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Jared Kushner gave a speech recently, and one thing stood out and shocked most people, and this was that the Department of Defense is still using 8-inch floppy disks.
In the speech, Kushner, who is head of the White House Office of American Innovation revealed the technology tendencies of the federal government,, and they are not with the times it seems. 8-inch floppy disk storage was once the in-thing in computer technology. However, this was back during the early 1980s,, and now most people think of them as being redundant.
Floppy Disks Are Now Out-Dated, Cloud Storage Is The In-Thing
Floppy disks were used as a way of backing up and storing files,, and they did a great job at that, but now the technology is old and outdated, and there are far better ways to backup and store data.
Around 1986 the 8-inch floppy disk became out of date as in came desktop computers and the arrival of a brand new floppy disk, the 5.25 inch. In the middle of the 1990s everyone had turned to using the 3.5-inch disk,, and then another form of storage media came into play, the CD-ROM. Now in 2017 storage is done through the Cloud mainly, leaving disks and CD-ROMs in the past, apart from the Department of Defense it seems.
The news that they still rely on 8-inch floppy disks does not come from alternative facts as Kushner took most of them from the government reports that exist, with the majority of them going back to the era of President Obama. Some details that come from the US Government Accountability Office report of 2016 are mind-bending. They note the use of media that is out of date and which is a legacy system that helps to coordinate the operation functions of the nuclear forces of the nation.
The report goes on to give details about the ages of the many systems in the agency; this includes those that are being used by the Department of Treasury, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice and Social Security Administration. This also includes the fact that many of them are still running on COBOL, which was a language used in programming which was first developed in the 1950s.
Departments Still Use Paper Forms
Many of the services are running with the use of paper forms, Kushner said that this includes around 90% of the forms used in healthcare. Even documents that have made their way to electronic forms are suffering behind bureaucracy and legacy systems.
Kushner revealed that the 500 Veterans Affairs documents cannot be accessed by the modern web browsers of today. The Paper Reduction Act of 1980 is that outdated and old that it does not take into account the internet or computerized systems. This is despite the fact that it has control over all of the documents that are filed with the government online.
Kushner did outline some plans that are aggressive to make the move of the 6,100 data centers of the government, along with 1.6 million civilian email account to services that are cloud based. This is something that might essentially save the government many millions of dollars. Of course, at the, same time it will boost concerns about security as many of the agencies do have dealings with the personal data of many millions of people in the United States.
The data center initiative will continue some of the work that started with the Obama administration. The administration has tried for years to identify along with consolidate the data centers of the federal government, which was at a time counted close to 11,000.
The information Kushner offered is disturbing when taking into account that he oversees a group of technology geeks, some of whom have now left the private sector temporarily and joined the U.S Digital Services. The group was formed by Barack Obama in 2014 and an update was revealed saying that the work is going to continue under president Trump.
USDS is going to be in the spotlight when the CEOs of the some of the biggest technology companies, such as Apple, had to the White House for the American Technology Round Table of Kushner, who will give insight on plans to modernize the federal government.