Politics

Gov’t Wastes Over $55 BILLION On 50-Year-Old Technology

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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The government invests billions in updating government technology each year, and somehow still uses outdated systems that are inefficient and waste taxpayer money.

In some cases, the government uses technology that’s 50 years old, Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Lankford said in his second annual “Federal Fumbles” report.

The Department of Defense, for instance, still uses 8-inch floppy disks — not the small kind that fits in a pocket, the bigger, older version — to manage the nuclear weapons system. The Department of the Treasury catalogs taxpayers using software originally created in the 1960s. The Department of Veterans Affairs tracks benefits claims, employee time cards and payroll on code that was first created in the 1950s.

The Government Accountability Office found that in 2015, federal agencies spent more than $55 billion of the government’s $80 billion technology budget on “services that do not use solutions often viewed as more efficient.”

The technology example is just one way that “federal government has dropped the ball,” Lankford said in a statement Monday. Lankford’s report lists numerous other examples of “grants that need oversight, regulations and regulators that need oversight, agency bureaucracy and inefficiency, and a lack of coordination between agencies.” (RELATED: 9 Shockingly Stupid Examples Of Federal Government Waste)

President Barack Obama has pushed a variety of programs to update the government’s technology infrastructure, including a brand new department that was supposed to consult other federal agencies on how to better use digital systems. That project has not yielded strong results, and has yet to deliver promised budget savings. (RELATED: Obama’s Tech ‘Startup’ Has Some Major Financial Problems)

Updating government technology has been a big issue during the past decade, but Lankford notes that as the cost of maintaining old systems grows, investment in new technology decreases.

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