Site Visit Executive looked at the problem and collapses the apparent wide-range of Blockchain services into couple of topics: supply line optimisation and streamlining network marketing processes.
Blockchains themselves are not the solution to anything yet. Instead, they are the path to experiments that guarantees results.
Before DoD has Blockchain in some form, no new “Digital Twin” model can work. Spatial navigation became possible after DoD got GPS sensors in its pockets; Situational awareness became possible after DoD got the sensors connected.
Not side products but instead secondary products of Blockchains have broadly adopted tokens and develop into applicable results such as “Bucket Brigades”.
Bucket brigade systems are a tool to build robust simulated robot control systems. This choice is sufficient to achieve adequate levels of performance for a variety of behaviours. The parallel implementation of the bucket brigade system is sure to speed up the training process and implement robotics controller.
Bucket brigade systems provide guidance shortening the number of cycles required to learn task rules using only a few training examples starting with randomly generated classifiers. Bucket brigades compensate for lack of time to deploy field-ready tech.
Most DoD Leaders associate bucket brigades with disasters, but they are mostly used in normal conditions to load or unload something, for example a truck of ammo supplies. Another example of Bucket Brigades is warning beacons,
In every case, Bucket Brigades compensate for the lack of technology, temporary or permanent. Information transfer is compromised by technological shortcomings of all networks not able to allow for multiple interpretations or deliver the information with fidelity.
The multi-agent approach provides a specific modeling and simulation alternative to known math/science system model tech for simulating manoeuvre process.
In a tech set without Bucket Brigades, now a stronger than ever trend to automate with machine learning, each node is as stupid as a box of rocks, unless it is perfectly prepared for the job. Each element has to be precisely calibrated or the system is in major trouble. Even if some aperture is allowed, an error propagation is a strong and adverse phenomenon.
Blockchain solutions have information about how many times a resource was used as reward and for what segment of equipment, so you can see in what operational theatre the discount effect is greatest. Robots can write and pass comments on it.
We set up experiment involving “Digital Twin” robots learning to work together: one robot ideally handing off Tokens to the other, which in turn carries them to a final destination. Discounting rewards results in the first robot receiving significantly less reward than the second one.
And, importantly, the discount power grows when other customers are more relevant to you.
How can that possibly work?
Tokens are transferred between Digital Twin agent pairs in the Bucket Brigade, without any centralised system watching or authorising interactions.
Tokens aren’t anything new. Each of us use incumbent tokens daily without even noticing: keys, tickets, receipts, reservations, network certificates etc. Ordinary tokens are already vital, but they are not very smart. More importantly, they are expensive to issue and even more expensive to maintain, with a large portion of barriers to implement system associated with security.
How can tokens change the way DoD does business and consumption of operational resources?
As open token-carrying platforms become more widespread, anyone can maintain an unlimited number of token output. Soon, piles of tokens will represent everything that can be counted in an economically meaningful way.
Within token-enabled supply chains, every participant seamlessly contributes to the quality automated event flow. Most economic acts can be done through token exchange, issuance or redemption. When tokens circulate, things you normally run operations, and procurement on happen “by themselves”, with much less overhead than normal.
As many Blockchain bridge connections are manifest in operations, tokens promise new productive economic scenarios when random “Digital Twin” token pairs can become mutually usable in changing conditions as a result of more reasonable inputs so many essential operational parameters can be articulated with greater precision.
On one hand, smart decision-making can be rewarded immediately in tokens. On the other hand, it always costs some number of some tokens to do something. So DoD operatives either make an economically-responsible decision or do not contaminate the feed, abstaining from any involvement.
When being passed continuously between units, tokens be very, very smart when it comes to changing scenarios.
Passing Tokens from one unit in the Bucket Brigade to another is a fundamentally local event. No one else but the units party to this exchange is required and if we consider distributed token-carrying platform connection bridges between them as free-access, self-maintaining ownerless entities.
Examples of that ubiquitous miracle of local interaction are everywhere: The great complexity of physical phenomena troops encounter is the result of endless iterations of similar “local acts”: circles on the water don’t need a concentric dispatcher.
Bucket Brigade Junctions in token interactions can be much smarter: since the constructs can also bear an often-needed note of context rather than the iron extremes present in automated operations.
