In-Depth: Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) introduced this bill to ensure that the DOD has a plan for harnessing AI and that the agency helps educate Congress on AI’s potential defense applications.
The DOD launched an official artificial intelligence strategy in February 2019, in parallel with a February 11, 2019 White House executive order that created the American Artificial Intelligence Strategy. In its strategy, DOD discusses AI’s potential impact on military operations and identifies the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) as the focal point for its AI efforts:
“The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy directs the DoD to accelerate the adoption of AI and the creation of a force fit for our time. A strong, technologically advanced Department is essential for protecting the security of our nation, preserving access to markets that will improve our standard of living, and ensuring that we are capable of passing intact to the younger generations the freedoms we currently enjoy… AI is rapidly changing a wide range of businesses and industries. It is also poised to change the character of the future battlefield and the pace of threats we must face. We will harness the potential of AI to transform all functions of the Department positively, thereby supporting and protecting U.S. servicemembers, safeguarding U.S. citizens, defending allies and partners, and improving the affordability, effectiveness, and speed of our operations. The women and men in the U.S. armed forces remain our enduring source of strength; we will use AI-enabled information, tools, and systems to empower, not replace, those who serve. Realizing this vision requires identifying appropriate use cases for AI across DoD, rapidly piloting solutions, and scaling successes across our enterprise. The 2018 DoD AI Strategy, summarized here, will drive the urgency, scale, and unity of effort needed to navigate this transformation. The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is the focal point for carrying it out.”
DOD’s strategy emphasizes five main points:
- Delivering AI-enabled capabilities that address key missions;
- Scaling AI’s impact across the department through a common foundation that enables decentralized development and experimentation;
- Cultivating a leading AI workforce;
- Engaging with commercial, academic and international allies and partners on AI efforts; and
- Leading in military ethics and AI safety.
At a media roundtable on February 12, 2019, DOD’s Chief Information Officer, Dana Deasy, expressed DOD’s appreciation for the executive order, saying, “The [executive order] is paramount for our country to remain a leader in AI, and it will not only increase the prosperity of our nation, but also enhance our national security.”
After DOD released its AI strategy, Robert O. Work, Senior Counselor for Defense at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), noted the need for an effort to combine “disparate” efforts across the federal government into “a coherent national plan of action”:
“The U.S. is finally starting to respond to China’s integrated national plan to become the world’s AI superpower. The executive order launching the American AI Initiative, the establishment of the National Security Commission on AI, the publishing of the Department of Defense AI Strategy, and the standup of the Pentagon’s Joint AI Center are all important parts of America’s response. Today, however, they largely represent separate and distinct actions. The real payoff will come when the executive and legislative branches combine these disparate efforts into a coherent national plan of action. Let’s hope they do so soon.”
This bill doesn’t have any cosponsors.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
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