Senate Calls Defense Dept. to Conduct Blockchain Cybersecurity Study

The U.S. Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that includes a call for a Blockchain study to be conducted by the Department of Defense.

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The bill comes with an amendment that would “require a report on cyber applications of Blockchain technology,” according to a report in Coin Desk. The amendment was proposed by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.

The study, additional materials indicate, is expected to be delivered six months after the defense bill is signed into law.

The Senate bill provides about $640 billion for the Pentagon’s main operations, such as buying weapons and paying the troops, and some $60 billion to fund the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, according to Reuters.

Blockchain Technology Can Help Build ‘Trustworthy Systems in A Trustless World’

In 2016, a report by Major Neil Barnas of the United States Air Force, prepared an academic research paper, calling the Air Force to research and develop Blockchain technology and use it for national defense.

“The ability of the USAF to prevail in the highly contested environment of 2040 will be dictated by its ability to defend cyber-enabled systems, and the data within them, from compromise and manipulation,” according to the paper.

In 2015, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force tasked Air University’s Blue Horizons Fellowship to explore “what competitive strategies and associated capabilities, capacities, technology investments, and integrating concepts the Air Force should pursue to prevail [in] highly contested environments in 2040.”

Barnas believes that there is a need for an entirely new model for cyber defense strategy. In the paper, he discussed the evolving cyber threat and the strategy of data manipulation; defined what a Blockchain is; analyzed the elements that compose it; and detailed its security attributes. He also discussed proposed uses of Blockchain technology in defense-related applications.

“Blockchains are trustless; they assume compromise by both insiders and outsider. Second, Blockchains are transparently secure; they do not rely on failure-prone secrets, but rather on a cryptographic data structure that provides a secure foundation on which to add additional security protocols. Finally, Blockchains are fault tolerant; they use algorithmic consensus mechanisms to align the efforts of honest nodes to reject those that are dishonest. Together, these properties allow system designers to rethink the fundamental architectures of cyber systems and networks,” reads the paper.

Barnas recommended the development of organic government expertise in Blockchain technology. He called the Air Force to establish “a line of research” within Air Force Research Laboratory to explore the Blockchain technology. He mentioned that research is required to “ensure that Blockchains are sufficiently scalable, adaptable, and secure to support the USAF’s broad array of missions in the air, space, and cyber domains.”

He also recommended the Air Force to seek “partnering opportunities with industry to cooperatively and collaborative develop Blockchain-based technologies for mutual benefit.”

“Blockchain technology offers a new model of security and trust that could significantly mitigate a growing cyber threat. Silicon Valley, large technology firms, and the defense sector have demonstrated their interest and intent to develop new applications; the USAF should harness that momentum,” according to the paper.

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