Using Artificial Intelligence In Military Operations

In modern warfare there is a necessity to keep pace with the volume and complexity of the data being generated and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will power the new  US Joint All-Domain Command and Control system. AI will will allow US military commanders to better communicate and make decisions. 

Indeed, AI could potentially revolutionise warfighting concepts based on manoeuvre, but there are several technical and operational hurdles that need to be overcome.

AI has many potential military uses:  AI-guided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and battle-management systems that provide commanders enhanced situational awareness could facilitate the quick identification of an enemy’s ‘centre of gravity’ in the battlespace and enable forces rapidly to coordinate joint attacks.

“We are going to use a lot of sensors, whether they're unmanned aerial systems, unmanned ground systems, unmanned maritime systems, unintended sensors, all working together, and what our goal is to have those working together collaboratively and autonomously,” US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) says acquistion chief executive, James Smith at a recent event

SOCOM doesn’t just want networks of sensors to collaborate better. They also want the underlying autonomy software to work the same on everything from a 3-D printer to a $10,000 drone. “We have a goal of what we're calling ‘portable autonomy,’ so being able to port software, virtual algorithms across different classes,” of small drones... We would have an autonomy developer actually have their software algorithms on a payload and then integrate that onto a third-party platform and demonstrate the ability to control that platform without talking to that third-party platform provider,” a spokesman told DefenseOne.

Part of the answer is to put more information and computing power on the battlefield instead of counting on being able to “reach back” for it. The military and SOCOM in particular have been trying to bring cloud capabilities much closer to the battlefield.

One example of tactical cloud use is integrating radar sensor data for air defense in the field, closer to the threat, rather than receiving an alert from a command centre.

AI uses machine learning to simulate the human mind’s problem-solving and decision-making capabilities, easing the cognitive load on humans, enabling quicker decision-making and follow-on actions. In an age of information overload, the issue the military and intelligence community must deal with isn’t having too little data to work with as it once may have been, but how to process all the available data to find and utilize what is important quickly and efficiently.

SOCOM’s commander, General Richard Clarke, has emphasised the importance of AI and cyber warfare, suggesting that the future of US special operations might not be with the operator on the ground but rather with the cyber soldier behind a keyboard.

AI is expected to be used more widely by the US Defense Department to maintain a lead against military competitors China and Russia. This means it will require updating policy and infrastructure, using cloud computing and highly skilled operators and leadership.

US Dept. Of Defense:     DefenseOne:     National Interest:     US Army:     National Defense Magazine

IISS:       Lockheed Martin:        GovExec:  

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