A Working White Paper:
Part 3: Call for the Establishment of a Special Action Office for Y2K
By Paula D. Gordon, Ph.D.
February 25, 1999

Introduction to Part 3:  This portion of the White Paper describes a list of priority areas of concern and a wide range of recommended actions that should be taken by the Federal government. These recommendations include the immediate establishment of a Special Action Office for Y2K  in the Executive Office of the President.   This Office would surpass in size the Federal Energy Office, an Office that had been established in the early 1970s to serve as a focal point for government-wide, intergovernmental, and public/private sector efforts to address the energy crisis.   The proposed Special Action Office for Y2K would be similarly proactive and crisis-oriented.  It would have a multi-billion budget to carry out its mission. The mission of the Office would be to minimize to the extent possible the harmful impacts that can be expected as a
result of the Year 2000 technology failures and to facilitate the crisis management of these impacts, including preparations for emergency management, recovery and restoration efforts. The primary focus of the efforts of the Special Action Office for Y2K would be on safeguarding the life, health, and safety of the people of the United States and ensuring the healthiest possible future for the nation and the world.

A Proposed List of Top Priorities for the Federal Government

A list of top priority areas of concern for preventing and minimizing Y2K-related events that would pose the greatest risk to humankind include
the following:

These concerns have highest priority status owing to the nature of the threats and challenges that they pose regarding the following: The more successful we are in minimizing  threats to public health and safety, social stability, global stability, and environmental
sustainability, the easier and less costly the recovery period will be. Failure to address the threats and challenges facing us would render crisis management and recovery efforts far more difficult and costly,  and would increase immeasurably the difficulties in recovery and restoration efforts.

"Fix on Failure" is Not a Tenable Choice

Some individuals, as well as some companies and some nations, appear to be adopting a "fix on failure" approach to Y2K.  Because of its cost in terms of life, health, and safety alone, a "fix on failure" "wait and see" approach is simply not a tenable choice.  To ensure that we are as successful as possible, we need to  put in place as soon as possible efforts that are well organized and orchestrated,  efforts that address all aspects of Y2K, efforts that are both proactive and crisis-oriented and that are national, as well as global in scope.  No reasonable individuals would adopt a "fix on failure" approach to nuclear power plants, chemical plants, oil and gas pipelines, or other high hazard sites and systems, given the option of making sure that none of these fails in the first place.

What Kind of Organized Efforts are Needed?

At the Federal level, a Special Action Office for Y2K needs to be established in the Executive Office of the President.   This organization needs to have many of the same structural and functional elements found in the following:

The Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention in the Executive Office of the President in the 1970s.  (This Office had responsibilities for directing and coordinating government-wide efforts relating to Federal drug abuse prevention.  The Office also had responsibilities for the disposition of all budgetary allocations in the Departments and Agencies of the Federal government that dealt with drug abuse prevention concerns.)

Gulf War mobilization and logistics

Federal responses to any number of large scale disasters that have struck in the nation and world in the past decade.

Ideally, such an effort needs to be headed up by Colin Powell or someone else who is held in similar high regard by the public and who possesses extraordinary leadership capacities and skills.

In order to expedite the establishment of such proactive, crisis-oriented efforts, an executive order should be issued or, if need be,  a state of emergency should be declared and the proposed Special Action Office for Y2K established as soon as possible in the Executive Office of the President.  This Special Action Office for Y2K would orchestrate and carry out the entire range of tasks needed to address the full range of threats and challenges posed by Y2K.  Congress could be asked to support a resolution acknowledging the need for launching such major crisis-oriented efforts to address Y2K.   In the event there is no action taken by the Executive Branch to establish such an office, Congress should take action independently and pass legislation to establish the proposed Office in the Executive Office of the President.

Specific Actions That Are Needed

The nation's attention and resources need to be marshaled in a way that is comparable to the public preparedness efforts that took place during World War II.  This should include taking actions that would focus on the following areas of concern:

~ Taking Immediate Mitigative Steps to Prevent Technological Disasters.

