U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blockchain Consideration Grows
December 6, 2018 by Akshay Makadiya
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) research and development unit, the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), has launched a Preventing Forgery and Counterfeiting of Certificates and Licenses program. The initiative will focus on the potential of blockchain in curbing forgeries and fraud in the government sector.
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Homeland Security Blockchain Consideration Rising
The solicitation, which is harbored under DHS’s own startup accelerator, the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), is aimed at blockchain innovations that can improve efficiency and auditability in operations and agencies under its purview.
The DHS, a department of the U.S. federal government principally concerned with public security, thinks the call for proposals can be fruitful.
“Blockchain […] from a government perspective holds the potential for enhanced transparency and auditing of public service operations, greater visibility into multi-party business operations, and automation of paper-based processes,” the DHS solicitation, specifically an Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS), stated.
Proposers of interoperable blockchcain implementations that are accepted will be awarded $800,000 USD in funding over 24 months.
That funding will be distributed into four phases, each lasting three to six months respectively.
The Homeland Security blockchain proposals will be evaluated three times in the department’s coming review cycle, with the first evaluation being on January 11, 2019, and the last being on April 23, 2019. DHS S&T officials meet with innovators regarding the solicitation on Industry Day, December 11th.
For now, the initiative is being honed around identifying blockchain use cases related to document management in DHS subordinates like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.
“The broad Homeland Security mission includes the need to issue entitlements, licenses, and certifications for a variety of purposes including travel, citizenship, employment eligibility, immigration status, and supply chain security,” S&T SVIP Technical Director Anil John noted to the press.
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For the DHS and other similar government agencies, the problem with current paper-based systems is their vulnerability to the production of forged documents.
Blockchain may or may not be the answer here, but the DHS is doing its homework across the board.
An outlined objective was the possibility of developing applications that would allow officials to analyze currently inscrutable cryptocurrency transactions, with the department saying it had a “compelling interest in tracing and understanding transactions and actions on the blockchain of an illegal nature.”
What’s your take the Homeland Security blockchain pivot? Share your views in the comments section below.
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