SOCOM Plans New Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Author:Lee, Connie
 
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Advancements in technology are spurring Special Operations Command to examine how it can improve its artificial intelligence capabilities on a data-driven battlefield.

"We really wanted to focus on growing the discipline," David Spirk Jr., the organization's chief data officer, said during a speech at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association. This "applies to people, applies to technology and applies to the culture and those changes in the formation to get there."

To do this, the command is crafting a new artificial intelligence and machine learning strategy to inform its future spending, he said. These advancements are expected to improve technologies across the core military services as well, he noted.

"Data-driven technologies can be used in every function that we have," Spirk told National Defense on the sidelines of the conference. "We hope to demonstrate the capability and then allow that to just grow in the services where, naturally, it should."

The Defense Department earlier this year released an AI strategy geared toward advancing the technology to counter peer competitors such as Russia and China.

SOCOM's roadmap is being created using ideas such as Jeff Bezos' strategy for developing Amazon, trends in industry and lessons learned through the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Spirk said during his speech.

The command is "taking those data principles and recognizing that it's really about freeing your data--it's about open [application programming interfaces]," he said. "It's not about closed block technology or systems. We've modeled our data strategy out of that."

The blueprint will help SOCOM determine asset allocation for AI as it builds its program objective memorandum for fiscal years 2022 to 2026, Spirk said.

"We're going to start the crafting of a real roadmap," he said. "This will help the command... talk about the investments we need to make and the resources that we're going to need."

All of the SOF components will gather at a symposium in September to begin developing the new strategy, he noted. The meeting will be limited to the military, which will first establish its goals for investing in AI and machine learning before reaching out to academia and industry for input, Spirk said

"We're not bringing industry and academia in there yet," he said. "What we're going to do is we're going to establish our requirements, we're going to set what...

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