Why US and NATO Military are looking at Blockchain

By GovInsider

US defence research unit wants a comms platform built on Blockchain tech.

The US defence research agency and NATO have announced intentions to use Blockchain in their military. The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking to build a secure messaging platform based on Blockchain.

In May this year, the agency put out a request for proposal for the project. DARPA is looking for a messaging app for secure communications between departments and potentially with combat troops in the field too.

A platform based on Blockchain would have messages and files stored on a network of distributed servers, rather than a central location. This makes it harder to hack, and easier to detect threats.

If “significant portions of the DoD [Department of Defence] back office infrastructure can be decentralized, ‘smart documents and contracts’ can be instantly and securely sent and received,” DARPA says, “thereby reducing exposure to hackers and reducing needless delays in DoD backoffice correspondence.”

Once a working prototype has been built and tested, the department will go onto full-scale implementation, and even commercialisation of the service.

Meanwhile, NATO has called for more general applications of Blockchain, including in military logistics, procurement and finance.

It invited proposals as part of an innovation challenge in April. In finance, Blockchain can ensure that transactions and payments are closely tracked, and cannot be tampered with.

The UK and Sri Lankan Governments, for instance, is trialling it for welfare payments. In logistics, it can be used to log and monitor valuable goods as they move through the supply chain.

IBM, for example, has built a platform allowing supply chain companies to test the use of Blockchain for moving high-value items.

GovInsider is running a strategic foresight breakfast on 28 October where Australia's CSIRO will present on plans for blockchain in the public sector. If you are interested in attending the event, please fill in the form below. [download_form list_id="e02cdb697d"] Image by U.S. Army; CC BY 2.0