South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that their efforts to streamline the operations in the defense sector would involve building a blockchain platform. DAPA is in charge of improving the defense capabilities of the nation, providing military supplies and fostering the defense industry. It has established four core policies aimed at achieving the assigned tasks:
- Secure the growth engine of the defense industry by removing R&D obstacles and introducing bold regulatory reforms
- Promote technical innovation for enterprises and ventures
- Transform into an export-oriented industry through technology cooperation
- Establish Defense Industry Promotion System in attempts to secure competitiveness and export capabilities of businesses
Blockchain has piqued the interest of many industries since its inception, including the military and defense industry. Owing to its decentralized and transparent nature, the defense arm of South Korea charged with military acquisition, is planning to use blockchain in order to improve business operations.
Working with DAPA on this particular blockchain venture are Defense Agency for Technology and Quality and the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), which contribute to enforcing the national defense, improving the national R&D capacity, and fostering the domestic defense industry.
There are several reasons for incorporating blockchain in the country’s defense system. The technology can potentially prevent illegal alteration of defense business data. Moreover the three agencies are also hoping to improve the credibility of arms procurement operations by recording the acquisition process and its details including initial bids to final evaluation, on blockchain.
In addition, management of business proposal submission would be automated thus eliminating the inconvenience that comes with the traditional documentation process. The new blockchain system would also help in reducing the burden on defense companies because it will allow for a unified management of arms transportation and notifications.
However, streamlining the defense industry is not the only goal of this blockchain project. Kim Tae-gon, senior planning and coordination officer at DAPA has said that the project is actually a part of the agency’s plan to provide innovative public services via blockchain.
This wouldn’t be DAPA’s first blockchain rodeo. In fact earlier in January the agency launched a pilot for the development of blockchain applications in the defense industry where defense companies were encouraged to apply for funding through the website of the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), a sub-organization of the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT.
Reportedly the South Korean government has planned to invest up to $530,000 into each project to contribute to the development of so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4IR) technologies.
Blockchain and Defense Industry
Blockchain, like all technology, isn’t a cure-all but there is also no denying that different facets of military could benefit from the technology.
Tracing Defense-Related Shipments and Contracts
Supply chain is critical in maintaining almost every industry. However, considering the defense military’s supply chain comprises of lethal arms, the stakes are significantly higher. It is imperative to have a proper record of shipments.
NATO is also working on using blockchain to streamline military logistics, procurement and finance. Back in 2016, the NATO Communications and Information Agency announced an innovation challenge aimed at accelerating transformational, state-of-the-art technology solutions. One of the focus areas in the challenge was military applications of blockchains.
Blockchain is more efficient than the traditional messaging and data transfer systems because it is decentralized, which makes it less appealing to hackers and less prone to fraudulent activities.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is actually looking into implementing blockchain in this area. The DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to use blockchain to create a secure messaging service to help secure communications between different departments and even potentially with troops in combat.
Defense for Cyber Warfare
Technological dependency has rendered us vulnerable in the face of a new kind of threat: cyber attacks. Take the example of the United States energy sector owing to its connected grids and dependence on computing technologies it was the most targeted sector by hackers in 2014, with 79 incidents recorded. Blockchain is an advanced and safer option for security infrastructure as compared to centralized, prone-to-error systems.
United States is also working currently exploring blockchain-powered defense options as in February last year, President Donald Trump signed a $700 billion military spending bill that included mandate for a blockchain cybersecurity research study
Even though the application of blockchain technology is limited to only certain aspects of the defense industry, it wouldn’t be too ludicrous to believe that it will be getting a blockchain upgrade soon.