As long as people realize the potential of the blockchain technology to serve as a tool to help the humanity, its global adoption will be smoother and faster. And judging by the most recent statements of the Department of Defense of the United States of America, its potential in helping improve the efficiency of disaster relief processes is “enormous.”

The Defense Logistics Agency, most specifically, its Troop Support division, had a December meeting in the city of Philadelphia, in which the members discussed the hypothetical impact of the blockchain technology on the “successful” efforts in assisting Puerto Rico during the 2017 Hurricane Maria. The Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) office hosted the gathering that took place a few weeks ago.

A Similar Impact that the Internet Had on Communications

“The potential is absolutely enormous,” according to CPI Management Analyst Elijah Londo, quoted in a DLA report of the meeting. “Talk about blockchain, and you’ll hear experts comparing it to transforming trust or transactions in the same way the internet changed communication.”

Whilst it is true that the relief efforts were a success over that terrible time in Puerto Rico last year, the system can be improved. Right now, the DLA uses centrally managed systems to track logistics processes. That development further complicates data synchronizing by the involved agents, making it hard to make sure that the information they are gathering is up-to-date.

Enter the blockchain technology; If it is correctly deployed, the DLA would be able to track the data and optimize supply chain transaction processes and the viability of shipments whilst they are “in transit,” according to the release.

Marko Graham, who currently acts as the Deputy Director of the DLA’s Construction and Equipment unit, identified those situations as the ones in which he can “see where blockchain would have been a big help. Flowing material specifications and tracking data from the manufacturer buying the raw materials to … getting the transportation and getting it on the barges.”

Alliances and Partnerships

The Troop Support’s Continuous Process Improvement is; thus, looking to improve the input of its services along with the U.S. Transportation Command and Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the planet. Coincidentally, Maersk is deeply involved in blockchain projects itself, as it partnered with tech giant IBM to develop a supply chain ecosystem whilst implementing the model.

“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. We’re doing our due diligence,” said Londo about the subject.

The US Department of Defense is not the only governmental agency seeking the help of blockchain technology to improve inputs or productivity. The Department of Homeland Security is looking to use the approach to avoid the use of fake documentation, and is willing to offer grants of $800,000 to startups that can help them achieve their goal.

By Andres Chavez


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