But what about more complex things than just transfer of value, such as level of local interaction relevance under changing operational conditions where quality of information is not possible to quantify..
Network Marketing Example Network problems can be fixed with Bucket Brigade Tokens.
Establishing field agents for product/process design creates agent-based tools to construct market places among members of a Distributed design team to coordinate set-based design of a discrete build product. Designers of components are empowered to "Buy" and "Sell" desired characteristics engineers are motivated to assume.
Here we describe the entities interacting in the market space and outline the market space required to make trade-off decisions on each characteristic of a design. Agents representing each component "Buy" and "Sell" units of these characteristics. A component that needs more latitude in a given characteristic, i.e. more weight can purchase increments of that characteristic from another component, but may need to sell another characteristic to raise resources for this purchase.
In network marketing, each participant essentially has one core asset- the position/order tracking tag in the network recorded with fidelity. Tokens “locked” into the system provide privileges in using the system as intended. It could be revenue share in a typical marketing scheme or it could be a discount on risk charged by the system charges for its services.
In Distributed problem solving, we typically assume a fair degree of fidelity is present: the agents have been designed to work together; or the payoffs to self-interested agents are only accrued through collective efforts; or engineering relationships between units has introduced disincentives for agent individualism; etc.
Distributed problem solving concentrates on competence; as anyone who has played on a team, worked on a group project, or performed on a football team can tell you, simply having the desire to work together by no means ensures a competent collective outcome.
We have described Single Phase of cooperation life-cycle on Enterprise-to-Enterprise level search for possible product support collaborators. First, agents have to contact possible partners. There is wide field for future research in the domain of automatic searching and contacting possible partners.
This approach ensures the trustworthiness of the partners transferred from real-life to the agents cooperation. Each agent is equipped by the addresses and the security certificates and every partner can be authenticated using standard key methods. Every agent can be connected to many partner agents according to defined internal cooperation rules.
Once the agents are connected together, each agent provides the list of available product support capabilities to partners. It is possible to propose different capabilities to different partners. During this phase agents form basic cooperation network, receiving information suitable for effective collaboration in the next phases. During the life-cycle of the cooperation, agents subscribe information of the changes on product support resources on already established cooperation.
Building Blocks required for Digital Twin manoeuvre are quite similar to building blocks required to implement use of Blockchain with trusted status updates of connected instances.
To deliver value, connections must span wide mission space. Implementation of connections must not be tied to distinct established steps or location, but must be time sensitive to maximise transmission and minimise with respect to sense/response between the edge and core mission space.
Have we encountered Block and Connection concepts elsewhere?
Yes we have. Multi-Agent Systems are present in Building Block Constructs, with each Agent representing one block component viewed a baseline unit contribution to Digital Twin Model.
The convergence of Digital Twins and Blockchain is evident. Enterprises dissociated by modular structures and associated by function in operational sequences presents series of steps subdivided into blocks -- not only things/objects but also multi agent models, unit of work, process, verification decisions, outliers, feedback, metrics etc.
Component Sequence Builds make it easy to represent objects, processes, and decision outcomes. Connected blocks can support simulation agents networks joined by common Digital Twins. For example, alignment concepts described in previous reports specific to appropriate blocks can lead to useful platforms.
Here we present a practical application of product support provider network interaction to a major weapons system. Since the first operational deployment of the F-35B, the Marine Corps has seen part shortages/delays, poor reliability of certain parts, long repair times and inaccurate delivery times.
DoD has no formal mechanism to share after-action reports on a distributed network so the problem is that the service has kept on its own internal records system. “Without the F-35 program office sharing or making available operational lessons learned through a new or existing network communications mechanism, the services are at risk of not having access to key information that could affect their movements, exercises, operations, and sustainment of the aircraft,.
The formal sharing of lessons learned over the network would be extremely useful to the Services as they ramp up their F-35 deployments overseas. Since the DoD has no formal means to communicate these reports, the Corps has largely relied on informal means such as personal relationships and telephone calls to officials in the other services.
It’s a major problem to be solved since services branches are planning to expand F-35 operations so we are making a recommendation to the DoD to create a formal network mechanism or means to communicate and share F-35 after action reports across the military.
"The goal is to prevent lessons learned from being captured in a vacuum within each military service, but rather to have them captured and shared among the joint force to create, among other things, better doctrine, policy, training and education.
