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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Department of Defense feels (traditional) faxing woes

Next to the printer, the fax machine is often the most maligned office device.

Too many moving parts, too much upkeep and too much expense. Traditional fax machines seem as though they are from a bygone era (remember the Telex?)

Even the U.S. Department of Defense feels traditional faxing woes. MuckRuck, a public records request service, reported that their recent (faxed) Freedom of Information Act requests came back as undeliverable.

Is the DoD out of cash? Not exactly.

Since the MuckRuck story broke on September 12th, there's been a lot of speculation as to why the DoD (whose annual budget is more than $400B according to Bloomberg) can't afford a new fax machine.

Turns out, they can. Aaron Grave, the the OSD/JS FOIA team chief, cleared up the details for U.S. News and World report two days later.

"I simply said that if one (a new/replacement fax) was not currently available, we might have to wait until the start of the next fiscal year ... That is not due to lack of funds. ... [W]e were only made aware of the issue last week and are working to get it resolved as quickly as possible."

The DoD's fiscal year starts on October 1. Hey DoD, maybe it's time to try online faxing!

UPDATE 9/20/2013: Reports are coming in that the DoD has found a fax machine!


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