Computer Crash Wipes Out Years of Air Force Investigation Records
Fraud and abuse investigations dating back to 2004 vanished when a database became corrupted, service officials said. The U.S. Air Force has lost records concerning 100,000 investigations into everything from workplace disputes to fraud. A database that hosts files from the Air Force’s inspector general and legislative liaison divisions became corrupted last month, destroying data created between 2004 and now, service officials said. Neither the Air Force nor Lockheed Martin, the defense firm that runs the database, could say why it became corrupted or whether they’ll be able to recover the information. Lockheed tried to recover the information for two weeks before notifying the Air Force, according to a service statement. The Air Force has begun asking for assistance from cybersecurity professionals at the Pentagon as well as from private contractors. “We’ve kind of exhausted everything we can to recover within [the Air Force] and now we’re going to outside experts to see if they can help,” said Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon. For now, Air Force officials don’t believe the crash was caused intentionally.
“We are aware of the data corruption issue in the Air Force’s Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS) and are working with the Air Force to identify the cause, and restore the lost data,” Maureen Schumann, a company spokeswoman, said in an email.
Database corruption erases 100,000 Air Force investigation records Inspector General’s case tracking system data back to 2004 lost.
Apparently, backing up the database is not covered in this document.
The database of the Air Force’s Automated Case Tracking System (ACTS)—which is used by the Air Force Inspector General’s Office to manage investigations into complaints from whistleblowers of waste, fraud, and abuse; Freedom Of Information Act requests; and congressional inquiries—has become corrupted, rendering over 100,000 case files dating back to 2004 unreadable. And because of the way the database was backed up, an Air Force spokesperson said that neither the service nor Lockheed Martin—the contractor that operates the ATCS system for the Air Force—can recover the data.
“The database crashed and there is no data,” Ann Stefanak of Air Force Media Operations said in a statement to press. “We’ve kind of exhausted everything we can to recover [the data internally]… and now we’re going to outside experts to see if they can help.” Efforts are being made to see if the data was backed up in other locations, and the Air Force has begun asking for help from other organizations within the Department of Defense and from outside experts in recovering the database’s contents.
Air Force officials were informed by Lockheed Martin employees of the database crash on June 6 after the company spent two weeks attempting to recover the data. While much of the data in the system was historical, ACTS is primarily used to track ongoing investigations and inquiries—and those cases are now “experiencing significant delays,” Stefanek said.