SecDef Teases New Deterrence Strategy, Vows Billions More for AI
In pursuit of "integrated deterrence," Lloyd Austin committed $1.5 billion over five years to the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin teased a new vision for deterring adversaries and announced a $1.5 billion commitment to the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub over the next five years.
At a summit event Tuesday hosted by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which released its final report last March that found the U.S. is unprepared for AI competition with China, Austin said preventing conflict requires a new vision. That vision, he said, is called integrated deterrence.
“I’ll have more to say about this in the weeks to come, but basically, integrated deterrence is about using the right mix of technology, operational concepts, and capabilities—all woven together in a networked way that is so credible, and flexible, and formidable that it will give any adversary pause,” Austin said.
Austin also announced the Pentagon wants to inject the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, or JAIC, with nearly $1.5 billion over the next five years. DOD hyped the investments it’s requesting for AI projects during the recent rollout of President Joe Biden’s budget request—the 2022 proposal calls for $874 million in AI investments. However, at the end of the day it’s the legislators who decide how much money the JAIC will get.
During his remarks Tuesday, Austin said the department is currently working on more than 600 AI projects, or “significantly more” than the year prior. The JAIC itself has been elevated in stature: Fulfilling a recommendation from NSCAI, the JAIC now reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
In a recent memo, Hicks reaffirmed DOD’s commitment to ethical AI principles originally drawn up during the previous administration and gave the JAIC a list of assignments including coordinating a council that will establish a responsible AI strategy and implementation plan. Hicks also recently unveiled a new AI effort called the DOD AI and Data Acceleration initiative, or ADA, which will see operational data teams sent out to combatant commands.