Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Fiinally Phasing Out Floppy Disks

Posted by at 11:24 am on May 27, 2016

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According to a new report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a number of US government agencies are currently still using computing technology for aspects of their operations that data back as much as over 50 years, reports AFP. The most alarming of the findings in the report is that the Department of Defense still uses eight-inch floppy disks on an IBM Series 1 computer system system dating back to the 1970s as part of the nuclear command and control system. The report warns that these systems are both costly and no longer effective.

The Pentagon has defended its use of the antiquated technology. “This system remains in use because, in short, it still works,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson told AFP. “However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with Secure Digital devices by the end of 2017,” she added. “Modernization across the entire Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) enterprise remains ongoing.”

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However, the report (PDF) highlights that the government is spending more on keeping outdated systems operational, some of which are over 50 years old. Last year alone, taxpayers footed a bill of $61.2 billion on operations and maintenance of old technology, whereas $19.2 billion was expended on updating government systems to newer technology. The GAO report warns that “the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness.

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