retiring systems, and monitoring Y2K progress. Specifically, the DoD was responsible for overseeing the military’s solution to the Y2K problem, and the Navy was responsible for all awareness, assessments, renovations, validations, and implementation actions. Those responsibilities became the five-phase DoD management process that the Navy helped develop. They are outlined in the Year 2000 Management Plan. More programs continued to emerge as the Navy looked for ways to keep this transition efficient and effective.

The DoD established the Year 2000 Management Plan in April 1997. This plan was to help direct the effort of minimizing risks to systems potentially affected by Y2K. The five-phase program for this plan became the responsibility of the Navy. “Awareness” focused on promoting Y2K awareness throughout the Department of Defense. “Assessment” consisted of system inventory and problem assessment. “Renovation” constituted systems replacement, retirement, or the conduct of repairs to ensure Y2K compliance. “Validation” required that systems be tested for Y2K compliance and interoperability. This five-step plan was applied to the Defense Information Infrastructure. The awareness phase commenced on December 27, 1995 and all systems Y2K sensitive and non-compliant were to be identified by March 31, 1999.

Following this plan came the Department of Navy Action Plan emerging in August 1997. The Action Plan outlined strategies and management approaches to help the effort against any Y2K problems for the Navy and Marine Corps. Ultimately, this plan was to help ensure that no DoN mission-critical systems failed. In March of 1998 the Chief of Naval Operations established the Navy Y2K Project Office with a Project Director. The Director was responsible for executing with the DoD Y2K Management Plan and the DoN Y2K Action Plan.

“The Navy Year 2000 Testing Plan” was the testing effort to assure mission functionality of all operating units, shore installations, and other Naval activities across the January 1, 2000 and the February 28 to March 1, 2000 rollovers. The Navy and Marine Corps worked closely to synchronize all Y2K test efforts to efficiently utilize limited resources. There were three levels of testing, each with their own phases, as well as separate testing performed with other Services to assure interoperability of required functionality across all Services. This allowed the Navy to verify the ability to support the Combatant Commander in a joint and combined environment.

The following plan was established for systems and devices that would not be identified or repaired of their Y2K compliance problem. Given the complexity of these issues, it was likely that not all problems would be discovered by the year 2000, so “Navy Y2K Contingency and Continuity of Operations Plan” was developed. It allowed the Navy to conduct contingency and continuity of operations planning to ensure no loss of naval mission capability, despite the possibility of unforeseen system failures. There are four key elements outlining the operations of this plan.

The “Contingency Planning and Consequence Management Plan” described the steps that would be taken to ensure the Navy’s readiness to carry out its mission to defend the United States, before, on and after January 1, 2000. This plan was developed in the event that a Y2K related failure occurred and ensured minimal impact on Fleet operations despite the location of failure.

Finally, the Navy created a report of Lessons Learned entitled “Sailing into the Information Age.” The transition into the New Year and the leap year proved to be uneventful from a Y2K perspective. A few isolated situations occured, however nothing deemed critical. This was a testament to the success of the preparations. Additionally, the Y2K crisis brought some necessary renovations to the Navy’s attention. Through their Y2K preparation the Navy was allowed to renovate and update their IT infrastructure.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the strategies, preparations, and the renovations the Department of the Navy implemented for the Year 2000 (Y2K). With the approach of a new millennium and the speed of growing technology, the Navy used this opportunity to develop an “IT” infrastructure. The collection’s materials date back as early as 1996 and end in the spring of 2000. They are primarily PowerPoint presentations, subject reports, Y2K research, and some correspondence. Several documents throughout the collection contain handwritten or revisions from project team members.

The collection has been divided into three series and further organized into sub-series. The two main series are Pre Year 2000 (Y2K) and Post Y2K. Series I (Pre-Y2K) is divided into four sub-series and Series II (Post Y2K) has eight sub-series. Within some sub-series, there are sub-categories, further breaking down the material within each category. The third series is titled “Media” and consists of the various media that came in accessory to the collection, this includes two compact discs and three VHS tapes.

Series I- Pre Y2K: 1996- 1999

Sub-series A: Pre-Y2K Project Office

Includes two items: Folder 1 contains a PowerPoint presentation entitled “NAVSEA CIO: Introduction and Concepts”. It outlines some of the key concepts that will be used in the project office development and through out the Y2K renovations. The second folder contains the contents of a binder labeled “Before Project Office” and is a record of the information that leads up the establishment of the Y2K Project Office. It holds correspondence, memorandums, notes, etc. that were used in organizing the project office.

Sub-series B: Post Y2K Project Office

Holds nine sub-categories that were all major components of the Y2K Project Office

Sub-category 1: contains all the information related to the “Year 2000 Challenge”. It primarily consists of briefs and PowerPoint presentations (most likely used for briefing meetings).

Sub-category 2: contains various forms of “Status Reports” regarding renovations, implementation, etc. The reports vary in format but typically come in the form of charts or graphs, seldom in narrative format. They update and project deadlines for projects in progress or nearing completion.

Sub-category 3: Sub-category c consists of all documents related to “Mission Critical Systems” that were not already placed with other groups of the project (i.e. the steering committee meeting documents, or part of a PowerPoint presentation). Mission Critical Systems were systems needing Y2K attention and the documents are generally status reports and PowerPoint presentations on those specific systems.

Sub-category 4: “The Y2K Steering Committee Meeting” is all the information and materials available from the meeting held on February 12, 1999. It includes agendas, seating charts, several PowerPoint presentations and some Mission Critical information that was found with the committee meeting notes. Using the agenda found in (folder number 27) the order of the presentations can easily be followed.

