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The future of military combat is going high-tech as scientists create an Internet of Things for combat gear embedded with biometric wearables to help soldiers identify the enemy, perform better in battle, and access devices and weapons systems using speedy edge computing.

The Internet of Military Things (IoMT) is a class of Internet of things for combat operations and warfare.

Due partly to the low cost of internet of things equipment, the US military has been able to adopt “unprecedented numbers” of IoT-enabled devices. However, not all of those devices have the cryptographic security they ought to, and the issue will only be exacerbated as quantum computing and 5G wireless networks come online.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said the problem is that the amount of power cryptography consumes reduces the lifespan of devices in the field, which ultimately disincentives manufacturers from including security in their products. 

With some IoT devices expected to last over a decade in the field, the military needs cryptographic solutions that are low on power consumption.

So DARPA  is looking to industry for “revolutionary security technologies” that can protect the military’s growing number of IoT devices.

The Cryptography for Hyper-scale Architectures in a Robust Internet Of Things (CHARIOT) program was established to “develop revolutionary approaches for fast, efficient, and quantum-resistant cryptographic operations for Internet of Things (IoT) devices,” according to a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) opportunity released by the agency.

“CHARIOT’s objective is solutions that are fast, efficient, and quantum-resistant on even the cheapest devices,” the solicitation reads, according to c4isrnet.com.

The CHARIOT program will prototype “low-cost, low-footprint, post-quantum cryptographic techniques” that use up less energy. The solicitation notes that DARPA is particularly interested in vehicle-embedded and wearable use cases with a zero-trust network architecture, such as “uses within a larger scenario of wearable-equipped passengers entering, traveling in and departing from a vehicle such as a troop carrier or school bus.”