This entails making sure that the full range of systems, plants, sites, facilities, pipelines, etc., that constitute potential technological hazards ~nationally and globally ~ are fully identified, assessed, remediated, and tested, or worked around or shut down until such time that they can be safely reactivated.  The list would include defense systems; nuclear power plants and reactors; chemical manufacturing plants and refineries; sites and facilities involving radiological or other hazardous materials, including chemical and biological warfare materials; oil and gas pipelines; tankers; and off shore oil rigs, etc.
~ Necessity for a Moratorium on the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
A moratorium on weapons of mass destruction is needed so that if there were to be an accidental launching of weapons, all parties would know that the action had not been intentional and that retaliation would not warranted.  Such a moratorium needs to begin in 1999 and extend though at least 2001, if not beyond.
~  Focusing on the Entire Emergency Management Cycle, including Prevention and
Remediation, Mitigation, Response and Recovery.  There needs to be a comprehensive focus on planning, implementing, and coordinating all efforts including remediation and mitigationefforts related to the prevention of infrastructure disruptions and technological disasters.  This would include preparedness, crisis management, and restoration and recovery planning and implementation.  This also encompasses preparedness planning and implementation aimed at maintaining civil order and preventing or intervening in possible terrorist activity.
~ Necessity for Expanding All Aspects of  Emergency Management Planning and
Implementation Efforts  (including Recovery Planning). Contingency and emergency planning and implementation should be undertaken in every sector and in all parts of society, nationally and globally.  Such planning would be based on at least three different scenarios ~ least case to worst case.  (The book, Time Bomb 2000,  provides one set of scenarios that could be used,  at least for initial planning and implementation purposes.   Also see Yourdon's February 5, 1999 prognosis for Y2K: "My Y2K Outlook: A Year of Disruptions, a Decade of Depression" at http://www.yourdon.com.).
~  Providing for Increased State and Local Government Participation in Federal
Intergovernmental Y2K Efforts.  Detailees from state and local government associations should be invited to become involved on a full time basis in intergovernmental efforts bearing on Y2K. (A similar approach was taken when the Federal Energy Office was established during the energy crisis of the 1970s.) These intergovernmental efforts would be designed to assist state and local government in the full range of remediation and mitigation measures (involving embedded systems, as well as IT systems) and preparedness, contingency, response and recovery planning and implementation efforts.  The associations would include the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of State Governments (CSG),  the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of State Information Resource Executives (NASIRE), the National Association of Counties (NACO),  the National League of Cities/US Conference of Mayors (NLC/USCM),  the International City Management Association (ICMA), Public Technology, Inc. (a not-for-profit affiliate of NACO, ICMA, and NLC), and The Academy for State and Local Government.   Substantial Federal grants should be given to all of these associations and organizations to enable their members to focus needed attention and resources on Y2K-related challenges facing them.   In late 1998,  NACO  had announced a proposal seeking $1.5 billion in Federal funding to be distributed amongst all the counties in the nation.  Comparable levels of funding based on sliding scales should be considered for all of the associations and organizations just listed.   Added to this list would be the national associations involved in emergency management, including the National Guard, the National Emergency Management Association,  and the American Red Cross and major non-profit organizations focusing on Y2K or on populations likely to be most affected by Y2K.  This would include the National Y2K Civic Leadership Initiative, Coalition 2000, The Cassandra Project, the Center for Y2K and Society, and the American Association of Retired Persons.
~  Organizing and Orchestrating Emergency Management Efforts.
Steps need to be taken to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Guard, and the American Red Cross play a facilitative, supportive, and coordinated role in all aspects of State and local emergency preparedness, including education and training, technical assistance, exercises, and the pre-deployment of resources and equipment.
~ Emergency Management Networks.
Emergency management networks with leadership from FEMA and other Federal agencies that have emergency-related responsibilities should work to achieve a full state of readiness for the possible infrastructure disruptions and technological disasters that could occur as a result of Y2K.  Emergency management networks need to be augmented with the support and/or leadership from FEMA and other Federal agencies with emergency responsibilities.  These networks should also include a focus on achieving a full state of readiness for the technologically-related disasters and emergencies that could occur despite our best efforts to prevent or mitigate such risks, e.g. from weapon systems problems to Chernobyl-type disasters, Bhopal-type disasters, pipeline explosions, dam failures, failure of water purification systems, failure of waste water treatment facilities, etc., etc.
~ Major Expansion of FEMA's Project Impact Program Approach.  As was urged on
February 10, 1999, by members of a Task Force of the President's Council's Working Group on Civic Preparedness,   FEMA should expand their Project Impact program to encompass Y2K-related preparedness, crisis management and recovery concerns.  FEMA should take steps to make as widely available as possible the excellent free guidance materials that have been developed for the Project Impact program.   One of these guidance documents is The Project Impact  Guidebook: Building a Disaster Resistant Community.  There are currently 117 model Project Impact programs being funded throughout the country.  These programs are working to create community-based coalitions that emphasize natural disaster preparedness and mitigation.  While the program was not developed with potential Y2K infrastructure disruptions and complex cascading emergencies in mind, the program materials and the approach taken could be helpful to communities that are organizing to prevent, mitigate, and prepare for potential Y2K impacts.   The approach shares much in common with community-based preparedness efforts for Y2K which are springing up all over the country. (To obtain a copy of The Project Impact Guidebook and Project Impact Kit, Item # 9-5553, contact FEMA Publications Distribution Center at 1-800 480 2520.)
~ Emergency Management Training and Technical Assistance Initiatives That are Needed.
FEMA's  National Emergency Training Center could be called upon to play a key role in such efforts.  Model programs should be identified and training and training-of-trainer programs provided.   Technical assistance support should also be made available in a variety of ways: online, in conjunction with model programs, through the training programs of FEMA, and through  a network of technical assistance and training centers throughout the countries.  Such centers should be established in conjunction with existing emergency management training program and technical assistance efforts that currently exist in all regions of the country.  These efforts would include promoting FEMA's free independent study courses. FEMA's free independent study courses currently available online should be augmented to address the full range of Y2K concerns and aggressively publicized so that more persons would be likely to avail themselves of this  opportunity for free training.
~  Increasing the Understanding of Those in Roles of Public Responsibility
Concerning  the Nature and Scope of Y2K Threats and Challenges.   All those who are in roles of public responsibility need to become fully cognizant of the nature and scope of the treats and challenges posed by Y2K.  Care needs to be taken to ensure that they have the requisite understanding of Y2K and approaches to addressing it.  All of these will be needed if efforts are to prove as successful as possible.
Other Needs

