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US DoD wants more AI implemented at scale "ASAP"

by Chuck Martin
Article ImageNeeds functional experts with domain knowledge, not “data scientists armed with clipboards”

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is looking for more AI to support both its warfighting efforts and its business operations.

The military is facing a unique opportunity for implementing AI at scale, Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), wrote in an op-ed in the military publication Breaking Defense.

“Clearly, it is not a lack of technology that is the problem,” Groen said. “It is a lack of implementation of AI across our warfighting capabilities, our support processes, and our business practices. AI’s foreseeable impacts on integrated warfighting remain largely unrealized. We have a generational opportunity to foresee the impact of the technological artifacts of the information age and to implement a transformation at-scale.”

JAIC was established in 2018 to accelerate the integration of AI across the DoD and acts as a resource for AI practitioners across the department. The agency also provides technical services, acquisition support, expertise, best practices, and aids in accountability for AI investments and outcomes.

Learning from business

“Transformation will require leaders to re-imagine how they integrate warfighting functions, moving from traditional, manual staff processes to data-driven ‘Decision Engineering,’” Groen said.

“Effective AI implementation across our warfighting and support communities starts with functional experts armed with hard-won experience in specific real-world domains, not data scientists armed with clipboards. We need to bring the tech to the domain experts, not the other way around.”

Groen added that he sees a connection between the implementation of AI in business, and in the military.

“The AI explosion in the commercial world over the last decades offers tremendous lessons the military would do well to learn. Today’s AI technology base includes companies big and small. They offer a wide array of decision services, many of which exist only in digital form. They use data analytics and AI algorithms to serve up customized predictions in nearly every imaginable business area.

“In the Defense Department, we need to imagine our own use-cases across all of our warfighting functions and processes. As we implement, we need to create the connective tissues of an AI enterprise that enables cross service cooperation and data sharing across the portfolio of AI efforts. It is necessary to go beyond pursuing custom technical applications and set about improving the art of decision-making itself.”

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