It’s been two weeks since the Office of the Secretary of Defense fax machine broke, and they still haven’t been able to fix or replace it. The fax machine in question — yes, you heard that right, facsimile machine — is used for accepting the majority of their Freedom of Information Requests.
The DOD told MuckRock, which first discovered the issue, that it won’t be able to get a new one until “the start of the new fiscal year (at the earliest).”
The agency, which has a $31.8 billion budget for maintenance and operations, will be fax-less until then. In the meantime FOIA requests can be sent by snail mail, or an online form, which according to MuckRock “doesn’t play nice with other systems.”
The agency is dealing with a backlog of over 1,000 FOIA requests, which will no doubt keep them busy until they figure out how to use email.
For reference, the most expensive fax machine listed on Amazon is under $4,000, but it doubles as a professional printer too. The most expensive dedicated fax machine is just $688, and the top rated machine is about $250.