Other needs that should be addressed involve the following areas of concern:

~ Skilled Personnel.

Owing to the absence of necessary skilled personnel, all major information technology projects in the public and private sector that are not vital to national security and national and global stability should be refocused.  Efforts should be focused on the full range of efforts needed to address the top priority threats and challenges posed by Y2K.
~ The EURO.
The EU should be urged in the strongest possible terms to delay the further implementation of their plans to convert to the EURO until at least 2001.
~ Mergers.
All companies currently considering mergers should be strongly encouraged to voluntarily delay their plans and put such mergers on hold until at least 2001.
~ The Education System.
Steps need to be taken to ensure that all levels of the education system prepare for Y2K disruptions.  The onus for promulgating best practices, policies, and approaches in the education system should be on the U.S. Department of Education.
~ Colleges & Universities.
All institutions of higher learning should be called upon to help address the needs of their localities and regions just as soon as they have done what they are able to do to ensure the functionality of their own institutions.
~ Expanded Use of the Internet.
The use of the Internet by governments for information dissemination to the public concerning Y2K should be increased. The availability of this information should be advertised in a wide range of media so that the information is far more readily accessible than it is at present.   These sites should also include links to private sector sites.
~ The Emergency Broadcast System.
The Emergency Broadcast System should be used to its fullest and the public should be made aware of its accessibility.
~ Widespread Dissemination of Hand-Cranked/Solar-Powered Radios.
Hand-cranked/solar powered radios for use during times of electric outages or communication failures need to be made widely available.  The public should be urged to acquire such radios since they do not require electricity or batteries. They should be made available at no cost or low cost to those who would not able to afford them otherwise.  Loans or other incentives and encouragement should be given to manufacturers to accelerate production.  Another possible way of augmenting current inventories of such radios would be to urge that prison industries or shelter workshops mass produce them and possibly have the government subsidize such production.
~ Backup Emergency Communications Systems.
Fleets of wireless backup emergency communications systems need to be put in place along the lines proposed by The Triage Communications Group.  Such a national fleet needs to be created "for hospitals, police, fire units, public utilities, and financial institutions".  This would involve  "building a fleet of portable network platforms" that can be described as "self-contained local-loop networks that can be deployed to areas affected by power grid failures, overloaded telephone switching, and overloaded  circuits, as well as labor shortages and problems."  For further information concerning such an approach, contact Christopher Storc at The Triage Communications Group at <www.triage2k.com>.
~ The Electric Power Grid.
Actions need to be accelerated to ensure the functioning of the electric power grid.  The continuing operation of related support systems must also be ensured, including the telecommunication system, fuel distribution systems, and the rail system. Fuel needed to operate back up generators needs to be stockpiled.   Coal also needs to be stockpiled for coal-fired plants. Contingency plans should be in place in the event a major problem becomes evident during the testing scheduled for April 9, 1999.  The industry should, however, be strongly encouraged to hold tests before or after April 9, 1999 since the "99 end of files" problem may well affect the test.  Such skewing of test results could make it very difficult to ascertain the causes of the resulting problems and the pathways that would need to be traced in order to fix the problems.
~ Electrical Generators.
Owing to the current extraordinarily high demand with regard to electrical generators,  steps should also be taken to ensure the augmentation of current inventories, including the possibility of using prison industries to manufacturer generators.   The manufacture and use of "collars" to connect generators to the electrical systems in homes should also be promoted.  (Pepco in the Washington, D.C. area is a power company which is the promoting the use of generators in the event of power failures.)
~ Temporarily Stop the Process of  Deregulating the Electric Power Industry.
