U.S. Air Force to Use Blockchain to Manage Logistics, Supply Chain

US Air Force Block Chain
SIMBA Chain

SIMBA Chain, a cloud-based blockchain-as-a-service platform, has been granted a contract to help the U.S. Air Force improve its logistics and supply chain capabilities using blockchain technology.

The Air Force has a highly-complex logistics and supply chain network, moving millions of parts around the world. They are exploring how blockchain can help them to better manage logistics and supply chain management activities.

SIMBA Chain Blockchain Platform

The Air Force will be using SIMBA Chain to securely scale its manufacturing supply chain, following a call put out earlier this year by the Department of Defense through the Small Business Innovation Research program, seeking technologies that can help the service streamline its supply chain and logistics.

“Blockchain technology can securely connect the Industrial Internet of Things, providing a permanent digital ledger and consensus network that democratizes how business and manufacturing are done. This has implications for global industries spanning government to manufacturing to healthcare,” SIMBA Chain said in a press statement.

The blockchain company did not reveal how exactly its platform will be used by the Air Force to shore up its logistics and supply chain capabilities.

SIMBA Chain CEO and Founder Joel Neidig said in the statement that they are “excited to be the first implementers of Blockchain across the entire Digital Thread, not only securing it but applying a non-repudiable and immutable ledger.”

SIMBA Chain was formed in 2017 from a grant awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies and the Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame in order to develop a secure, unhackable messaging and transaction platform for the United States military.

Air Force and Blockchain

In 2016, a research report by Major Neil Barnas of the United States Air Force suggested the Air Force to research, develop, and use blockchain technology for cyber security.

“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 report.

Barnas called for a completely new model for cyber defense strategy and recommended using blockchain technology to build secure 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,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, Barnas called the Air Force to establish “a line of research” within the Air Force Research Laboratory to explore blockchain technology. He also recommended the Air Force to find 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 report.

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