Some U.S. government agencies are using IT systems running Windows 3.1, the decades-old COBOL and Fortran programming languages, or computers from the 1970s.
A backup nuclear control messaging system at the U.S. Department of Defense runs on an IBM Series 1 computer, first introduced in 1976, and uses eight-inch floppy disks, while the Internal Revenue Service's master file of taxpayer data is written in assembly language code that's more than five decades old, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
Some agencies are still running Windows 3.1, first released in 1992, as well as the newer but unsupported Windows XP, Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, noted during a Wednesday hearing on outdated government IT systems.
The government is spending more than US$80 billion a year on IT, and "it largely doesn't work," Chaffetz said during a House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. "The federal government is years, and sometimes decades, behind the private sector."