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Activity title

Blockchain Technology for Coalition Operations

Activity Reference

IST-186 (IWA)

Panel

Information Systems Technology

Security Classification

PUBLIC RELEASE

Status

Proposed

Activity type

RSM

Start date

2019

End date

2021

Keywords

Blockchain, Coalition Operations, Cyber Security, Data Integrity, Data Management, Defense Decentralized Applications, Resilient Information Exchange, Supply Chain Management

Background

Blockchain is an emerging technology that is projected to offer efficient opportunities for some tasks specifically involving immutable transactions of data and value. Basically, blockchain is a shared and distributed database, which is a linked list of blocks that store transactions and digital records. What makes blockchain as a prominent technology lays down on its design features. First, it is distributed and shared by many participants. In other words, it is not controlled by a centralized authority. Being decentralized provides no single point of failure for the network. Moreover, a blockchain network is trustless. It assumes compromises of the network by both insiders and the outsiders of the network. Second, the chain of records is immutable (i.e. append only) and tamper-resistant. As reported in the literature, the blockchain is thought to be transparently secure by relying on cryptographic data structures rather than on a shared secret among the participants. This characteristic of blockchain technology provides data integrity. Lastly, every participant must agree on the records in blockchain. This introduces a common agreement on data among the participants. Based on those major characteristics, the blockchain technology has the potential to satisfy the need of reliably exchanging information over an untrusted network, where there may exist potential adversaries who try to disrupt and compromise this exchange. Furthermore, the immutable and tamper-resistant nature of the blockchain may guarantee an untampered, undistorted, and unchanged set of data records such as system and transaction logs or operational messages.

Objectives

The objectives of this RSM are to share information and develop relevant research and collaborations regarding blockchain technology in the coalition operations domain; with a specific focus on building common terminology, prioritizing and identifying the standards (e.g., ISO/TC307wg), exploring the related domains and potential use-case scenarios, and constructing a roadmap to employ future blockchain-based technologies and to integrate them with NATO systems and procedures.

Topics

The relevant non-exhaustive list of topics is listed below; emphasis will be given according to the interests of participants and to the challenges common to the coalition operation scenarios to which they apply: • Technical foundations for Blockchain technology such as cyber warfare preparedness, cryptography, technical variations of BCT, identity management and trust between systems, and preventing data theft. • Supply chain system such as tracing the defence shipments and contracts (e.g., smart contracts). • Concept of building Trustworthy military IoT (TMIoT) based on blockchain adoption with IoT sensors, intelligent autonomy, and resilient communication networks. • Command and control such as battlefield management, metadata binding for security labelling (i.e., STANAG 4778/4774), and protecting weapons systems.

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