Fortunately, though, the future of humanity is no longer at the mercy of an obsolete 8-inch disk, as the U.S. military has finally stopped using this technological remnant to control the arsenal of nuclear weapons. If you are too young to know what a floppy disk is, you may be surprised to learn that it depends on your life. And if you know what a floppy disk is, you’ll probably be
even more surprised by it.
In an interview with C4 Esronet, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Rossi of the Air Force’s 595th Strategic Communications Squadron – which oversees the SSC’s daily activities – explained that the floppies were finally dropped in June this year. A few details of the upgrade have been made public, but Rossi says the old disks have been replaced by a “highly secure hard-state digital storage solution”.
It developed in 1960 floppy disks disappeared from conventional use several decades ago, but remain the primary data storage system of the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS), which operates in the United States to operate nuclear missiles and bombers.
Despite the many limitations of using technology half a century ago, Rossi says, the continued use of floppy disks has actually helped make the world a safer place, because “you can’t hack anything that doesn’t have an IP address.” This is a time-consuming process, and usually requires circuits to be re-wired and snored under a microscope – modern day technicians are not trained to do anything. For this reason, the military relies heavily on older civilian technicians to fix their faulty floppies, as new recruits simply do not have the skills to maintain the hardware. Yet maintenance problems have ultimately driven the need for modernization, as replacement sources for defective components are often impossible, meaning they all need to be repaired.
A 2016 report by the US Government Accountability Office (USGAO) states that the SCCC has been using IBM Series / 1 computer since the 1970s, and $ 61 billion is spent each year to maintain the system. The USGAO wrote that the Department of Defense “planned to update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals and desktop
terminals,” eventually ending the age of floppy disks.