Sub Straddles Dateline, DoD Systems Green
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 1, 2000 As the clock struck midnight Dec. 31, the USS Topeka, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, straddled the equator and the international dateline 400 feet below the Pacific Ocean's surface.
Navy officials said half the 140-man crew said farewell to 1999 while the other half was a day behind. "By virtue of their location, the crew "simultaneously experienced different hours, days, months, years, hemispheres and seasons," stated a U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force press release.
Military men and women serving on ship and on shore around the world witnessed the beginning of the 21st century. "We're all very gratified that throughout this day, for the most part, we've been able to see a world focused on celebrations and not focused on crises," Pentagon spokesman P.J. Crowley said here Dec. 31. "That certainly is good news."
Military leaders at more than 500 U.S. bases in the United States and overseas reported up the chain to the National Command Center as the new year dawned at each location. At 2 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. EST, defense officials assured news reporters at the Pentagon that all was well. U.S. Pacific Command, followed by Central Command and European Command, had reported that Y2K had arrived without a hitch.
"Our systems, thus far, are free of anything we can attribute to Y2K," said Rear Adm. Robert F. Willard, head of the Joint Staff's Y2K Task Force. "We've been monitoring the state of the world very closely, particularly our systems as we rolled past Greenwich Mean Time at about 7 p.m. EST," he said.
"I'm happy to report that all the Department of Defense systems remain in "green" status," Willard continued. "We have successfully rolled over long haul communications systems and our cryptologic systems all succeeded in rolling over correctly."
No power outages or other large anomalies had been reported by U.S. or officials in Russia, China and North Korea, the admiral said. "Currently, the world -- as we've seen in observing the international briefings that have taken place -- by and large, is reporting itself 'green.'"
No military installations had put contingency plans into effect due to any host nation system failures, he added. Precautions had been taken in some regions in anticipation of the rollover to make installation commands more self- sufficient.
"When the rollover successfully occurred and they could verify that the services could be provided, they relaxed from that particular posture," Willard said. "There have been adjustments made along the way, but the host nations are successfully working any problems that they may have in a manner that has caused our major infrastructures to remain on line."
Pentagon officials, on the alert for computer viruses and hackers, reported seeing no more than normal activity to date. "We continue to be very vigilant," Willard said.
The admiral attributed the night's good news to the world's technological experts. There are no "second teams" on watch tonight, he said. "As in the United States, the rest of the world has the right people monitoring their systems."