THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
This forthright testimony by the Assistant Secretary of Defense reveals just how vulnerable the entire Western defense system is. Congressman Horn's July, 1996 report says that the Defense department has 358 million lines of code. There is no top-down command system to make sure all of the repairs fit into the overall communications system. Social Security worked from 1989 to 1996 to correct 6 million lines of code. The Defense Department's computers use arcane languages that are far more obscure than COBOL. Very few younger programmers understand COBOL, let alone these even more obscure languages. The message here is clear: the U.S. military will have an unreliable communications and command system, beginning in 2000.