A bipartisan national commission charged with making suggestions to advance the nation’s leadership and capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies for national security on Thursday approved dozens of new recommendations, including ones creating a chief technology officer (CTO) for the intelligence community and another to strengthen the role of the current Defense Department technology chief to help drive AI policies and the use of these technologies.
The draft recommendations are contained in a draft interim report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) ahead of a final report next March.
The recommendations around the DoD CTO, which is a position held by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, would give the CTO a dedicated fund to mature, prototype and transition “exceptionally promising AI-enabled technologies,” make this person a co-chair and chief science adviser of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council for joint and cross-domain capabilities, and integrate the department’s technology scouting community of practice.
Another round of recommendations would designate the Director of Science and Technology within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the intelligence community’s CTO and empower that individual to help the community adopt AI-enabled technologies.
These recommendations will “accelerate adoption of AI and related technologies,” Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle Corp. [ORCL] and chair of the NSCAI line of effort on applying AI to national security missions, said during a virtual public meeting of the commission. “Again, we believe that organization matters in outcomes. Specifically, these third quarter recommendations seek to empower DoD and IC CTOs to effectively drive technology strategy, inform supporting requirements, concepts, prototyping and experimentation, and develop common technical standards and policies. Drive rapid adoption of emerging technologies through AI-enabled technology scouting. Again, learning from everything that’s going on around the world.”
The commission, which previously approved dozens of recommendations along its six lines of effort, many of which have been incorporated into congressional legislation, tabled 14 recommendations for further consideration ahead of its final meetings leading to the report in March. Of these, nine are outside the NSCAI’s lines of effort and are part of a special project on malign information operations enabled by AI. Commissioners decided that the malign influence recommendations require further analysis and refinement.
The other five recommendations that were tabled are contained within the train and recruit AI talent line of effort and deal with improving AI-related education at the kindergarten through fifth grade levels. These recommendations will also be discussed as part of the commission’s fourth quarter deliberations.
Some of the other recommendations approved are aimed at strengthening the alliance among the federal national security apparatus, the private sector and academia and include the creation of AI testbed for academic and industry research, investing in multi-disciplinary teams pursuing “bold research initiatives” in AI, making high value awards to top researchers with high-risk ideas, and creating a “grand challenge” within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to “drive future defense capabilities, such as human-robotics teaming and human AI-collaboration,” the commission says.
The commission also recommends that DoD better communicate its modernization priorities to industry through published research and development objectives tied to these priorities.