The process of  deregulating the electric power industry should be postponed at least through the Year 2003.
~ Retrofitting of Major Rail Systems with Back-up Manual Switches.
Manual back-up switches need to be considered for major railway arterials.
~ Retrofitting of Gas and Diesel Pumps with Manual Back-ups.
Manual back-up pumps need to be placed on gas and diesel pumps used by emergency vehicles. Manual back-up pumps also need to be provided at locations in every locale and region so that gas and diesel are available to all public and private sector users.
~ Nuclear Power Plant Safety.
A wider range of actions need to be taken to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants.  The interface of nuclear power plant operations with the embedded systems controlling air-conditioning, security, and other systems in their building facilities all need to be fully considered and appropriate actions taken.  Contingency plans are needed which take into consideration a range of scenarios involving possible regional power brown outs or black outs  and other possible regional infrastructure disruptions and technological disasters. Alternative energy sources also need to be considered as a means ensuring an energy source when backup generators reach their limit and their fuel supplies are exhausted.
~ Disclosure Requirements for Critical Infrastructure.
The Federal government needs to require full disclosure of the status of efforts to keep electric power plants and the grid in operation.  Technical assistance to assist in these critical efforts needs to be provided as required.
~  Commercial Efforts to Increase Food Supplies.
Steps should also be taken to ensure the augmentation of available foodstocks.  This particularly pertains to foods that do not require cooking and to foods that will be canned, dried, or used in ready-to-eat meals. Consideration should be given to providing incentives to place all arable land in production.
~ Gardening and Other Steps to Increase Food Supplies.
Indoor and outdoor gardens would be encouraged as a means of augmenting food supplies. Canning and other means of storing food for later use should be urged.  The Extension Service of the USDA and the not-for-profit sector, including the 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and churches, could play a major role in fostering such efforts by providing information and technical support and spearheading such activities.
~ The Need for the Gradual Stocking Up on Water and Non-Perishable Food Supplies.
At a minimum, the public should be urged to gradually stock up on water and non-perishable foodstuffs needed for a period of a few days to a few weeks. (The American Red Cross advises stocking supplies to last a few days to a week.  See the latest material on Y2K preparations being disseminated by the American Red Cross on the American Red Cross Web site.  The Red Cross also advises having an "ample supply" of prescription medicine on hand.  In areas where worse case winter storms have been known to occur, inventories of supplies should be at least in keeping with FEMA's minimum suggested guidelines for preparing for severe winter storms.
~ Commercial Efforts to Increase the Inventories of Prescription Medicines.
Steps should also be taken by both the public and the private sectors to ensure augmentation of present inventories of prescription medicines.
~ Changes Needed in Policies of HMO and Health Plans Limiting Amounts of Prescription Medicines to Short Term Supplies.
Health maintenance organizations and health plans need to temporarily modify policies which would make  it impossible or financially prohibitive for many people to obtain the quantity of prescription medicines they will need to have on hand.
~ Preparation of "Just-in-Case" Rationing Plans.
Rationing plans for food, fuel, and gasoline should be in readiness if needed.
~ Manual Backup Approaches for Cash Registers and Related Electronic Systems.
Manual backup approaches need to be in readiness at point of purchase for food and other necessities.
~ Expansion of Informative as well as Constructive Media Coverage.
Media of all forms should be encouraged to begin immediately to dedicate a significant portion of their coverage to a full range of Y2K-related topics of deepest potential concern and assistance to the public.  Boiler plate materials should be made freely accessible in hard copy form and online.
~ Military Efforts.
A major focus of the military should be directed to addressing technological problems, assuring the safety of weapons systems, and Defense Department-related hazardous material sites here and abroad. The Department of Energy also has a role here.
~ Education and Training.
