The U.S. Defense Department is still using 8-inch floppy disks in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.

According to a report from the US Governmental Accountabilty Office, major governmental agencies use IT systems that are up to 50 years old.

Some examples

The Department of Defense, for example, runs its “Strategic Automated Command and Control System” on a 1970’s IBM Series/1 that uses 8-inch floppy disks.

The system coordinates the operational functions of the USA nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts.

The agency plans to update its systems by the end of fiscal year 2017.

The Department of the Treasury uses softwares written in assembly language on a IBM mainframe. No update will planned.

Also Department of Veterans Affairs uses IBM mainframes, but with a software written in Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL), and no update is already planned.

The full report

But after all, apart (obvious) reliability problems, ancient systems are really less safe than newer ones?