Blockchain has promising applications in defence sector, says KPMG

19 August 2019 3 min. read

Blockchain holds the potential to ensure greater transparency, accountability, and security in defence sector applications, according to an article from experts at KPMG Canada.

Blockchain, the secure, distributed ledgers most famously known as the bedrock for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, have been getting a large degree of hype for their application in various industries. From ensuring the authenticity of wine, to revamping marine insurance ledgers, tracking artist royalties, and upping the transparency of the cannabis supply chain, blockchain technology is working its way in to numerous industries.

Blockchain records are virtual blocks populated with data from approved parties, which can be made public, private, or permissioned. The distributed ledgers are programmed with rules that determine who can add to the chain, what can be added, and who can see it. Participants are able to track the blockchain record in real-time, while eliminating the need for centrally managed middle-man ledgers.

According to Grant McDonald, industry sector leader for aerospace & defence at KPMG Canada, the emerging technology has useful applications in the defence sector. “When one better understands how blockchains can facilitate complex transactions, the benefits of applying them to the aerospace and defence industry come into focus,” McDonald explains in a brief article from the consultancy.

Blockchain has promising applications in defence sector

Much of the realistic blockchain applications rest in making the supply chain more transparent, secure, and efficient, as is the case in other industries. “The blockchain can verify that all partners in a defence or aerospace supply chain are operating within established parameters and are indeed who they claim to be,” says McDonald. Verification takes on heightened importance in the defence sector, where critical weapons and systems are in the balance.

The parts and materials used in the industry can also be more effectively tracked with the technology, determining origin and preventing counterfeits. With a blockchain-enhanced supply chain, weapon parts can be tracked from production to delivery. “This is achieved by embedding sensors, reporting processes, and Internet of Things technologies at every step to monitor and report where its materials were sourced from, when and where it was manufactured, how it was transported and stored, and any repairs or maintenance that it has undergone,” McDonald adds.

Blockchain also has the potential to streamline supranational defence projects with allies, allowing participants to securely track commitments. Using smart contracts, allies can automatically commit funds to agreed initiatives and shared infrastructure.

“More than simply enhancing the speed, efficiency, and security of transactions, blockchains can increase transparency and contribute to the defence industry’s higher purpose of safeguarding Canadians and our allies,” concludes McDonald.