Government’s Impending Technology Crisis

The federal government is failing to adequately invest in new information technology, instead spending billions of dollars a year operating and maintaining computer systems that in some cases have components dating back to the days of President John F. Kennedy.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the system used by the Internal Revenue Service to update taxpayer accounts relies on 56-year-old, low-level computer code that is difficult to write and maintain. The Veterans Affairs Department tracks claims for veteran benefits and eligibility using a suite of COBOL mainframe applications that were developed more than five decades ago. And the Pentagon coordinates the operations of our nuclear forces, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, through a 1970s computing system that uses 8-inch floppy disks.

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