Senate bill would require new measures to merge artificial intelligence into the U.S. defense landscape


Senator Mike Rounds, RS.D., recently introduced legislation that would require the Department of Defense to institute goals and performance metrics to integrate artificial intelligence and digital readiness into all of its platforms, training and operations.

“As our adversaries get more and more sophisticated in integrating AI into their military capabilities,” Rounds said. Nextgov in an email Tuesday, “we have to do the same.”

The Defense Ministry has taken a series of measures to prioritize emerging technologies that have been widely used in recent years. Launched in 2018, DOD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, or JAIC, is a hub designed to strategically unify and accelerate AI applications across the U.S. military and defense enterprise.

Yet from now on the ministry would have lack baselines and explicit metrics to match and measure the execution of its ultimate AI mission. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence – which was established by the National Defense Authorization Act 2019 to review advances in AI, machine learning and related technologies and develop recommendations related policies – noted in its final report that the Pentagon may implement new measures to improve the integration of AI-based applications into its exercises, wargames, experiments and more.

“My bill would satisfy a recommendation from the [NSCAI]”, Noted Rounds.

Specifically, the Defense Ministry’s five-page law on artificial intelligence measures, shared with Nextgov, would require government officials to assess potential technology applications and produce clear performance metrics and targets that officials look to when deploying. In the process, each secretary of the military department and head of each sub-component of the DOD should “perform a comprehensive skills gap review in the areas of software development, software engineering, knowledge management, data science and [AI]”, Assess the number and qualifications of staff needed to fill these gaps, then create“ recruitment, training and talent management performance targets and associated metrics ”to help the huge agency secure a staffing suitable for tech-savvy personnel.

DOD’s AI investments and integrations would also be scrutinized extensively. Among other provisions, the bill would require ministry staff to assess and create a pathway for AI to be further integrated into the agency’s administrative functions, such as human resources, logistics, healthcare. and human resources.

A report would be due to Congress no later than 120 days after the completion of this comprehensive review.

This bill was referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Rounds also expressed his intention to work with his colleagues in Congress to “ensure that the provisions of this bill are included in the final NDAA” for fiscal year 2022, which is currently under negotiation on the Hill.

“This year’s NDAA must prioritize improving DOD’s use of constantly evolving advanced technology,” he said.

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