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They Can’t “Account” For The Money

Dan Dupont at reports on Pentagon Financial Systems: Still a Mess

Given that some of the computer systems in question “run on old-style I.B.M. mainframes and rely on Cobol, the ancient Sumerian of computer languages,” none of this should be much of a surprise.

“This was a bunch of systems patched together,” says Greg Bitz, a former director of the center. “I never went home at night without worrying about one of them crashing.” Bitz predicts a crisis as older programmers retire. “Try to find somebody today who knows Cobol,” he says.

Portfolio’s story is accompanied by a time line of efforts to reform the system since 1968, though it misses a key moment from 1997, when John Hamre, then the Pentagon comptroller, was being grilled by a lawmaker during a hearing on the woeful state of Pentagon financial computer systems. His answer: “The good news, sir, is they’re all going to collapse in the year 2000.”

So the problem is COBOL. Wikipedia notes:

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April 15, 2008   17 Comments

This Is Just Pathetic

Via PSoTD, the Pennsylvania Progressive is shutting down after 23 months because of a complaint filed with TypePad by another supposed progressive who is a local Democratic party functionary.

This is how you lose elections.

April 15, 2008   4 Comments

Happy Blogiversary Plus

Keith Kisser at Invisible Library is celebrating his fifth blogiversary and the publication of his book, The Machine of the World.

April 15, 2008   5 Comments

Happy Whatever

Tax Day

Friday Cat Blogging


[Editor: This is my tax return from last year.]

April 15, 2008   5 Comments