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Paranoid Pentagon plans for possible Y2K sneak attack

Watch out for countries with old, computer-free tanks...

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Pentagon planners clearly have time on their hands, as well as their minds. A Defense Department planning memo sent from the Joint Chiefs of Staff last week deals with the possibility of a sneak attack on the US being made under cover of Y2K chaos. The memo apparently went out to US commanders throughout the world, and lists all sorts of things that are likely to make the local US peace-keeping forces twitchy come 31st December. The highest alert level, Y2K Posture Level One, anticipates widespread Y2K-related failures and the civilian authorities asking for military help. So careful about asking GIs for the time - you could get martial law. The document anticipates the possibility of "information operations attacks," i.e. hacking of the US infrastructure by enemy forces and agents, and "opportunistic engagements," meaning surprise attacks coinciding with Y2K problems. The US defence secretary will apparently be deciding on the appropriate alert level for the military towards the end of the year. If it's level one, and the news leaks out (watch out for troop movements in key strategic areas, such as Wall Street) then the Dow Jones will no doubt go through the floor. But will the Russians invade? In the Pentagon's tortured logic, the US is likely to be disadvantaged in the event of a Y2K meltdown because of its heavy reliance on computers. Tech-starved rivals, on the other hand, will presumably be better positioned. So when the PC clocks in Moscow wind back to 1900, the Tsarist armies will begin to roll and the Imperial High Seas Fleet will cast off in the direction of the Eastern United States. Register factoid: Last time this happened the fleet was headed for Japan, but got so confused it accidentally shelled Lowestoft (Eastern UK) on the way. ®

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