U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) fiscal 2024 wish list points to what the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) has said is a primary longer term goal of artificial intelligence (AI)–the prediction of adversary behaviors that a human analyst may not have envisioned.

The CENTCOM fiscal 2024 wish tabulation–one of a number of DoD’s incongruously named “unfunded priority lists” (UPLs)–includes $34 million for Palantir Technologies‘ [PLTR] Maven Smart System (MSS). An Arlington, Va., watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, posted the CENTCOM fiscal 2024 wish list and 12 other such lists.

“USCENTCOM’s military advantage is increasingly reliant on data-driven technologies and the integration of diverse data sources, elastic computing to the edge, and rapid software deployment,” the CENTCOM UPL said. “Information sharing and data analytics are principal mechanisms for understanding China’s encroachment, illuminating Russia’s activities, disrupting Iran’s UAS/Advanced Conventional Weapons (ACW) supply chains, and spoiling ISIS and AQ [Al Qaeda] external operations.”

“[The $34 million in] funding provides USCENTCOM with an enterprise license for users of MSS,” the CENTCOM wish list said. “MSS allows users to explore and visualize the battlefield while increasing ability to anticipate, monitor, and respond to destabilizing activities from strategic competitors. Leveraging MSS as a strategic asset provides new ways and means to monitor, respond, and deter aggression at the speed of operations.”

MSS is the software for Project Maven, which kicked off in 2017 with the oversight of the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The project has looked to develop an AI tool to process object data from full-motion video (FMV) collected by unmanned aircraft, such as General Atomics‘ MQ-9s; decrease the workload of intelligence analysts who may spend hours sifting through FMV; and reduce targeting to firing timelines from hundreds of minutes to single-digit minutes–a capability that Pentagon officials have said is needed for fleeting, “time sensitive targets.”

In January, Maven moved from DoD’s bailiwick to NGA’s.

At the Intelligence and National Security Association’s spring symposium on March 8, Phillip Chudoba, NGA’s associate director of capabilities, said that Maven is the “only performant computer vision, AI/ML capability in the DoD.”

“Maven is positioned to rapidly deploy AI to meet DoD requirements for those real-time geospatial situational awareness needs,” he said.

The 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., has used Maven features in the corps’ Scarlet Dragon exercises, which began in December 2020 under then corps commander Army Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla who now heads CENTCOM as a four star.

Chudoba said that “there are opportunities down there [at Fort Bragg] for potential partners to showcase technologies, but we’re operationalizing it in that space through experimentation with a military partner who in fact took some of these technologies to Europe under the banner of our monitoring of the Ukraine crisis.”

DoD has said that Maven has deployed to dozens of sites for Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force tactical drones and medium altitude MQ-1C Gray Eagle and MQ-9 Reaper drones to detect and geo-locate people, vehicles, and buildings; track moving objects; and collect data to improve identification and tracking algorithms. The Pentagon has said that it wants to leverage the employment of Maven in the CENTCOM AoR for use in countering high-tech adversaries through the detection and tracking of tanks, artillery, aircraft and missile launchers.

An April, 2018 Congressional Research Service report said that DoD initially incorporated Project Maven AI tools for 10 sites.

Google [GOOGL] was the prime contractor for Project Maven but dropped out in 2018 after receiving pushback from employees about the company’s tools being used for an AI drone imaging effort.

Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth, director of NGA, said on May 22 that combatant commanders are routinely using Maven to satisfy their operational needs (Defense Daily, May 22).

Mark Munsell, NGA’s deputy director for Data & Digital Innovation, said that Maven’s AI models did not have analytics for destroyed equipments before the Ukraine war but that, in the future, Maven could provide battle damage assessment of vehicles and other objects.

Maven may become a program of record this year.