UnNews:USAF retreats from floppy disks

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USAF retreats from floppy disks

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19 October 2019

This is a 15-year-old file photo of an 8½" floppy disk, like those used by the US Army, until last Thursday, which means we are fortunate the photo was not filed on an 8½" floppy disk, as though it would fit on one.

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN, Colorado -- The U.S. Air Force announced on Thursday that it has pulled out, from 8½" floppy disk drives, the last disk formerly used to receive a Presidential order to launch the nation's nuclear arsenal.

But a bipartisan movement in Congress criticized the pullout, saying it cedes territory to the enemy and threatens thousands of safe, cushy jobs, which are a focus of President Trump. In anticipation of next month's Thanksgiving holiday, Turkey moved in to claim the abandoned territory, stating that 8½" floppy disks would make fine place mats at the dinner table, and perhaps window-shades.

The Department of Defense promised in 2016 to "update its data storage solutions...by the end of fiscal year 2017." Money for this effort was stated as the reason why Mr. Trump signed an "atrocious...just awful" budget in 2018 as a one-time concession, then did so again, earlier this year, as the nation's attention shifted to his impeachment.

The obsolete system monitored Twitter and used heuristics to distinguish a legitimate order to begin Armageddon from a tweet that would eventually be dismissed as "just a joke." It was thought to be completely safe from hackers because it uses passwords devised 40 years ago, while everyone in the military retires after 25 years. Thus, no one could gain access to it, least of all a hacker. Dr. Werner J.A. Dahm of the Scientific Advisory Board stated in 2016 that "You have to certify that an adversary can’t take control of that weapon and it will do what it’s supposed to do when you call on it.” He said that 8½" floppy disks always rise to the call, after a small number of retries.

The replacement system has been certified as just as secure. Small cardboard cards with rectangular punched holes are secured inside Cheyenne Mountain and are out of reach of any hackers. The DoD certifies that there will be minimal problems with "hanging chads," a perennial bugaboo of the American government.