• The United States Army is utilizing blockchain technology for tactical-level data management

  • US Army engineers are leveraging blockchain technology for tactical-level data management at the Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center.

    As part of its Information Trust program, the center is developing a new data management capability. It was also one of several prototype technologies put through their paces during the Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX). In May, this was held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

    Contingencies are being removed.

    The program’s core goal is to provide soldiers with “a mathematical, verifiable way of vetting their data, from sensor to shooter and producer to consumer,” according to C5ISR computer engineer Humza Shahid.

    Rather than confronting superior arms, an enemy will frequently strike at lines of support or communication to cause disruption. In modern warfare, armies can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than physical ones, so digital infrastructure must be strengthened.

    For example, an adversary may seize control of a network, allowing them to manipulate data transmissions before they reach end users. The goal is to eliminate this possibility by transitioning to a secure blockchain. By eliminating so-called “man in the middle” attacks, commanding officers can have complete trust in their information when making critical decisions.

    The integrity of data

    While NetModX was running, program officials were working on information trust technology aimed at improving authentication applications. Shahid went on to say that they did this “to validate who a user is expected to be, without looking at just their login.” Army commanders were also able to improve data integrity as it moved through the network. They could detect anomalies in transmitted data by using machine learning applications.

    Indeed, much of the research on data and information assurance has concentrated on data provenance. This can be thought of as establishing the credibility of the data’s source. According to Shahid, they were able to use that capability “in a tactical environment over radio waveforms with limited connectivity.” “Our data provenance piece is looking at blockchain technology to provide that immutability or traceability,” he added.

    The use of blockchain by the military

    Tezos became the first blockchain to be used for operational purposes by a government entity in 2019. The French Army had been using blockchain to validate its judicial expenses through a smart contract. Specifically, the French Army’s cybercrime division, CN3, collaborated with Tezos.

    To cover operational costs, CN3 used a program to obtain cryptocurrency payments from Europol-allocated funds. C3N had chosen Tezos to record each cost in order to keep these funds traceable and auditable. They then used the blockchain to create a smart contract to accomplish this.

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