Military officials and institutions around the world are increasingly looking toward the blockchain as the next frontier of defense industry innovation and national security development.
Traditionally the ‘big three’ military powers – China, Russia and the USA – have always been on the lookout for technological innovation to give them an edge over each other. Blockchain technology may be providing a substantial amount of possibility for militaries, particularly in the field of immutable information storage and logistics.
USA and NATO Tap Blockchain as Military Supply Chain Solution
Alongside its traditional NATO allies across the Atlantic, the US is reportedly researching how blockchain technology can be incorporated into military logistics and procurement processes, particularly with regard to the possibility of integrating with IoT frameworks. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Section 1646 specifically names blockchain technology as an area for continued research for military deployment use cases.
The US Naval Air Systems Command recently announced that it is partnering with Indiana-based company ITAMCO for the purpose of changing the Naval Aviation Enterprise from a manual-entry database system to a permissioned blockchain.
They said they were looking into blockchain to help keep tabs on aviation parts, which could help lower the costs of operating and maintaining military aircraft.
In the same vein, there have been indications that the Department of Defense (DOD) may be looking into blockchain implementation to help manage about $100 billion worth of inventory and supplies. According to a 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office, the current DOD system for tracking and delivering supplies has several points of weakness – leakages that could potentially be addressed using a blockchain, as has been done in a non-military setting in China recently.
In 2016, the DOD’s DARPA research unit revealed that it is examining how blockchain technology can be used to secure its weapon data which includes sensitive information like nuclear missile launch codes.
Chinese and Russian Military Blockchain Designs
The Russian military on its part, while not quite as far advanced in its blockchain research as the US is also very interested in blockchain implementation. In June, it was reported that a Russian military research lab was created for the express purpose of studying how blockchain technology can be used to detect and even counter future cyber attacks.
A few weeks later, TASS reported that the Russian Defense Ministry is likely to start implementing blockchain technology subject to its ability to bring Russian cryptographic algorithms into international blockchain standards.
China, has a widely recognised pro-blockchain, anti-crypto stance, with some of the world’s most anti-crypto laws coexisting alongside a burgeoning government-guided blockchain research and implementation ecosystem.
While there has not been any definitive news story linking the Chinese military with blockchain so far, a number of stories and editorials in China’s heavily censored media have admonished defense officials to look into the technology.
One such article appearing earlier this year in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily highlighted how blockchain technology will have a significant number of military applications in the “future of media war”, which is an allusion to the country’s long-running campaign of local and international opinion and information warfare.