Marine Corps has noticed supply-chain problems that could be solved using Blockchain networks including shortage of parts in the F-35 supply chain; longer repair time for certain parts and inaccurate estimated arrival time for these parts
ALIS is a high-tech computer system that informs maintainers of aircraft upcoming maintenance and parts required to help sustain the aircraft. Marine Corps is “uncertain how long the F-35 can effectively operate” if the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS becomes “disconnected from the aircraft,.
At an exercise near Twentynine Palms, California, the Corps recorded “issues related to the tents used to house the ALIS” and the “need for maintaining network connectivity, and the limited reach-back support for ALIS.”
During another exercise. squadron noted accomplishments such as the “F-35 using its sensors to share data with legacy platforms” and better stealth capability over other aging aircraft. They also reported the need for classified facilities “to meet basic cooling and power requirements for housing the ALIS servers.
DoD plans to continue to evaluation of ALIS's performance, and that it agrees "future testing is worthwhile, so information is made more accessible across the services operating the F-35 has already been accepted by the Joint Program Office and the Pentagon,.
DoD said it is interested to start communicating many F-35 issues such as product support requirements through a new "Network Bank" registry for lessons learned, but did not specify where or how the forum will be based. "As F-35 operational exercises grow, the department will continue to share lessons learned through the existing operational advisory group and supportability advisory group.
DoD F-35 program is at a critical juncture. With aircraft development nearing completion within the next few years, DoD must now shift its attention and resources to sustaining the growing F-35 fleet. While production accelerates, DoD’s reactive approach to planning for and funding the capabilities needed to sustain F-35 operations has resulted in significant readiness challenges—including multi-year delays in establishing repair capabilities and spare parts shortages.
There is little doubt that the F-35 brings unique capabilities to the military, but without revising sustainment plans to include the key requirements and decision points needed to fully implement the F-35 sustainment strategy, and without aligned funding plans to meet those requirements, DoD is at risk of being unable to leverage the capabilities of the aircraft it has recently purchased. Furthermore, until it improves its plans, DoD faces a larger uncertainty as to whether it can successfully sustain a rapidly expanding fleet.
DoD plan to enter into multi-year, performance-based contracts with the prime contractor has the potential to produce cost savings and other benefits. However, important lessons are emerging from its pilot agreements with the contractor that are intended to inform the upcoming multi-year contract negotiations. To date, DoD has not achieved the desired aircraft performance under the pilot agreements, but it continues to move quickly toward negotiating longer-term contracts—which are likely to cost tens of billions of dollars—by 2020.
Contractor is assigned task of integrating sustainment support for the system, including that for the F-35 supply chain, depot maintenance, and pilot and maintainer training, as well as providing engineering and technical support.
According to program officials, the establishment of a new Product Support Network Integrator is an acknowledgement that DoD needs to take a more significant role in providing sustainment support for the F-35.
DoD did not plan for and fund stocks of materials needed to repair parts at the depots material incorrectly assuming material would be included as part of the contracts for establishing repair capabilities at the military depots.
So DoD has had to fund and negotiate additional contracts for the material. Late requirements identification and lack of funding to support repairs for many components is not expected to be delivered to depots until months/years after tech capabilities to conduct repairs have been established.
Without examining whether it has the appropriate metrics to incentivise the contractor or a sufficient understanding of the actual costs and technical characteristics of the aircraft before entering into multi-year, performance-based contracts, DoD could find itself overpaying for sustainment support that is not sufficient to meet warfighter requirements.
Finally, on a broader level, DoD projected costs to sustain the F-35 fleet over its life cycle have risen over the last several years despite the department’s concerted efforts to reduce costs.
Already the most expensive weapon system in DoD history, these rising costs are particularly concerning because the military services do not fully understand what they are paying for. This puts them in a precarious position as they consider critical trade-offs that might make F-35 sustainment more affordable. Without improving Network Communications with the services to help them better understand how the sustainment costs they are being charged relate to the capabilities that they receive, the services may not be able to effectively budget for the F-35 over the long term.
DoD has limited visibility into the support provided by the contractor along with the actual costs for which the services are responsible, until after the contract is signed. These transparency concerns are complicated by the fact that the services are paying into shared pools for F-35 sustainment, and the costs they are being charged for some requirements—such as for spare parts—cannot be directly tracked to an item that the services own or support that is specifically provided to an individual service.
