US military seeks contractor to turn 2 tons of top secret data ‘to ash’

A US Navy warfare center is looking to hire a security-obsessed firm to burn two tons of hardware “to ash.” The devices were likely used to store top secret data – and the Navy clearly doesn’t want to take any chances.

The peculiar solicitation, issued by the Naval Surface Warfare Center at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, seeks a contractor that boasts “secure entry, 24-hour armed guards and 24/7 camera surveillance with recordable date and time capabilities.”

That won’t be enough to ensure that the condemned electronics don’t fall into the wrong hands, however. In addition, government representatives will remain onsite during the destruction process, which is expected to take between eight and 10 hours. The incineration facility must not be located more than 10 driving hours from the White Sands Missile Range.

Given the strict prerequisites, it’s not clear how many firms would qualify for the job, which involves burning 4,000Ib of storage devices “to ash.” What the devices store – or used to store – remains a closely guarded secret, but the emphasis on tight security (not to mention the desire to turn thousands of pounds of hard drives into dust) leaves the door open to all kinds of imaginative speculation.

The Navy center is involved in “storage, assembly, integration, live-fire testing, and recovery of missile, gun, and rocket systems” – so perhaps the Navy is trying to destroy all traces of a deadly, futuristic weapon… maybe “Cuban crickets”?