Delivering AI To Warfighters Is Strategic Imperative
by David Vergun, DOD News
September 16, 2020
Dana Deasy spoke at the 2020 Department of Defense
Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition on September 10th.
Department of Defense's vision for AI is guided by the National Defense
Strategy, which describes an increasingly complex security
environment with technological challenges from adversaries in every
domain, he noted.
So, it's a strategic imperative to
accelerate AI and deliver tangible solutions for the warfighter to
preserve the nation's strategic military advantage, he said.
The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy provides a framework to
harness the full potential of AI, tying together the technological
capabilities of cloud, data, AI, command and control, and
cybersecurity into a common ecosystem, Deasy said, explaining that
these capabilities are closely interconnected and each enables the
other in very important ways.
U.S. Air Force airmen monitor computers in support of the Advanced Battle Management System Onramp 2 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, September 2, 2020. The effect ABMS is attempting to achieve is Joint All-Domain Command and Control. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez)
"We cannot deliver AI at scale
without cloud, cyber and a strategic approach to how we manage and
utilize the department's vast data resources," he said. This is why
AI has to fit into the broader digital modernization ecosystem to
effectively deliver at scale and speed to meet the strategic
imperative laid out by the NDS.
A key component of this
strategy is the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, he said. The
JAIC is the cornerstone of the department's efforts to adopt and
scale artificial intelligence.
"The evolution of the JAIC is
a journey that is still in the making and we are generating positive
momentum from our early days as AI pioneers toward a mature
organization of AI practitioners," he offered.
The JAIC was
designed two years ago to scale AI across a vast and geographically
dispersed DOD, he said.
Today, the JAIC is starting to
deliver real AI solutions for the warfighter while leading the
department in AI ethics and governance, Deasy said.
JAIC's budget went from $89 million in fiscal year 2019 to $268
million in FY 2020 and the department plans to spend about $1.6
billion over the next few years thanks to strong bipartisan support
from Congress and DOD leadership, he said.
The JAIC is
already generating early returns on investment in its mission
initiatives, ranging from predictive maintenance to business process
transformation, he said. The JAIC recently delivered an innovative
"engine health model" predictive maintenance capability that is
being utilized by Black Hawk helicopter maintainers from the Army's
Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
Under "business process
transformation," the JAIC is delivering language-processing AI
applications to the Washington Headquarters Service and the DOD's
administrative and financial management teams," he said. These
capabilities are automating the review of thousands of documents and
memos for consistency, accuracy and compliance, thus increasing
speed and efficiency while reducing manual, laborious processes.
To tackle the department's scaling challenge, the JAIC is laying
the groundwork for the Joint Common Foundation, an AI development
environment that will broaden opportunities for AI developers across
the department to build and deliver AI capabilities, he said.
These early projects are providing valuable lessons learned as
the JAIC places more focus on the tactical edge to develop AI
solutions in support of joint warfighting operations, Deasy said.
"Our initial focus is creating decision support tools for
front-line commanders that will be critical in an evolving
operational environment where speed, precision and agility are
paramount for success,” he said. To these ends, the JAIC is
developing an "operations cognitive assistant" capability that
enhances human-machine teaming to drive faster and more efficient
decision-making, through AI-enabled predictive analytics.
U. S. Marine Corps Cpl. Christophe Tait, a data systems administrator with the new Network Activity - National Capital Region, monitors network activity from the operations floor at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on August 31, 2020. (U. S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Hector Alejandro)
long-term success of the JAIC will depend on how the organization
adapts and delivers real-world solutions when the strategic
landscape and priorities change, he said.
A good example, he
said, is when the JAIC developed a predictive-logistics AI-dashboard
platform for the U.S. Northern Command that enabled National Guard
teams to assist states and municipalities in mitigating panic buying
and managing supply chains. That project went from concept to code
in a matter of weeks. More importantly, it demonstrated the JAIC's
ability to support the emergent needs of a combatant commander and
deliver real AI solutions during a national emergency.
very important part of what the JAIC does, Deasy said, is what takes
place behind the scenes: coordinating and in some cases partnering
its efforts with DOD organizations like Defense Digital Services,
the Defense Innovation Unit and the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency; the Department of Energy; the European Union;
friends and allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region and
elsewhere; industry and academia.
"We simply cannot achieve
success without working together," Deasy added.
Our Valiant Troops |
Citizens Like Us |