America’s nuclear defences rely on floppy discs and 1970s computers, according to audit

Nothing new per se in this article other than the announcement of upgrades, finally. However, it’s likely too little, too late. Alarm bells went off over this issue years ago as detailed in previous posts:

America’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Still Controlled By Antique Computers With Floppy Disks

Russia’s nuclear weapon arsenal surpasses US


America’s nuclear force still uses floppy disks designed in the 1970s to coordinate some of its functions, according to a watchdog report released on Wednesday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office points to a number of worryingly outdated “legacy systems” still in use across the US government that are in desperate need of upgrading.

A Pentagon command and control system – responsible for US nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircraft – runs on an IBM Series/1 computer and uses 8-inch floppy disks, the report says.

That type of computer debuted in 1976, when Gerald Ford was in the White House.

“This system remains in use because, in short, it still works,” said Lt Col Valerie Henderson, Pentagon spokeswoman.

“However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with secure digital devices by the end of 2017,” she added.

“Modernisation across the entire Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) enterprise remains ongoing.”

It is not the first time US nuclear defences have been exposed as antiquated.

A recent audit found its 60-year-old nuclear arsenal had fallen into serious disrepair since the end of the Cold War and will require billion dollars of upgrades and fixes to be brought back up to standard.

Full article: America’s nuclear defences rely on floppy discs and 1970s computers, according to audit  (The Telegraph)

One response to “America’s nuclear defences rely on floppy discs and 1970s computers, according to audit

  1. Reblogged this on Rifleman III Journal and commented:
    An interesting observation concerning antiquated systems controlling US nuclear defenses, as there are also state of the art systems online. The older systems work, therefore the older technology is in place however, the USS Missouri, was built with analog systems. Analog systems are “slide rule” systems for those older enough to remember those. There is very little that can ever go wrong. EMP, has no effect. Everything is mechanical. Humans operate and maintain those systems. Around ten years ago, the USS Missouri weapons systems were dry checked for accuracy, and they remain, since the late 1930s, with perfect accuracy. Should make everyone think.