The Department of Defense released a summary of its strategy on artificial intelligence Feb 12. The strategy, Harnessing AI to Advance Our Security and Prosperity, outlines how DoD will leverage AI into the future.
Key principles of the strategy are accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI; establishing a common foundation for scaling AI's effect across DoD and enabling decentralized development and experimentation; evolving partnerships with industry, academia, allies and partners; cultivating a leading AI workforce; and leading military AI ethics and safety.
The department's strategic approach to AI emphasizes its rapid, iterative, and responsible delivery and use of lessons learned to create repeatable and scalable processes and systems that will improve functions and missions across the department.
AI will change the character of the future battlefield and quicken the pace of threats faced in today's increasingly uncertain security environment. The United States, together with its allies and partners, must adopt AI to maintain its strategic position and prevail on future battlefields, the DoD said.
AI will impact every corner of the department, spanning operations, training, sustainment, force protection, recruiting, healthcare, business processes and more.
The focal point of DoD AI is the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, established last June under DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and led by Lt. Gen. John "Jack" Shanahan.
Although its primary focus is execution, the JAIC will have an important role in synchronizing DoD AI activities across all DoD Components. This is essential for avoiding duplication and excess cost, fostering the sharing of lessons, and establishing the new enterprise approach. The JAIC will work with DoD Components to develop a governance framework and standards for AI development and delivery and collaborate within DoD, across government, and with industry, academia, and U.S. allies and partners to strengthen partnerships, highlight critical needs, solve problems of urgent operational significance, and adapt AI technologies responsibly for DoD missions.
DoD's AI strategy supports the National Defense Strategy and is part of the department’s overall efforts to modernize information technology to support warfighters, defend against cyber-attacks and leverage emerging technologies.
DoD aims for AI to provide next-generation capabilities that increase the effectiveness of U.S. forces and support department-wide reform efforts by addressing critical operational and business challenges. The delivery approach will involve launching a sequence of initiatives to incorporate AI rapidly and iteratively and to experiment with new operating concepts, and then harvesting lessons to create repeatable processes and systems that allow all elements of the department to follow.
An objective is to augment the capabilities of personnel by offloading tedious cognitive or physical tasks and introducing new ways of working. This will require iterative, interdisciplinary development of the technology in close collaboration with users and will demand early study of the cognitive and physical work that can be improved with AI.
There are numerous AI applications that could improve our day-to-day operations or yield strategic advantages, many of which are currently in development across the Department. Example areas in which the DoD will apply AI are in improving situational awareness and decision-making; increasing the safety of operating equipment; implementing predictive maintenance and supply and streamlining business processes.
AI will be used with the objective of reducing the time spent on highly manual, repetitive and frequent tasks. By enabling humans to supervise automated tasks, AI has the potential to reduce the number and costs of mistakes, increase throughput and agility, and promote the allocation of DoD resources to higher-value activities and emerging mission priorities.