Training and education should be made available to all those involved in addressing Year 2000 challenges.   Such training and education is needed to foster understanding concerning the nature and scope of the problem and the approaches that are needed to address the challenges associated with Y2K.
~ Emergency Shelter and Housing Plans.
Emergency shelter and housing plans need to be in place.  Schools and other public buildings should be designated at shelters and storage sites for food and water.   Backup generators should be prepositioned at these sites.  In the case of Y2K, contingency planning for emergency shelter would be needed owing to the possibility that potential infrastructure disruptions could have a peak during winter months, at a time when there is the greatest likelihood of cold and freezing temperatures in many parts of the country.
~ Emergency Medical Preparedness Plans.
Emergency medical preparedness plans and actions need to be undertaken for a range of possible scenarios.
~ Planning for Persons with Special Needs.
Planning needs to be done to ensure the well-being of the sick and infirm, as well as the homeless population.
~ Just-in-Case Evacuation Plans.
Just-in-case evacuation plans need to be in place. These plans would be needed in the event of an emergency that made evacuation from an area a necessity.
~ Just-in-Case Innovative Economic Arrangements.
Plans need to be made concerning the possible use of issued script and/or other approaches to maintaining the exchanges of goods and services in society (including approaches such as The Time Dollar approach, bartering, and even the use of local script).  These approaches could be used  in the event of major disruptions in the banking systems and temporary or longer term failure of the national economy or regional or local economies.  Innovative means of increasing the currency supply should be explored since it is reported that current plans for increasing the supply will tax to the limit the Bureau of Engraving's capacity.  For instance, special paper available only to the Federal government along with other possible  identifiers or markers could be used in conjunction with highest grade photocopying equipment to guard against counterfeiting. If feasible, the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar could also be re-released or other coins created, such as $5 and $10 coins.
~ Moratorium on Y2K Law Suits.
A moratorium should be placed on law suits pertaining to Y2K.  As an E-Trade officials put it in February of 1999, in the wake of some software problems which temporarily stopped that company's services, "We don't do fault."  The problem of assigning fault in Y2K are legion.  There are also indications that because of liability concerns, there may be people who will simply leave their positions in 1999, not wishing to risk being a party to a law suit.  This includes individuals who are programmers, corporate heads, Members of Boards of Directors, or government officials.  There are those who will not consider taking these kinds of positions out of concern for their own personal liability.   There is a need to determine what values and priorities should provide the basis for Federal policies and actions regarding liability so that disincentives that now exist and are presently holding back efforts to address Y2K are removed to the extent possible.
~ The Need for a Focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
According to a person claiming insider knowledge, an early draft of the President's July 14, 1998 speech on Y2K called for alternative dispute resolution as a means of addressing legal liability issues.  According to the same individual, this proposal was dropped from the President's speech owing to pressure from individuals on Capitol Hill who were in turn bowing to pressure from the trial lawyers' lobby.
~ Mandatory Short Form Reporting Requirements for Those Entities and Enterprises Critical to Y2K Efforts.
There should be a mandatory short form reporting of the status of Y2K-related compliance and preparedness.  In conjunction with such requirements, there also needs to be the enactment of policies that will ensure immunity from legal action.  Loans and tax breaks should be made available to those who suffer major financial losses as a result of their candor.
~ Expansion of Technical Manpower Job Referral Services.
Technical Manpower Referral Services should be expanded far beyond present efforts.
~ Fasttracking of Security Clearances.
Fasttracking of security clearances and abeyance of requirements for security clearances should be undertaken where possible so that the need for additional human resources can come closer to being met.
The Establishment of a Special Action Office for Y2K

