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The US military is falling behind China and Russia in the blockchain arms race per IBM and others

According to a new white paper by Amazon Web Services, IBM, Deloitte, and others, the United States Department of Defense can
An abstract digital structure showing the concept of blockchain technology with hexadecimal hash data inside each block. This image represents a conceptual design in the domain of IT, cyberspace, cyber security, cryptocurrency or similar industry sectors. The image is a made up 3D concept render.

The briefing, organized by the Value Technology Foundation research institute and co-authored by several private-sector tech businesses, consultancies, and blockchain enterprises, provides a bleak assessment of the current state of the blockchain arms race.

What does the whitepaper say?

“The two superpowers who pose the biggest threat to the United States are both committed to investing in blockchain technology research and development,” according to the publication. With its digital money, China is waging “economic warfare.” Russia is defending itself with a blockchain cyber threat mitigation lab.

According to the briefing, the United States must similarly bootstrap its blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) and warfighter preparedness, and it stands to benefit as soon as it does.

Accenture, AWS, Colvin Run, CGI Federal, ConsenSys, SIMBA Chain, and Networks contributed to the paper. Apart from these, AWS, IBM, and Deloitte are the other contributors.

In terms of cybersecurity, blockchain might help the military with everything from “weapons release” to preventing data erasure, which is impossible with append-only databases. Multi-party authentication, on the other hand, could strengthen command and control methods.

The researchers stated that the system might be made more secure with blockchain if many parties maintain commanding authority and hence must establish a consensus to operate. This might be especially beneficial to the Space Force, the US military’s newest arm.

As per the group, blockchain might help the Space Force by introducing multi-factor authentication for satellite communication systems. According to the paper, conventional systems are inherently insecure, and they’ve been exploited or proven vulnerable in the past. These vulnerabilities can be addressed with DLT.

“To confirm an incorrect command, an attacker will need to obtain control of an infinite amount of user identities and be able to utilize those accounts to make activities on the blockchain,” the report continued.

They argued for DLT in the military supply chain using the same logistics playbook that civilian blockchain proponents promote: detecting counterfeit items, tracing provenance, keeping food safe during a recall, and procuring commodities. All of them have security division applications, as per the report.

Nevertheless, DLT has already begun to be implemented in the military supply chain. A few blockchain trials in defense aerospace, aircraft parts additive manufacturing, and naval engineering contracts were detailed in the report.

The group argues that a blockchain-based procurement process would assist defense bureaucracy. Smart contracts could keep track of deals only discussed with authorized parties, with everything viewable to the Defense Department in real-time.

This might bring more transparency and accountability to a massive military-industrial procurement complex that admits to having lost billions of dollars due to contract fraud in 2018.

“Just as the Department of Defense discovered a means to construct new apps and make distributed systems viable on the Internet,” the paper stated, “blockchain offers new capabilities by providing a layer of trust that the Department of Defense may use to better its procurement process.”