U.S. Defense Department Still Using 8-Inch Floppy Disks to Coordinate Nuclear Force Operations



As reported at CNBC, the United States Department of Defense is still using 8 inch floppy disks in 2016. Are you kidding me, I had no idea they were even still available. According to the report, the 8-inch floppy disks are used in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces. UNREAL. So lets get this straight, we are spending tax payer dollars on the US military and national defense for military trans-gender sensitivity training and creating a “green Navy fleet,” but they can’t see to upgrade the IT systems that handle and coordinate nuclear force operations?

Maybe they use the ’80s flick “War Games” as a training film, too.

The U.S. Defense Department is still using — after several decades — 8-inch floppy disks in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces, a jaw-dropping new report reveals.

The Defense Department’s 1970s-era IBM Series/1 Computer and long-outdated floppy disks handle functions related to intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircraft, according to the new Government Accountability Office report.

Floppy disk

The department’s outdated “Strategic Automated Command and Control System” is one of the 10 oldest information technology investments or systems detailed in the sobering GAO report, which calls for a number of federal agencies “to address aging legacy systems.”

The report shows that creaky IT systems are being used to handle important functions related to the nation’s taxpayers, federal prisoners and military veterans, as well as to the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
“Federal legacy IT systems are becoming increasingly obsolete: Many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are unsupported,” the report found. “Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old.”

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  • Comments

    One Response to “U.S. Defense Department Still Using 8-Inch Floppy Disks to Coordinate Nuclear Force Operations”

    1. A Texas Grandfather on May 26th, 2016 11:03 am

      For those too young to remember, the 8″ floppy disk was developed by IBM to use for patches or updates to the System 370 computer operating system. This occurred in the late 1960′s. That is very close to fifty years.

      The small system 1 computer used the 8″ disks for I/O (input/output) rather than tape. Many of the mini-computer companies also used 8″ floppies for the same purpose beginning in the 1970′s.

      Our military was using totally outdated equipment for less strategic applications as early as the 1980′s.

      Some journalist on another blog site stated that some systems were also using assembly language to program military computers as if that too was outdated. It is not. If timing of the program is critical, that is the closest language to the computer that can readily be understood by the programmer.

      Machine code is binary, one and zero and the electronics in the chips only understand voltage levels where the numeral one may be assigned to five volts and zero to zero volts or depending on the design the voltage levels may be reversed.

      Our Federal government, including the military has grown so large that it is difficult to manage. The strategic systems in general should be constantly monitored so that they are updated in a meaningful way to take advantage of new equipment.

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