Army Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps and the Biden administration’s nominee to head U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), wants to use artificial intelligene (AI) to improve targeting in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

Before Kurilla’s nomination hearing on Feb. 8, in response to a policy question from the Senate Armed Services Committee on what the U.S. and other countries could do to counter Iran’s conventional military might, Kurilla wrote that “we must continue investing in technology, to include artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms and programs, to increase our ability to detect, defend, and respond to conventional Iranian military capabilities.”

Asked by SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to elaborate upon that during the Feb. 8 hearing, Kurilla said that Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville has charged the XVIII Airborne Corps with leading the Army AI effort and becoming “an AI-enabled corps.”

The XVIII Airborne Corps has been holding quarterly “Scarlet Dragon” (SD) exercises with all six military services and allies since 2020 to showcase AI in target detection.

The last exercise, SD 4 in October 2021, featured 40 aircraft, including Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35 and Boeing [BA] Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, four ships, two Lockheed Martin M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a maritime operations center, a General Atomics‘ MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, 11 satellites, and “multiple algorithms,” per XVIII Airborne Corps.

One of the SD exercises “culminated in a Marine F-35 dropping a live, 1,000-pound bomb on an artificial intelligence-derived grid that was one meter off from the surveyed grid,” Kurilla told Reed on Feb. 8. “We do these exercises quarterly to improve the targeting ability of the corps. If confirmed, I would look to take that down to CENTCOM and expound upon that.”

Reed asked Kurilla whether AI would help the U.S. in over the horizon “suppression of terrorists in Afghanistan.”

“Senator, it [AI] has counterterrorism capabilities as well,” Kurilla replied.

Upon questioning from Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Kurilla said that AI “is the next Revolution in Military Affairs.”

“What we have discovered is that the human must be in the loop. An individual human augmented by artificial intelligence is far more effective than just artificial intelligence on its own right now,” Kurilla said of lessons learned from the Scarlet Dragon exercises. “We go through the process of how can we increase the scale and scope of targeting against a near peer in a large scale combat operation, and we have found that we were able to exponentially increase that capability to sort through hundreds of targets, to pick the right targets, to be able to strike moving at machine-to-machine [speeds] and directly to an aircraft.”

Kurilla said that he plans to explore partnerships with Israel and other countries in the region to build an integrated air and missile defense system to protect the United Arab Emirates and other nations from missile and drone attacks carried out by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.