According to the U.S. Department of Defense, blockchain has “a lot of potential” to help the way troops respond to disaster relief.
During a recent meeting of the Troop Support division of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in Philadelphia, hosted by the Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) office, CPI management analyst Elijah Londo talked about what blockchain could bring to the table.
“The potential is absolutely enormous,” Londo said. “Talk about blockchain, and you’ll hear experts comparing it to transforming trust or transactions in the same way the internet changed communication.”
Most of the help would be logistical. Right now, the DLA handles its logistics through centrally-managed systems, and that makes it a bit difficult to synchronize all of the data and make sure everything being tracked is up to date and current. Blockchain tech could improve the way the supply chain operates and help with the visibility of shipments by tracking the most current data.
Marko Graham, the deputy director of the DLA’s Construction and Equipment unit, said the potential for shipment visibility would be a great boon to efforts.
“This is where I can see where blockchain would have been a big help [in the relief efforts]. Flowing material specifications and tracking data from the manufacturer buying the raw materials to … getting the transportation and getting it on the barges,” Graham said.
Londo said the department is excited about what blockchain could do for the future of aid.
“We’re researching the technology. We’re getting as smart as we can about what it is, what industry is saying about it, what the future might look like, how it applies to supply chains and how other industries are using it,” Londo said. “We’re doing our due diligence.”
Other agencies have also looking into blockchain’s potential. The Department Of Homeland Security said it wanted to improve its ability to spot fake documents, and other issues, using blockchain solutions. The department offered $800,000 to startups for help.