Enhancing Defensive Capabilities with AI
Using the latest tools offered by today’s technologies, the U.S. military is creating a more algorithmic form of warfare—one that will significantly enhance its defensive capabilities everywhere. One fundamental assumption is that technical developments in AI are probably less than half the struggle to integrate AI capabilities in the military effectively. The real challenge now, both in the U.S. and worldwide, goes beyond the hype and establishes the right people, organizations, processes, and safeguards.
In order to fulfill AI’s commitment to reduce personnel costs and increase military efficiency, minimizing implementation costs will be essential. Setting ambitious goals can put pressure on innovation building. However, even if the military keeps costs low and sets high goals, AI will probably not be worth the investment without organizational change at the end of the day.
Artificial intelligence defense applications are emerging, and recent Defense Science Board and Defense Department documents address the challenges and goals of integrating autonomous systems into military operations. The key technical challenges include coordination, perception, and understanding of human systems, and testing and assessment. The testing and life-cycle maintenance of autonomous systems that learn and adapt are the main inconsistencies that need to be addressed. Military operations are soldier-centric, and the objective of autonomous systems is not to replace the soldier but to give them another tool that enhances soldiers’ survival and mission efficiency. Innovations in autonomous system technology alone will not be sufficient.
Making sure that progress in AI continues to deliver interest in how these innovations can shape the future of war, there are many promising areas for further research and reflection. First, it is important to keep moving beyond the hype and deeper into what AI is actually useful, for both in back-end applications and closer to the battleground. Secondly, the national security community should continue to address the need to balance rapid growth of AI with ethics, security, and trustworthiness.
Military users can build innovative new services and solutions by leveraging an extensive network of sources in both the military and open source media. The Department of Defense and the intelligence community should take immediate action to take advantage of the incredible benefits of a data-centered approach, to catch up with private sector efforts and, in some cases, to overcome them, and to really prepare for the fight in the information era. The military will no longer have to imagine the operational success of deeply analyzed and optimized data; they will be the success stories of the warlike operations of tomorrow.