Artificial Intelligence: Status of Developing and Getting Capabilities for Weapon Systems

What GAO Uncovered

The Section of Defense (DOD) is actively pursuing synthetic intelligence (AI) capabilities. AI refers to personal computer systems developed to replicate a array of human capabilities and constantly get improved at their assigned tasks. GAO earlier discovered 3 waves or varieties of AI, revealed underneath.

Forms of Synthetic Intelligence (AI) and Connected DOD Examples

DOD recognizes that acquiring and working with AI differs from regular software program. Classic computer software is programmed to accomplish duties primarily based on static guidance, whereas AI is programmed to discover to boost at its specified jobs. This calls for massive information sets, computing ability, and constant monitoring to be certain the capability performs as supposed. The vast majority of AI capabilities that support DOD’s warfighting mission are nevertheless in growth. These abilities mostly target on analyzing intelligence, enhancing weapon procedure platforms this sort of as plane and ships that do not require human operators, and delivering suggestions on the battlefield (these as where to move troops).

When getting new abilities that count on advanced software, DOD has traditionally faced troubles, these as very long acquisition processes and a scarcity of competent staff. GAO identified that it carries on to confront these difficulties alongside with other people precise to AI, such as obtaining usable details available to prepare the AI. For case in point, AI for detecting an adversary’s submarines requires collecting quite a few visuals of several submarines and labeling them so the AI can discover to identify 1 on its own. DOD also faces troubles integrating trained AI into current weapon devices that were not made for it and creating have faith in in AI amid its staff. DOD initiated a variety of efforts—such as establishing a cross-company digital system for AI and AI-precise trainings—to address these challenges and assist its pursuit of AI, but it is as well soon to assess success.

Why GAO Did This Review

DOD has documented that AI is poised to change long run battlefields and the speed of threats the U.S. faces. AI capabilities could enable machines to perform duties that normally demand human intelligence, this kind of as identifying prospective threats or targets on the battlefield. DOD designated AI a top modernization spot and is investing closely in AI tools and capabilities. Other nations are making sizeable investments in this region that threaten to erode the U.S. navy technological and operational edge.

The National Protection Commission on Artificial Intelligence concluded in its March 2021 report that the U.S. wants to act swiftly to make sure AI readiness. AI specialists from inside and outdoors DOD agree that making certain the office has the essential infrastructure in position will be necessary to creating, obtaining, and scaling AI for weapon systems properly.

Senate Report 116-236 involves a provision for GAO to critique DOD’s AI warfighting acquisition-linked attempts. This report examines (1) the exclusive mother nature of AI and existing standing of AI capabilities that support weapon devices, and (2) how DOD is addressing challenges in creating, buying, and deploying AI abilities for weapon methods.

To do this get the job done, GAO interviewed officials from over 20 DOD entities and reviewed DOD documentation as perfectly as experiences and suggestions from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, amongst other people.

For more info, make contact with Jon Ludwigson at (202) 512-4841 or [email protected] or Candice N. Wright at (202) 512-6888 or [email protected].