PLA Newspapers and Magazines: Decoding the Military Application of Blockchain Technology

Author: Lian Lin, & T. (Author: National Defense University of Defense Technology Strategic Studies think tank)

As the key technology of the fourth industrial revolution that some people think, blockchain has the characteristics of transparency, tamper resistance, and decentralization, and is widely used in social life. Correspondingly, the blockchain also has broad application prospects in military fields such as weapon life tracking, military human resource management, military material procurement, and military logistics.

Take the full life tracking of weapons and equipment as an example. Weapons and equipment need to record and record a large number of data such as design plans, test results, and combat technology status during the whole life cycle, from project demonstration and demonstration, research and development, delivery to service, and retirement. Currently, paper or electronic media are commonly used as storage media. In this traditional method, there is no disaster recovery mechanism in the first place. Once an unforeseen major disaster occurs, data can be easily lost forever. The second is the difficulty of transferring and transferring. When transferring equipment, a large amount of file materials need to be transferred together, which is easy to be damaged or lost. Third, there is a lack of effective supervision. Except for the relevant personnel of the equipment user, others cannot monitor the archives, and it is difficult to avoid illegal operations such as tampering and deletion.

If blockchain technology is introduced, higher-level authorities, equipment management departments, equipment users, and even equipment manufacturers will participate in the updating and maintenance of weapons and equipment to form a balanced and supervised archives registration network. Keeping a complete archive copy can effectively solve the above problems and improve the security, convenience and credibility of the archive.

In addition, in military logistics, blockchain technology also has a lot of application space. Modern military logistics is moving towards the intelligent era, including intelligent warehousing, intelligent packaging, intelligent transportation, and intelligent distribution. To truly realize intelligence, it is inseparable from the intelligence of participants such as logistics departments, warehouses, supplies, tools and supplies demanders. Such a network of people and things actually constitutes a small Internet of Things. Using traditional centralized management strategies to achieve system operation has many problems.

Blockchain technology can effectively solve the problems of network communications, data preservation, and system maintenance faced by intelligent military logistics. The dynamic and autonomous networking of people and things in the system forms a decentralized peer-to-peer network without the need for a central server. The distributed structure improves the survivability of the system; nodes connected to the network can directly or through relay Communicate in a way to achieve free information interaction; important data information in the logistics chain, such as user needs, storage of goods, loading and transportation, and distribution and transfer, are stored in each block in a unified manner; the maintenance of the block chain must be supervised by nodes throughout the network. Illegal operation of nodes will be rejected and resisted by most nodes, thereby ensuring the orderly and efficient operation of the system.

When paying attention to blockchain technology and its applications, we should also fully evaluate the threats and impacts that this technology may be maliciously used by criminals or organizations on national security. For example, the abuse of digital currencies disrupts the financial order, the difficulty of tracking illegal and criminal activities, and the difficulty in preventing and controlling ideological penetration.

The technological innovation of the blockchain brings the qualitative change of information from free transmission to free notarization, which is likely to become a disruptive technology for future network basic protocols and credit paradigms, creating new application values ​​in the information age. On the one hand, we must pay attention to the military application prospects of blockchain technology and promote the improvement of the military's combat effectiveness with technological innovation; on the other hand, we must also pay close attention to the negative impact that this technology may have on national security and strengthen risk prevention.