Sub-category 5: “Plans, Procedures, and Test Manuals” holds all documents relating to specific test plans, procedures, and manuals, that guided the renovations and implementations each target system.

Sub-category 6: “Correspondence” While there were consistencies in the people working on the Y2K project, the team was significant in number and the material received was not from any one specific member. Correspondence was exchanged through out the project through email, traditional letters, and even through memorandum. There are two traditional letters in this category, one with attachments regarding its content.

Sub-category 7: “Electronic Mail” is made up of the emails, both incoming and outgoing messages to members of the project office and date from October 1998 to December 1999. Some emails include attachments or supplemental information regarding their content. Email was the primary form of correspondence used throughout the project, as so has been separated from all other types of correspondence.

Sub-category 8: “Memorandum” that range from September 1998 to November 1999. One includes an attachment that holds the Project Office Charter. It can also be found in the content of one of the summary binders that has now been relocated into folder number 52.

Sub-category 9: “Message Traffic” consists of any message traffic found in the collection.

Sub-series C: Y2K in the Media

Sub-category 1: “Y2K Articles in the Media” is a collection of all Y2K related articles there were originally held together in a binder and dived by a tab that read “complete articles”. It is just a continuation, however of Y2K articles. Some were forwarded via email and some contain notes or highlights of specific topics. Eleven folders hold the content of that binder.

Sub-category 2: “Government Published and/or Funded Publications” includes a “Y2K Readiness” brochure, articles from issues of All Hands, and an article from the “Armed Forces Journal” that includes an article critique attached.

Sub-category 3: “Y2K Articles w/ Summaries” are articles that were not held in the Y2K Articles binder, some with attachments of summary points.

Sub-category 4: “Y2K Related Media Articles” are articles also not held in the binder and not specifically attached to any particular section.

Sub-category 5: U.S. Navy Press Release holds a U.S. Navy Press Release pertaining to the New Year.

Sub-category 6: Radio- TV Defense Dialog holds two transcript-like dialogues; both were from December of 1999.

Sub-category 7: “Transcripts” is a copy of transcripts from a public statement regarding Y2K, includes various handwritten notes.

Sub-series D: Subject Files

The final sub-series in series I holds all files labeled “Subject” because they did not correspond with any existing categories. It includes unattached slides, meeting notes, PowerPoint presentations, and other documents of that nature, similar to the ones found in the rest of the collection. They however did not follow any major themes and so have been placed in subject file. This sub-series also includes the contents of a binder entitled “Media” which could not be placed within another category. It contains a variety of documents, including emails, articles, notes, and reports that have been kept together and been relocated into file-folder 98 under subject files.

Series II- Post Y2K: 2000

Sub-series A: Project and Status Reports

It includes a general Y2K status report as well as one from the General Accounting Office.

Sub-series B: Y2K Steering Committee

Information provided from the Y2K Steering Committee Meeting held on February 9, 2000. That folder contains a meeting agenda, a Year 2000 Lessons Learned Briefing, and an overview briefing. The briefings follow PowerPoint format. All of these documents were originally kept together in an accordion folder and have since been relocated to a file folder.

Sub-series C: Lessons Learned

Is specifically on Lessons Learned material not attached to other specific sections or groups. It included PowerPoint presentations on the subject and a full report that was held together in a binder that clearly outlined the Y2K Project with information on “Lessons Learned” (the contents of the binder have been moved into a folder). This sub-series also includes a memorandum with a subject heading regarding Y2K and several related attachments

Sub-series D: Correspondence

Contains a traditional letter sent post Y2K, while there were other forms of correspondence, Emails have been kept separate due to a difference in media.

Sub-series E: Electronic Mail

As the primary means of correspondence, emails have been kept separate from all other correspondence because of their high volume. They each have subject headings with Y2K related content and were primarily exchanged within project team members. Some emails include attachments regarding they content or subject heading.

Sub-series F: Message Traffic

Some include attachments and are all Y2K related.

Sub-series G: Navy Wire Service

Navy News Wire articles sent via email.

Sub-series H: Y2K in the Media

Sub-category 1: Radio-TV Defense Dialogue

Composed of Radio-TV Defense Dialog documents

Sub-category 2: Y2K Related Articles (from the Private Sector)

All media articles relating to Y2K from the private sector, includes newspaper articles, magazine articles, etc., some are take directly from the publications, but most were printed from the Internet.

Sub-category 3: Y2K Related Material in Government Publications

Holds all Y2K related media that were either government publications, or government-funded publications.

The organization and content of this collection can be better understood and followed through the official reports on the project included in the collection. Specifically, the “Lessons Learned” report in series II and the “Transition Guide” in series I each have introductions and background on the organization set-up of the Project Office, as well as missions and goals. In reading the “Lessons Learned” report of series II, more detailed information on results are included.

Series III- Media:

This series holds the alternate forms of media that were included with the collection. They are two compact discs and three VHS tapes. The CDs contain information for the CNO-N6 Y2K Project Office and are their “e-Archives”. Disk two is a continuation of disk one. The VHS tapes are referred to throughout project reports and were part of the media campaign for the Y2K project. These tapes include the DON Y2K Virtual Town Hall…Into the Year 2000 and Beyond; DoD Y2K Readiness Satellite Media Tour: History Record Maste; and a video with information on “USS Topeka, Guam, USS Bremerton, USS Kennedy, and US Naval Observatory Glitch.”

Restrictions Note

Due to the size of these maps, photocopying and the use of flatbed scanners will not be permitted. Use of digital cameras, overhead scanners, or other large-format duplication systems will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Maps may not be folded at any time during reference or duplication.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Records of the Navy Year 2000 (Y2K) Project, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.


3.0 cubic feet

06 November 2006