US Nuclear-Launch Capabilities Run From Floppy Disks. Seriously

Gear
Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Did you think the 8-inch floppy disk died in 90s? Think again. The Government Accountability Office recently found that Department of Defense has been using the ancient technology to coordinate the operational functions of the country’s nuclear forces.


Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a DoD spokeswoman, told Agence France-Presse that the department uses the 1970s-era tech “because, in short, it still works.”

According to the report, an IBM Series/1 computer coordinates all the functions related to nuclear bombers, ranker support aircraft, and ballistic missiles.

The GAO said the government is spending a lot more to maintain its computer systems than it is to modernize and develop new technology.

During fiscal year 2015, the government dropped upward of $80 billion on federal IT, 75% of which was dedicated to operation and maintenance — a necessity when dealing with nearly 50-year-old technology.

But the floppy disks’ days are numbered.

“To address obsolescence concerns,” Henderson said, “the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with secure digital devices by the end of 2017.”

Veterans are pushing back against a Wall Street Journal op-ed, in which a woman with no military experience argued that women do not belong in combat units.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump was reeling from sharp rebukes at home and abroad over his surprise announcement last month to immediately pull American troops out of Syria when he flew into the al Asad airbase in neighboring Iraq the day after Christmas.

Inside a canvas Quonset hut, one of the arced prefabricated structures used by the military and surrounded by concertina wire, Trump received operational briefs from U.S. commanders suggesting a territorial victory against Islamic State was within sight, but the military needed just a bit more time, U.S. officials said.

Read More Show Less
Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando

The Coast Guard's top officer is telling his subordinates to "stay the course" after they missed their regularly scheduled paycheck amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

In a message to the force sent Tuesday, Adm. Karl L. Schultz said both he and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary remain "fully engaged" on the missing pay issue, which have caused "anxiety and uncertainty" for Coasties and their families.

Read More Show Less

After years of frequent mechanical failures ad embarrassing cost overruns, the Navy finally plans on deploying three hulls from its much-derided Littoral Combat Ship fleet by this fall after a protracted absence from the high seas, the U.S. Naval Institute reports.

Read More Show Less