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Press Advisory


Release No: 297-99
December 14, 1999

Deputy Sec Def Press Conference on Y2K, Dec. 16

Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre will conduct a press briefing on the final status of Department of Defense preparations for the Year 2000 computer rollover, Dec. 16, 1999, at 10 a.m.EST in the Pentagon press conference room, 2E781. The Department will also hold its regularly scheduled Thursday press briefing at 1:30 p.m. EST.

In addition to Hamre's briefing, the Department of Defense offers the following arrangements to assist press coverage during the Y2K period:

Defense Press Office: The Directorate for Defense Information, the Department's main press office, will be staffed from Friday, Dec. 31, 1999 through Saturday Jan. 1, 2000, to answer reporters' questions. Telephone: (703) 697-5131.

U.S. Naval Observatory: The U.S. Naval Observatory, which maintains the Master Clock of the United States, will drop a "time ball" at midnight EST on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, to officially mark the beginning of the year 2000 and the beginning of the Third Millennium in 2001. This event will be the culmination of a "round the world time ball drop" in which time balls will mark the beginning of the New Year as it sweeps westward from the International Date Line. The Naval Observatory is located at 3450 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Wash., D.C. More information on the time ball drop is available at www.usno.navy.mil/ballrel.html. Media interested in covering this event may call Geoff Chester at (202) 762-1438.

North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command: These activities will host several media opportunities surrounding the Year 2000 rollover. Scheduled opportunities will begin on Dec. 29, 1999, and run through Jan. 3, 2000. Availabilities will include interviews with operators, b-roll and periodic situation updates at the following locations:

1. The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center: The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center is located inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colo. and is the heart of U. S. and Canadian missile warning operations. The senior leadership from the three commands will monitor the Y2K rollover from the Center. There will be 24-hour media operations available at the Mountain.
2. Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.: Satellite operations and the atomic clock at Schriever AFB (b-roll and interviews only). Air Force personnel "fly" U. S. military satellites (Global Positioning System, communications, and missile warning satellites) from this base. Media opportunities will be on Dec. 29 and 30.

3. F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.: Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) operations at F.E. Warren AFB, to include a launch control and missile silo equipped with an ICBM. F.E. Warren is one of three U.S. ICBM bases. Media opportunities will be on Dec. 29 and 30.

4. The Center for Year 2000 Strategic Stability (CY2KSS), Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.: Russian and U.S. military personnel are scheduled to sit side by side monitoring missile-warning information at the CY2KSS. The purpose of the Center is to ensure that the world's two largest nuclear powers are in direct contact during the Y2K rollover. The center is scheduled to begin 24-hour operations the morning of Dec. 30. U.S. and Russian representatives continue to discuss details of media access to the center. The projected cessation of the center's operation is mid-January.

There will be "live" events that occur simultaneously at 5 p.m. MST (Midnight Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT) on Dec. 31. This time is significant because space-based military systems and U.S. military operations worldwide are synchronized based on GMT. Simultaneous events will occur at Cheyenne Mountain, potentially at Peterson Air Force Base (CY2KSS), and Schriever Air Force Base (Atomic Clock). Editors/producers should consider multiple reporters/crews, or make early commitments to be in-place to cover the live events. Due to space limitations at the CY2KSS and the Atomic Clock, pool coverage will be required during rollover.

For crews going "live" from Cheyenne Mountain, plan for no less than a 3,000-foot cable run that must be laid before Dec. 30. The stand up opportunities will be at the Cheyenne Mountain's 25-ton blast doors located 1/3 of a mile inside the mountain. There may be an opportunity to broadcast live from Cheyenne Mountain's Command Center on Dec. 29. Satellite trucks may not be able to "see" satellites west of 100 degrees West due to the mountain.

A 24-hour media center will be established at Peterson AFB from Dec. 29-Jan. 4. This center will handle credentialing for all venues under NORAD, U.S. Space Command, and Air Force Space Command. The media center will have phones, modem lines, a fax, a copier, and shared working areas available. Small rooms will also be available for interviews. Cheyenne Mountain will also have 24-hour filing capacity. Cell phones and pagers will not work in Cheyenne Mountain or in Schriever AFB facilities. Periodic updates will be provided to media working in the center.

REQUIREMENTS: For prior security clearance requirements into secure areas, media planning to cover any of the above events must provide the following:

1. Full names, birth dates and identification (Social Security account numbers or passport numbers) of all members representing an organization. This information should be faxed to (719) 554-3165 on company letterhead.
2. Detailed equipment lists (model and serial numbers) of all equipment that will be brought to any of the facilities hosting the above events. Equipment without serial numbers needs to be listed (i.e., light kit).

3. Due to the large number of media interested in covering events at NORAD, U.S. Space Command, and Air Force Space Command, and the limited facilities, priorities for parking (satellite vans and trucks), b-roll and scheduled events, will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Point of contact for these events is Maj. Perry Nouis, U.S. Space Command Public Affairs, (719) 554-3525, or perry.nouis@peterson.af.mil. Requested information and media plans should be sent to Maj. Nouis by Dec. 17, 1999 and confirmed with him on Dec. 21, 1999.

Maxwell Air Force Base, Gunter Annex, Ala. News releases reporting the activities of the U.S. Air Force Fusion Center will be available at http://web1.ssg.gunter.af.mil/year2000, beginning at 1 a.m., CST, Jan. 1, with updates posted every four hours through Jan. 3, or as needed.

The Fusion Center is an around-the-clock help desk for the Department of Defense. It is responsible for ensuring all turn of the century date problems affecting Air Force information systems are responded to rapidly and accurately, and it is the Service's single point of reference for situational awareness for Year 2000 and beyond.

Questions concerning the Fusion Center before, during and after the rollover should be directed to Darlene Cowsert or SSgt Bev Isik at Standard Systems Group Public Affairs at (334) 416-4319/4324/7645/7647 or 207-0230.


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