A Special Action Office for Y2K needs to be established in the Executive Office of the President  to address the challenges of the crisis that Y2K poses to the nation and the world.  The Special Action Office would be the primary vehicle for carrying out the initiatives and actions that have been proposed here and in other parts of this White Paper.

Contingents of Federal employees with pertinent skills would be detailed from other departments and agencies of the Federal government to become a part of this effort.   Expertise would also be added from outside government.

The Mission and Functions of the Proposed Special Action Office for Y2K

The mission of the  Special Action Office for Y2K would be

~ to take actions to prevent and minimize impacts that could occur as a result of Y2K,

~ to plan for and implement contingency plans, and

~ to plan for and implement the crisis management and recovery phases of the crisis.

The focus of the Special Action Office for Y2K will be on all three aspects of the Y2K crisis.

1) information systems and communications;

2) date sensitive embedded systems which are not Year 2000 compliant; and

3) connectivity and interdependency concerns, including supply chain and other concerns that can be expected to affect the economy and social stability.

These aspects of Y2K and their relevant impacts are discussed more fully in Part 1 and Part 2 of this  White Paper.

Several of the major Divisions of the Special Action Office would address each of these aspects of the problem.

The Special Action Office for Y2K will take all actions necessary to accomplish the mission of the Office, including :

~  Assessment.

