JADC2 tops Pentagon’s artificial intelligence efforts

The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is focused on overlaying AI tools on the military’s mega information-sharing platform effort, called Joint All Domain Command and Control.

The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is focused on overlaying artificial intelligence tools on the military’s mega information-sharing platform effort, called Joint All Domain Command and Control.

Nand Mulchandani, JAIC's acting director, told reporters during a July 8 news briefing the center is “spending a lot of time and resources focused on building the AI components on top of JADC2,” which is a patchwork quilt of platforms to improve coordination and information sharing. This involves figuring out how to build AI components, such as data, AI modeling, training and deployment, across all domains including cyber, he said.

Mulchandani said JAIC is also investing in cognitive assistance technologies, helping human operators make better decisions, using “predictive analytics or picking out particular things of interest, and those types of information overload cleanup.”

Working through objections to the Defense Department’s use of AI in weapons systems is still a chief concern, however. Mulchandani focused much of his first public address on a perceived rift between Silicon Valley and the military. He noted the news coverage of Project Maven led to tech employee protests in 2018 and caused Google, which was a part of the initiative, to not renew its contract.

“There have and always will be specific incidents that make the news,” he said, adding that it hasn’t impacted DOD’s ability to continue doing business with major tech companies. “They are free to do business with us on projects across the spectrum from bending the cost curve to combat systems.”

Mulchandani noted that some of the JAIC’s tactical edge AI projects under the Joint Warfighting Initiative will go into testing by 2021. He declined to go into specifics but said the technology was “very promising” and would be the flagship product for DOD as it pivots “from predictive maintenance to joint warfighting.”

“I don’t want to start straying into issues around autonomy and lethality versus lethality itself,” he said. “Yes, it is true that many of the projects we work on will go into weapons systems. None of them right now are going to be autonomous weapons systems,” due to a DOD directive that defines responsibilities for semi- and fully autonomous systems. 

Moreover, Mulchandani said, JAIC is focused on codifying its recently adopted AI principles by choosing the best implementation techniques from industry and groups that have already created ethics principles for various issues, such as advertising or algorithm bias.

This article first appeared on FCW, a Defense Systems partner site. 

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