U.S. and Russian Track Y2K Missile Problems

Russian and the U.S. will work together to make sure Y2K doesn’t trigger nuclear war

Deep inside a Cheyenne Mountain the United States will be working with officers from Russia this New Year. The two world powers are going to join forces to make sure missiles are not fired off by mistake when the computer date changes over to 2000.

Officials at NORAD usually spend Christmas and New Year's Eve tracking the whereabouts of Santa Claus. This year the work will be much more serious. Workers will be tracking inadvertent missile launches associated with the Y2K bug.

"We know Santa Claus is Y2K compliant, but we want to maker sure the Russians and Chinese are also" d Maj. Perry Nouis told the Associated Press.

This year 18 Russian officers will fly to Cheyenne, Wyoming on December 23 to work with U.S. military commanders.

"We are partnering with the Russians to make sure nobody makes a mistake, the Russians and the U.S. are the only nations with detection capability" Lt. Col. Garry Warren told reporters.

The two countries will work together in Cheyenne this New Year to make sure the Y2K bug doesn’t trigger a nuclear war. Computer scientists are concerned that software critical to many high-tech centers will crash on January 1 because they were not designed to recognize the year 2000.

The United States has been preparing for the Y2K problems for five years but the Russians have only been working on Y2K problems for a few months. Russia is believed be considerably behind in its Y2K compliance efforts because its economy is in turmoil. Russia has said its power industry will go on manual control this New Year’s Eve to make sure nothing goes wrong.

The Clinton Administration came up with the idea of working with Russia in February. The 18 Russian officers will not be allowed inside the command center at Cheyenne Mouton, instead they’ll work out of a a building near the U.S. Space Command Center at Peterson air Force Base.

The two groups will monitor data about possible New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day launches and all material will be shared. The information will include where missiles or other objects are coming from, where they are headed and what type of object is involved. That’s if there are any problems at all, which are not expected. This is a precautionary measure. In fact, the most-discussed scenario is a computer error that creates the impression of a false missile threat.

There will be no U.S. soldiers stationed in Russia. The Russian teams, usually three officers and a translator, will have a direct line to Moscow from the Y2K center at Peterson. The U.S. will have senior officers on hand so if there is any sort of problem they won’t have to be tracked down, they will be right there to deal with strategic issues.

Source: Associated Press)

DATE: 11/15/99

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