This area of emphasis includes developing, implementing, and/or coordinating policy, programs, and approaches based on assessments of the current status of efforts and estimates and prioritization of areas of risk and need.
~ Monitoring.
This area of emphasis focuses on monitoring efforts to address all aspects of Y2K, including the computer technology aspect of the problem, time sensitive embedded systems, and connectivity and interdependency issues relating to Y2K and doing so in a way that is critical in determining future courses of action  and does not jeopardize or detract from efforts to reach critical objectives.
~  Resource Allocation.
This area of emphasis focuses on allocating resources for developing, implementing, and coordinating education, training (including trainer of trainers), information clearinghouse and dissemination functions, as well as technical assistance efforts  (reactive, as well as proactive).  This would likely entail extensive use of the Web sites of the General Services Administration and the General Accounting Office, and the materials and capacities of both.  It could also entail utilization of the capabilities of Agriculture Extension Offices, the Federal Laboratories, and Universities and Colleges.  These resources should be used as feasible for training, technical assistance, knowledge transfer, and innovation diffusion. They should also focus on increasing awareness concerning the nature and scope of the problem and on the effective or promising approaches and policies that need to be put in place to help address all aspects of the challenges and threats posed by Y2K.  One example of such efforts could be to convene a group of entrepreneurs who are at the cutting edge of a communications systems application such as the kind of backup emergency communications system described earlier.  Such systems could help a variety of sectors including public health and safety, emergency services, and banking.  By bringing such groups together with personnel  with emergency management responsibilities from  FEMA, the Red Cross,  the National Guard, hospitals, emergency dispatch systems, fire departments, and police; as well as  individuals from banking , the pace of acceptance, adoption, and adaptation of breakthroughs in technology could be greatly accelerated.
~  Resource Coordination.
This area of emphasis focuses on coordinating all Federal resource allocation (fiscal, technological, and manpower) bearing on the development and implementation of approaches to addressing Y2K.  It includes accepting other public/private and non-governmentalsources of funding and/or support.
~  Policy Development and Implementation.
This area of emphasis focuses on developing, implementing, and/or coordinating  policies,  programs, and approaches to business contingency planning and disaster preparedness and recovery planning.
~  Education and Training.
This area of emphasis focuses on developing, implementing, and coordinating education, training, information clearinghouse and dissemination functions and technical assistance functions (responsive and reactive as well as proactive) for  public and private sector contingency planning and disaster preparedness planning.
~ Promulgating Best Practices, Policies, Programs, and Approaches.
This area of emphasis focuses on identifying and promulgating viable approaches, programs, policies, and model state and local legislative initiatives and/or the funding of efforts to accomplish such objectives or funding pertinent organizations to do so.
~ Establishing A Clearinghouse and Central Web site Promoting Best Materials, Practices, Policies, Approaches.
A Clearinghouse and central Web site needs to be established that features ready access to the best materials, practices, policies, and approaches that have been identified that are relevant to the public and the private sectors.   Such efforts  should also link to a wide range of other  information sources and clearinghouses on best practices, policies, programs, and approaches for the public and private sectors, as well as for communities, families, and individuals.  Public Technology, Inc. could be called upon to play a key role along with the General Accounting Office, and the General Services Administration regarding public sector efforts.  An example of such efforts would be the creation of an element of clearinghouse efforts which focused on business continuity planning and implementation.   This would include a training component.   The General Accounting Office could be called upon to play a key role in such efforts, as could the Congressional Research Service.  An example of a kind of program that such a Center might implement would be the following: a national workshop or series of regional workshops designed to help the banking industry accelerate their  learning about best approaches and practices regarding business continuity planning and all aspects of emergency management, including the need to provide for backup emergency communications, and the planning and implementing of disaster preparedness, and emergency response and recovery efforts.  The workshops would focus on the promulgation, adoption, or adaptation of best practices.  Follow up technical assistance would be provided.
~ Public/Private Sector Task Group Coordination.
This area of emphasis focuses on building on existing task force structures, as possible, to create an action- and crisis-oriented task force structures, composed of professionals working full time on Y2K concerns.  One such task force structure should be aimed at facilitating the generation and implementation of  public/private sector (including non-governmental organization) initiatives, collaboration, and involvement in addressing the threats and challenges posed by Y2K.
~ Conducting Industry- or Sector-Focused Action Workshops
Industry- or sector-focused action workshops are needed to promulgate state of the art understanding of Y2K and best policies, practices, and approaches to address Y2K concerns and to take needed actions.  Such workshops should also be used to identify best materials and best practices, polices, and approaches. These workshops should be designed to follow the examples of efforts sponsored by The Chemical Safety and Hazards Investigation Board in their December 18, 1998 meeting and the more recent efforts being facilitated by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding Y2K, shipping, and tankers.  Rear Admiral George Naccara of the U.S. Coast Guard is convening an action-oriented meeting on Y2K, shipping and tanker concerns in London in March of 1999.
~  Public Awareness and Preparedness.
This area of emphasis focuses on identifying, implementing, and/or coordinating  policy, programs, and approaches concerned with public awareness and preparedness and/or the funding of efforts to accomplish such objectives, including implementing, and coordinating education, training, information clearinghouse and dissemination functions and technical assistance functions (responsive and reactive, as well as proactive) public awareness and preparedness.
~ Federal Interagency Task Group Coordination.
 This area of emphasis focuses on implementing a vastly expanded Federal interagency coordination network staffed with full time professionals, including full time professional temporary employees or contractors.
~  International Initiatives.
This area of emphasis focuses on working with the World Bank, the UN, the Bank of International Settlements, and other bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in assisting other nations in addressing all aspects of Y2K in order to promulgate and spur actions involving the full range of initiatives being proposed in this paper.

Through the creation of this proactive, crisis-oriented Special Action Office for Y2K, the nation would have the best possible chance of bringing needed resources to bear in addressing the wide range of critical problems associated with Y2K,  both national and globally.

The creation of such an office would serve as a vehicle for  planning, orchestrating, facilitating, and coordinating the implementation of actions designed to reduce the harmful impacts of Y2K and to minimize the length and costs of the recovery.  The Special Action Office for Y2K would make it possible to work in a far more focused and effective manner than is possible at present.  A Special Action Office for Y2K would provide the best possible means for using the extremely limited amount of time remaining as effectively and wisely as possible to address the threats and challenges that Y2K poses to the nation and to the world.

                                                       [ White Paper: Part 1 ]        [ White Paper: Part 2 ]       [ White Paper: Part 3 ]
                                                       [ Table Of Contents ]         [ Executive Summary ]        [ References and Resources ]

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