The Defense Department is speeding its development of artificial intelligence tools for the commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific, according to a senior Defense official.
(Bloomberg) — The Defense Department is speeding its development of artificial intelligence tools for the commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific, according to a senior Defense official.
AI can assist Admiral John Aquilino, who is focused on the threat from China, with some of the problems “he is most worried about,” Deputy Defense secretary Kathleen Hicks said in an interview.
“We’re helping him with that,” Hicks said of the Pentagon’s efforts to develop AI applications for Aquilino’s command, arguing that adversaries recognize the US military’s strength at command and control, or the ability to run missions and direct forces.
Several AI platforms under development aim to speed up that process, connect commanders and their forces and increase the volume of data they can analyze at one time.
The Pentagon, which already has 800 AI projects underway, has “obviously accelerated” its AI efforts and is seeing “month over month improvements at the tactical edge” in AI and in the data flows that power it, Hicks said.
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Hicks, who met with AI data teams and watched AI-enabled exercises in the Indo-Pacific region in July, said intelligence analysts, operators and technologists are now sitting side-by-side experimenting with AI “to create real capability.”
The Defense Department has faced criticism that it is failing to keep up with commercial innovation in AI, but also that it is falling far short of safeguards involving “meaningful” human control that campaigners would like to see when it comes to the use of AI in warfare.
Hicks argued the Pentagon has developed the most responsible policy on the use of AI of any military and has made AI development a priority.
She added that the experience of the war in Ukraine has shown the strength of having data shared in near real-time within the Ukrainian armed forces, arguing that the ability to act quickly on accurate information provides “a meaningful advantage for any military.” She said that AI would in the future mean that “you can be thinking about thousands of different points and points of information at once.”
Hicks said that Central Command, which is responsible for thousands of US troops in the Middle East, has developed advances in AI that “will absolutely redound to the benefit of other combatant commands.”
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