An IT agency within the U.S. Defense Department could one day offer a permissioned blockchain as a service, public documents show — and the agency is seeking information from market participants on the best ways to go about it.
A request for information (RFI) published on November 4 by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) notes that "[i]n support of our ongoing effort to create a new Blockchain as a service offering for our mission partners, DISA is conducting market research to ensure better understanding of the capabilities available in the market place relevant to a Blockchain as a service offering which could be deployed on Z systems."
"The scope of this document is to determine industry products available that provide a solution stack to enable DISA to provide a scalable permissioned Blockchain as a service offering which can be run on a mainframe environment," the agency continued. Details about the RFI were published on the U.S. government's SAM database, which publishes contract opportunities from the federal government.
Officials from DISA have talked about a possible blockchain as a service offering in the past. DISA innovation chief Sherri Sokol spoke about the agency's interest in this area during an interview in 2019 with GCN.
“We are looking at potentially offering something that would be secure, scalable and agile for the networks that our mission partners could create and manage on our infrastructure inside accredited DOD environments," she was quoted as saying at the time. "It would really just be the platform, infrastructure resource management and monitoring, which are services that DISA already offers."
To be sure, the RFI isn't proof that DISA is about to launch its own blockchain. But rather, it illustrates a potential path for such offerings to go live within the U.S. governmental apparatus — something that proponents of the technology within Congress have talked about in the past.
Would-be respondents have until November 10 to provide information to DISA, per the RFI.