The United States has the most advanced nuclear weapons arsenal in the world—but it runs on floppy disks.
According to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, this is just one of many examples of the federal government using absurdly antiquated technology, some of it dating back to the 1950s.
“Agencies reported using several systems that have components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old,” the report said. “For example, the Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.”
Using such outdated systems doesn’t make things cheaper. The federal government spent about $61 billion last year on maintaining old technology, the report says—over 75 percent of the total budget for IT. That kind of spending has resulted in a $7.3 billion drop in funds allocated for “development, modernization, and enhancement activities,” the report says.
The GAO urged the federal government to reevaluate its tech investments as soon as possible.
“Until agencies fully review their at-risk investments,” the report said, “the government’s oversight of such investments will be limited and its spending could be wasteful.”