In many cases, the technology used by the government and military far surpasses what the average citizen has access to. However, in other cases where the government is cheap or lazy, their technology is actually far behind what is on the market. According to a recent report, the U.S. Defense Department is still using 8-inch floppy disks in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear force.
According to the new Government Accountability Office report, the Defense Department’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircraft are all operated on computer technology from the 1970’s, which includes floppy disks that haven’t been used for decades.
The “Strategic Automated Command and Control System” which runs these operations is actually one of the 10 oldest information technology investments or systems, the report indicated.
“Federal legacy IT systems are becoming increasingly obsolete: Many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported,” the report found. “Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old. Our ultimate goal is to retire all of them as quickly as possible,” Terence Milholland, with the IRS said of the report.
According to Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson with the Department of Defense, they do actually plan on updating their systems soon.
“This system remains in use because, in short, it still works. However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with Secure Digital devices by the end of 2017. Modernization across the entire Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) enterprise remains ongoing,” Henderson said.
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