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(Links to documents appear after the summary.)
If the computer failures are sufficiently widespread, urban society will collapse. Without banks, water, sewers, communications, and electrical power, cities will become nightmares.
Under such conditions, the Federal government would have to declare martial law.
The question is: Could the Army carry out its assignments? It, too, is noncompliant. Its systems are vulnerable to y2k.
There are indications that the U.S. government is preparing for martial law. Under the cover of the phrases "critical infrastructure protection" and "cyberterrorism," the government is setting up rapid deployment forces designed to provide order in American cities.
The two politically convenient facts about about cyberterrorism are these: (1) the timing is not specific; (2) the target is not specific. This keeps panic from occurring. "It's the other guy's statisically remote problem." Or: "I'm prtobably OK; you're probably OK." This is why "cyberterrorism" serves as a code work for "Year 2000 breakdown." The problems with y2k are the reverse: (1) it is date-specific; (2) it hits everywhere at once. No cyberterrorist or hacker could dream of doing what y2k has been programmed to do.
Plans to impose martial law have been in effect since late 1997. The training is the same, so the public will not be alarmed. The Army has created special emergency response divisions made up of National Guard units and Reserve units. But the plans seem to have begun with an Executive Order signed by President Clinton in July, 1996, which set up the Presidential Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP).
A series of executive orders that go back over three decades are in reserve, ready to be announced and enforced by the President.
In a y2k crisis, the public will call for emergency actions. Congress will not object.