The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could boost the use of blockchain technology in the nation’s military.

  • While the amendments are pending approval by the U.S. Senate and President Donald Trump, they highlight the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for defense-related activities ahead of the 2021 fiscal year.
  • The bipartisan provisions were introduced by Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL 9th District) and passed Tuesday.
  • The NDAA, a major defense act, was first passed in 1961 and contains a series of U.S. federal laws that oversee the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • The first amendment to the NDAA builds off an incomplete briefing from the Fiscal Year 2020 NDAA conference report on the potential use of DLT for defense purposes by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, adding a reporting requirement.
  • The purpose of the resulting report will be to summarize the key findings of the briefing, assess research activities from "adversarial" countries, make recommendations for additional research of DLT and consider consolidating that research within a single hub.
  • The second amendment to the defense bill adds DLT to the definition of emerging technologies so it can be included in assessments for maintaining the U.S.' "technological edge" and will be overseen by the Steering Committee on Emerging Technology and Security Needs.
  • The NDAA also saw amendments for fiscal year 2021 that include the removal of Confederate names from military bases, a push for greater diversity and a plan to improve responses to pandemics like the coronavirus.
  • The amendments come after a report released in May by Amazon Web Services, IBM, Deloitte and others that suggested the U.S. was falling behind to rivals China and Russia on blockchain use in the military.

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