The Pentagon and National Security Agency (NSA) inspectors general are to evaluate how the NSA is using artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) for signals intelligence (SIGINT).
“The evaluation objective is to assess the National Security Agency’s integration of artificial intelligence into signals intelligence operations in accordance with DoD and Intelligence Community guidance for artificial intelligence,” according to an Aug. 6 notice by the DoD IG. “We may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds, and we will also consider suggestions from DoD and National Security Agency management on additional or revised objectives.”
The DoD IG had announced an evaluation on the topic on Aug. 17 last year, but the Pentagon IG canceled that effort last month and adopted a joint effort with the NSA IG.
“The DoD Office of Inspector General considers a variety of factors when determining when to conduct oversight work or cancel previously announced work,” Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the DoD IG, wrote in an email. “In this case, given the objective as stated in our announcement memo, we determined that it is a better use of taxpayer resources to conduct our oversight jointly with the National Security Agency.”
In a post last month after a virtual briefing by AI experts in the intelligence community, the NSA said that AI/ML would help protect the U.S. from “malicious cyber actors.”
Over the last decade, NSA has been developing natural language processing–using AI to understand human language.
“At the NSA, with most of our industry and academic counterparts, our journey started in this area of natural language processing and computer vision — applying capabilities like machine transcription, machine translation … to our mission,” Jason Wang, technical director for the NSA Computer and Analytic Sciences Research Group, said in a statement last month. “Part of the journey over this past decade has been maturing those foundational AI capabilities … to extend to some of our core missions.”