Blockchain for Additive Manufacturing to Optimize DoD Supply Chains

By Steven Dobesh

To realize the full benefits of 3D Printing from an Additive Manufacturing (AM) process in a distributed environment, the DoD must address the cyber security challenges of transporting the digital thread ofadditive manufacturing (DTAM) across unsecured networks. A promising solution to these challenges is Blockchain. An essential component of 3D files is having the confidence in knowing the full life-cycle of the file before printing and installing the part on a weapon system. But the end user must have the same level of trust in using an AM part as they normally would when selecting a physical part off-the-shelf. Blockchain provides that assurance. As an added benefit, Smart Contracts can be embedded atop of the blockchain to facilitate a revolutionary approach to purchasing technical data rights. Instead of buying all technical data from a supplier, Blockchain-based smart contracts could allow procurement teams to purchase only the files at time of need, similar to the way movies are rented on Netflix¬ģ or how music is purchased in iTunes¬ģ. Blockchain for AM is just one of many use cases aimed at enhancing the security and provenance of optimizing DoD global supply chains. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed above are the personal opinion of the author and do reflect official policy of the United States Navy, the Joint Staff, or US government.

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