As we have outlined in this report, Blockchain is an emerging technology for decentralised and transactional supply line connection monitor sharing across a large group of supplier Network intersections. It enables new forms of distributed supply line connection monitor networks, where agreement on shared states can be established without trusting a central integration point. A major difficulty for architects designing applications based on blockchain is that the technology has many configurations and variants. Since blockchains are at an early stage, there are limited number of product support success stories or reliable technology evaluation available to compare different blockchains.
Blockchain brings significant improvements to supply chain management for manufacturers and precision parts suppliers. Blockchain is the digital and decentralised exchange of value technology that records all transactions without the need for an intermediary. Businesses aim to manufacture goods — whether end products, solutions or precision parts of the highest quality, for the best price, with the greatest technical support, and according to agreed timelines.
Blockchains enable the creation of intelligent, embedded and trusted programme supply line connection monitor, letting suppliers build terms, conditions and other logistics parameters into contracts and other transactions. It allows suppliers to automatically monitor agreed upon value figures, delivery times and other enabling conditions, and automatically negotiate and complete transactions in real time. This impacts cost/benefit of work orders, maximises efficiency and allows for multiple avenues leading to supply line connection monitor.
A blockchain is a shared, distributed, secure supply line network connection monitor that every participant on product support service routes can share, but that no one entity control. In other words, a blockchain is a supply line connection monitor that stores work order routing records. The routing intersection is shared by group of service route supplier participants, all of whom can submit new records for inclusion.
Blockchain records are only added to the supply line connection monitor based on the agreement, or consensus, of a majority of the supplier group. Additionally, once the records are entered, they can never be changed or erased. In sum, blockchains record and secure supply line route dispatch information in such a way that is becomes the agreed-upon record for groups like F-35 stakeholders of important contract terms and enabling conditions.
Smart contracts can be instantly/securely sent and received over the Blockchain Network reducing exposure/delays in back office dispatching. As an example, oversight of Purchase Requests could be securely implemented with greater transparency and also potential battlefield applications messaging system could be leveraged during instances in which troops are attempt to communicate back to HQ using secure, efficient and timely logistics system.
Built-in supplier incentives to assure the security of every transaction and asset in the blockchain allows routing technology at intersections to be used not only for transactions, but as a product registry system for recording, tracking and monitoring all assets across multiple value suppliers. This secure information can range from information about parts or contract work-in-progress such as product specifications and purchase orders.
Because blockchain is based on shared consensus among different suppliers, the information on the blockchain is reliable. Over time, suppliers build up a reputation on the blockchain which demonstrates their credibility to one another. Furthermore, because trust can be established by the supply line connections, third party monitor of routing intersections between two suppliers will no longer be necessary.
In order to establish sufficient trust to become involved in a blockchain supply line connection monitor, the motives and goals of DoD and involved suppliers must be clear. The reputation of the participants becomes transparent and grows over time. It is important that suppliers in the routing market space can trust each other in order to share information and increase efficiency in shared processes.
Blockchain networks also open the door for machine-to-machine transaction capabilities to enable the transformation of a traditional supply line connection, where work order transactions and contracts must be maintained by each DoD dispatcher agent in market interaction with suppliers.
1. Cut procurement costs and production time by zeroing in directly on the right suppliers who can create the correct, high-quality parts
2. Speed prototype evaluation to test and modify design before production at a more competitive cost
3. Work with pre-certified precision parts suppliers and machine shops to procure more in less time
4. Eliminate supplier evaluation time, expedite orders and lower risk with suppliers automatically identified with needed technical expertise, location, machinery, design capability, and capacity
5. Custom quotes or automated blanket quotes for ongoing part needs simplify part orders, avoid production delays, and help manage profitability
6. Purchasers and parts manufacturers begin working together immediately on order fulfillment with instant review of qualifications and equipment
7. Increase parts and supplies quality control by comparing, reviewing, and approving qualified machine shops and precision parts suppliers
8. Get real-time insight and transparency into parts fabrication, production, and delivery
9. Improve supply chain efficiency with automated quote management, instant notification of quotes with approval
10. Orders, designs and fabrication are secure and provides protection not always afforded to smaller manufacturing firms or suppliers