You’d think the most advanced arsenal of world-destroying weaponry known to man would be protected using equally high-tech systems. However, you’d be very, very wrong. A fair bit of the United States nuclear arsenal operates using the same technology used to play Super Number Munchers on a dusty Macintosh desktop.
A new report from the Governmental Accountability Office finds that sections of the Department of Defense still use floppy disks in ’70s era IBM computers. Specifically, the Strategic Automated Command and Control System which is in charge of coordinating the United States nuclear forces.
The report is less than pleased with the fact that our arsenal is being operated by a technology that’s about two generations removed from even being recognizable to today’s teenagers.
Federal legacy IT investments are becoming increasingly obsolete: many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported. Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old.
That’s about as close to shade as you can get in a report by a federal agency.
Really, this should be expected when you regularly see stories like this one and this one floating around. But there is good news. The report points out that they hope to fix the problem, and soon. The DoD should finally toss floppies in the dustbin by 2017. Let’s hope they changed those launch codes, too.