The U.S. nuclear program still uses eight-inch floppy disks and 40-year-old IBM computer tech, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO).
GAO found that the Pentagon still has such old IT infrastructure that it still uses a 1970s-era IBM Series/1 computer system that requires “eight-inch floppy disks” to coordinate America’s nuclear and ballistic missiles. The disks, which can hold around 80kb each, were already becoming obsolete during the late 70s, and were soon replaced by less floppy 3.5 to 5.25-inch disks, before being completely replaced by the compact disc (CD) by the 1990s.
Yet the system is still being used for the operational functions for the U.S. nuclear program, and the GSO report says Washington spends upwards of $60 billion dollars a year operating and maintaining this incredibly obsolete tech.
According to The Register, the GAO report stated that the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS) “[c]oordinates the operational functions of the United States’ nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts. This system runs on an IBM Series/1 computer — a 1970s computing system — and uses 8-inch floppy disks,” though it added that the DOD “plans to update [SACCS’s] data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017.”
In general, the watchdog reports criticized federal IT investment as spending billions on outdated and obsolete technology and keeping important systems tied to 16-bit computers and decades-old hardware that is no longer supported. To put the use of eight-inch floppies into perspective, the average modern flash drive can hold the equivalent of about 3.2 million floppy disks.
Use of horrifically outdated technology by federal departments didn’t stop at the DOD, however. GAO also noted that the Treasury Department still calculates tax returns on a 56-year-old IBM mainframe with programs written in assembly code. Even worse, unlike the DOD, the Treasury says it has no plans to update its 1950s-era systems.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3137164/8-inch-floppy-disks-still-running-u-s-nukes-program-uses-1970s-ibm-computer-tech/#Lc1oSLXALFDlZHpo.99