The Pentagon Gets $250m Extra To Spend On AI

A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) fund within the $1.5 trillion fiscal 2022 spending package has been signed by President Biden to fund the Pentagon's efforts to increase adoption of AI at Combat Command level. 

This is  the latest efforts to boost a technology that  the US military believe will  provide an edge over China.

A $200 million Artificial Intelligence Development Fund was included in the $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022, and was highlighted by House and Senate appropriation committees. Another $50 million was allocated to improve recruitment and development of AI talent at the US Department of Defense.

“The congressional defense committees’ oversight efforts discovered numerous opportunities to accelerate the pace of change, especially with respect to security and deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region, space and cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, and infrastructure and public shipyard improvements,” the budget documents says.

The efforts lodged in the latest budget dovetail with the Pentagon’s AI and Data Acceleration Initiative, announced in June 2021. The program embeds data-focused technical teams with the 11 combatant commands and hopes to streamline workflows.

“By dispatching teams to our combatant commands, ADA looks to generate foundational capabilities through a series of implementation experiments or exercises, each one purposefully building understanding through successive and incremental learning,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said “This software engineering approach will be critical to advancing our data-centered capabilities.”

The Pentagon has described AI as a game-changer ans a critical military technology that demands investment.

AI, according to the Defense Department’s 2018 strategy, can help maintain equipment, reduce costs, improve readiness and modernise organisations. “As AI implementation scales across the department, it has the potential to automate routine functions, lead to improved decision making and allow for multi-domain integration,” Hicks said. “Only through the integration of AI and related technologies will we gain both an information advantage and operational advantage on rapidly accelerating future battlefields.”

The Defense Department had almost 700 AI projects as of April 2021. The projects span several services and combatant commands, according to the Government Accountability Office, a monitor of federal programs and spending.

Currently the Department of Defense is juggling more than 685 artificial intelligence projects and the  US Army and Navy are each handling more than 200 artificial intelligence projects, mostly funded via research and development. At least 17 of the Pentagon’s 88 reported major weapon systems in fiscal year 2021 had AI projects.

US Defense Dept:   Defense News:     C4ISRNET:   Breaking Defense:    AI News Now

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