This jumped out at me: “We are very excited about this [blockchain] approach, and we think it’s part of the acquisition front we’re trying to get to,” said Bergin, according to the report.

Mr. Bergin is in a position to think out of the box, at the DoD’s office of the CIO.  This is good news.  Our government needs more folks like him.   The US Navy has been examining the use of 3D printing (called additive manufacturing) for several years, which will give them an ability to create–or print, long discontinued parts from nothing more than the CAD model.

This is appealing since a part gets more expensive once it goes “out of production” in normal manufacturing cycles.  The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) companies must charge a higher margin in order to keep low quantity production lines in operation–or–keep them at all, when the DoD only wants intermittent replenishment.  So, the solution to avoiding exorbitantly priced and low quantity resupplys could be to create a capability that allows parts-on-demand via 3D printing.

Could blockchain be used to replenish sensitive parts for the Defense Department? And certify those parts as authentic? They DoD CIO is thinking “yes”.

Blockchain comes into play during the sub-processes that essentially prove that the parts have been manufactured by an authorized and certified DoD parts manufacturer.   We can’t have ship and aircraft parts being forged or manufactured by just anyone.   (trust me… you do not want this!)  This process can insert a blockchain token into the part itself and allow it to be tracked from the time it’s is removed from the 3D printer… all the way to parts-retirement, twenty years from then.   It is all about data and retaining a single source of truth for that sensitive parts data, over the lifecycle of the part.  Defense logistics may be on the verge of reinventing itself.

Cool idea, huh?  Like much of the other use cases for blockchain, it involves the combination of other technologies and the re-thinking of a process, that will give birth to fresh ideas and potentially millions (and millions) of dollars in savings.   We need more folks like Mr. Bergin!

And yes, I have put a call into Mr. Bergin to learn more.

Stay tuned.

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