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Bragg Officials Fight Year 2000 Bug

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FAYETTEVILLE — When the year turns 2000, some computers will crash. Like many businesses and computer owners, the Army is tackling the problem. Fort Bragg and other military installations have a lot at stake.

Wednesday morning, unit Leaders at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base questioned a group of military experts about ways to solve the computer 2000 problem on post. It was a private meeting dealing with sensitive information.

Like a commercial industry or small town, just about everything you can think of at Fort Bragg, such as traffic lights, security systems and phone lines, is controlled by a computer. If military computers shut down, it could be serious.

"If I can't call and alert to deploy the 82nd Airborne division somewhere on a moments notice because my telephone does not work or the computer doesn't work, then that prevents us from being able to accomplish wartime mission," said Lt. Col. Carl Prantl.

Leaders at the Department of the Army are so concerned that they want some systems compatible a year ahead of schedule. A December 31, 1998, deadline has been set for systems identified as critical.

All advanced weapons systems are being managed at the Department of the Army level, but security systems that protect the weapons and ammunition are controlled by Fort Bragg computers.

"It's very important they continue to function after the year 2000 so we can maintain safety and security," said Lt. Col. Scott Dorney.

Fort Bragg officials are confident its year 2000 coordinating committee will have have the bugs worked out ahead of schedule. If not, a contingency plan is place.

Members of the Fort Bragg 2000 Committee are collecting data on every computer on post. There are more than 8,000 systems to investigate.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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