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Windows 10 vital to US Air Force preparedness

The 2016 LTSB version of Windows 10 will have mainstream support until 2021. (Source: Softpedia)
The 2016 LTSB version of Windows 10 will have mainstream support until 2021. (Source: Softpedia)
The US Department of Defense has stated that the United States Air Force (USAF) must ensure its computers are operating Windows 10 by March 31, 2018. The Microsoft OS is considered to be a crucial component in the overall readiness of the armed service branch.

The US Air Force is under strict orders to upgrade all its computer systems to the most secure version of Windows: Windows 10. It’s easy to forget (or turn a blind eye) to the fact that some of the world’s most crucial information systems are operating on Windows. Consider how frustrating it is when that OS won’t do something it is programmed to do and you’re ready to throw your laptop against the wall. Now imagine that same situation but on a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The fact that the USAF is also the specialized armed service in regard to cyberwarfare highlights how important this issue actually is.

However, compatibility issues have stricken a large number of machines in the USAF, meaning a huge US Department of Defense purchase order is likely coming soon to replace computers that can’t operate Windows 10. Apparently, the popular Microsoft OS is not compatible with some of the USAF’s existing network, which of course could lead to potential cyber threats. The Air Force has until March 31, 2018 to migrate completely to Windows 10, otherwise compromised systems will be barred (or "quarantined") from the Air Force Network. This could be costly for the military, with the DoD having to dip into its half-trillion dollar budget.

Windows 10 operates on an estimated 600 million computers worldwide. It is important for the USAF to upgrade its systems to reduce the threat of hacking, which older operating systems are more susceptible to. For example, the infamous WannaCry attack of 2017 was particularly brutal on the thousands of computers used by the UK’s National Health Service, which still mostly relied on Windows XP at the time.



USAF (official website)

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Daniel R Deakin, 2018-02-15 (Update: 2018-02-16)