Gov’t report: Feds spend billions on dated tech, use floppy disks for nuclear forces

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

An obsolete 8-1/2 inch floppy disk is seen in this photo from 2004. (Image: AP/Adam Butler)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional investigators say the government spends about three-fourths of its technology budget maintaining aging computer systems. That includes platforms more than 50 years old in such vital areas as nuclear weapons and Social Security. One still uses floppy disks.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says the increasing cost of maintaining museum-ready equipment drains money that could go for modernization. The report will be released Wednesday.

GAO said it found problems across the government, not just in a few agencies.

One example is the Defense Department’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System, used to send and receive emergency action messages to U.S. nuclear forces. The system is running on a 1970s IBM computing platform, and still uses 8-inch floppy disks to store data. The Pentagon says an upgrade is underway.

As CBS News reported Thursday, the revelations go beyond strategic military preparedness. Several branches of the U.S. government also had outdated technologies that will become even more expensive to maintain as time progresses.

To read more on the additional findings in the report, click here.