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Blockchain: A Panacea for Logistics Information Systems?


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Throughout history, military commanders have identified their supply chains as vulnerable. In times of war, the supply chain is a soft underbelly, rarely protected, and yet when targeted by the enemy it produces catastrophic results. The recent recognition of cyberspace as a warfare domain have provided adversaries with a new way of targeting logistics. Digitization and technological improvements led militaries to adopt lean logistical approaches, often replicating commercial practices. These automated systems promised efficiencies in time and money. These promises rarely eventuated, and while technologies were introduced the underlying logistics structure remained mandraulic, centralized, and vulnerable. Blockchain is the latest technological solution promised to deliver efficiencies to supply chains. This monograph examines the impact of incorporating blockchain technology within the Australian Army's Logistic Information Systems, including whether it can make Logistic Information Systems more efficient and more resilient to cyber attacks. This research uses the Rapid Technology Assessment Framework for Land Logistics to assess blockchain technology to determine how it can be of use, and whether it is better than current systems. It also identifies potential barriers to adoption and required Fundamental Inputs to Capability required to support the implementation of blockchain technology. Like previous technological advancements, Blockchain is not a panacea. It is not the only answer to mitigating vulnerabilities to Logistics Information Systems (LogIS) in cyberspace, and it is not the complete solution to a lean, efficient, and effective supply chain. However, it has the potential to enhance the existing supply chain and make it more resilient against cyberspace attacks. While blockchain is unlikely to solve all vulnerabilities faced by LogIS, it should be part of the solution.



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