Defense Department's AI Posture 'Challenged'.

Author:Tadjdeh, Yasmin

* While artificial intelligence has become a top priority within the Pentagon, a new report by the RAND Corp. has found that the Defense Department has shortcomings in its AI posture.

'Although we see some positive signs, our assessment is that DoD's posture in AI is significantly challenged across all dimensions of our assessment," said the report titled, "The Department of Defense Posture for Artificial Intelligence: Assessment and Recommendations."

The December report was commissioned by the Defense Department's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, or JAIC, an organization that was stood up in 2018 to coalesce the Pentagon's disparate AI projects.

The report focused on six dimensions for its analysis: organization, advancement, adoption, innovation, data and talent. In five of those areas--organization, advancement, adoption, data and talent--the report found significant issues.

The Defense Department's "Al strategy lacks baselines and metrics to meaningfully assess progress toward its vision," the study said.

The Pentagon has also failed to provide the JAIC with the "visibility, authorities and resource commitments" it needs, which has made it difficult for the center to reach its full potential, the document added.

In terms of advancement and adoption, the current state of AI verification, validation, testing and evaluation is "nowhere close" to ensuring the performance and safety of AI applications, the report said.

Validation and verification enable the designers of a system to trust its design, while test and evaluation allows managers to assess whether a system meets specified requirements and enables other stakeholders, such as users and operators, to establish trust in it, the study noted.

The Pentagon also faces numerous challenges with insufficient data management. Currently, there is a "lack of traceability, understandability, access and interoperability of data collected by different systems," the document said.

RAND also pointed out that the Defense Department does not have dear mechanisms for growing, tracking and cultivating AI talent, even as it faces steep competition.

The authors offered 11 recommendations, both strategic and tactical, to address the department's most critical challenges.

These include a call for the Pentagon to adopt an AI governance structure that aligns authorities and resources with its mission of scaling artificial intelligence across the department. It also recommended the Joint Artificial...

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