The U.S Military is still using outdated floppy disks, an old fashioned form of memory storage, to coordinate its nuclear operations, a new report has revealed.
The disks, some of which are over 30 years old, are key in operational activities such as the potential use of intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombs and tanker support aircraft.
The report, entitled ‘Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems,’ urges agencies to replace their current systems with modern technology.
It also reveals that outdated systems are being used by other federal agencies such as for the revenue service and internal prisons, whilst taxpayers spend $61bn a year on maintenance of aging technologies.
“Federal legacy IT systems are becoming increasingly obsolete: Many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported,” the report said.
“Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old.”
The Defense department has confirmed it will soon upgrade its nuclear-related technology system. Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, department spokeswoman, said: “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.”
Meanwhile in a testimony to Congress, the chief technology officer of the Internal Revenue Service claimed that although the agency still uses outdated IT systems, “it is not our preference to do so.”
“Our ultimate goal is to retire all of them as quickly as possible,” said Terence Milholland, the IRS tech officer.
The report said that the Pentagon will replace all outdated systems by the end of 2020.