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Pentagon using eight-inch floppy disks to coordinate nuclear weapons, report finds

Published 26/05/2016

Eight-inch floppy: The US Government Accountability Office found that the defense department was still using 1970s-era computer systems. [File pic] Image: Kenpei
Eight-inch floppy: The US Government Accountability Office found that the defense department was still using 1970s-era computer systems. [File pic] Image: Kenpei

The Pentagon coordinates US nuclear weapons – using a floppy disk.

A new report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the country’s department of defence is still using 1970s-era computer systems that require the original eight-inch floppy disks.

Floppy disks became obsolete by the late 1990s as CDs started to be widely used.

The report said: “Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old.

“Department of Defense uses eight-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.

“Department of the Treasury uses assembly language code – a computer language initially used in the 1950s and typically tied to the hardware for which it was developed.”

As part of its investigation, the GAO said that the US government spent more than $80 billion a year on information technology.

It said that the Pentagon used the floppy disks within its “strategic automated command and control system” that coordinates the operational functions of the US’ nuclear forces such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircrafts.

The department plans to update the system by the end of 2017.

Independent

Independent News Service

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