img Explainer

Software Upgrades
ONC Editorial

May 30, 2023

This Explainer discusses the significance of software within U.S. infrastructure.

One of the most overlooked aspects of infrastructure is software. Most of the software that runs our most critical infrastructure is outdated, or needlessly integrated. This presents numerous issues for the government, taxpayers and national security.

Software tends to be slow when it’s outdated. Yet, much of the U.S. government relies on software that is ancient relative to quickly evolving technology. 

When we update the software on our devices, it’s not just to keep our devices functional and speedy, it also patches security issues and other vulnerabilities. As of 2021, much of critical U.S. infrastructure is in desperate need of cybersecurity updates. As new malware is continually developed, there needs to be constant maintenance. This requires exorbitant amounts of money, which some experts have characterized as a “black hole.” The size and scale of this issue has led to calls that critical infrastructure be increasingly decoupled from software, lest the issue become more onerous.

The sizable role that software plays when it comes to infrastructure should be fully comprehended. It’s not something that can be updated periodically, nor is it something that we ought to have in every aspect of our infrastructure. We must recognize the proper role it plays in creating an efficient system and manage it in a meaningful manner that does not frivolously waste taxpayer money or create opportunities for those who seek to damage infrastructure.

To see all sources consulted to write this article and/or to learn more about this article's author, click here.

comments powered by Disqus

Video Site Tour


Subscribe to ONC Newsletter.