In March, the world entered a new normal as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live, work, and interact. Like many organizations, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center developed novel ways to continue delivering artificial intelligence capabilities to the Department of Defense in this unprecedented operational environment.
JAIC’s Next Chapter
During this time of rapid global change, the JAIC is also embarking on its own business transformation. In March 2020, the JAIC realigned the organization’s activities and processes, having outgrown its initial “start-up” identity. The organizational realignment enables the JAIC to more efficiently develop an AI product and delivery pipeline.
For example, the JAIC is leveraging industry best practices to adopt a product development funnel approach in order to rapidly identify potential opportunities and transition AI solutions to the field. As the JAIC matures its relationships with industry, it will also utilize agile acquisition approaches to provide the organization with increased access to cutting-edge AI ideation and commercial technology.
AI technology is making tangible contributions to the national pandemic response. In late March, the JAIC began coordinating with the U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau on a new effort called Project Salus (named for the Roman goddess of safety and well-being). The Project Salus team worked to develop a data aggregation and fusion capability along with AI-enabled predictive analytic and resource allocation decision tools in support of the DoD’s pandemic response.
While partnering with a diverse group of government, industry, and academic partners, the Project Salus team aggregated a large number of data sources while building out an AI development environment. The project applied AI technology to develop a predictive dashboard prototype tool to help NORTHCOM and National Guard teams identify where critical supply chain shortages may occur. The project team worked toward a “common view and predictive capability to truly understand where the next problem sets are going to be and bringing to bear the logistical capabilities of the DoD,” said Nand Mulchandani, JAIC Chief Technology Officer.
Continued Progress Across the JAIC
Other JAIC initiatives have also forged ahead at a high operational tempo despite the challenges presented in the current environment. One such example is The Responsible AI Champions Pilot Program, which launched in late April. Led by the ethics section, this program brings together a cohort of cross-functional individuals from across the JAIC organization with the following goals:
- Establish a general understanding of why AI is different than other technologies and why ethics is important;
- In the context of AI, provide a baseline understanding of the recently adopted DoD AI Ethical Principles;
- Allow peer-to-peer learning within the cross-functional cohort as well within each individual’s respective functional teams; and
- Create a community of individuals that are Responsible AI Ambassadors who can share their learnings, be the eyes and ears on the ground to help raise questions/issues, and become the foundation for how the organization begins to embed Responsible AI in its DNA.
Despite the challenges of operating in a telework environment, the JAIC is continuing to mature as an organization and drive DoD-wide delivery and adoption of AI solutions to solve large, complex problem sets.
Stay tuned to the “AI in Defense Blog” for more JAIC updates.