The U.S. Defence Department has created a Task Force to evaluate and guide the application of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) for national security purposes, amid an explosion of public interest in the technology. The establishment of a generative AI task force, an initiative that reflects the US Department of Defence (DoD) commitment to harnessing the power of AI in a responsible and strategic manner.
Task Force Lima falls under the purview of the department’s Chief Digital and AI Office (CDAO). Other defence and intelligence community organisations will participate, according to an August 10 memo signed by Deputy Defence Secretary Dr Kathleen Hicks.She said it will play a pivotal role in analysing and integrating generative AI tools, such as large language models (LLMs), across the DoD.
“The establishment of Task Force Lima underlines the DoD’ unwavering commitment to leading the charge in AI innovation,” Kathleen said. “As we navigate the transformative power of generative AI, our focus remains steadfast on ensuring national security, minimising risks, and responsibly integrating these technologies.The future of defence is not just about adopting cutting-edge technologies, but doing so with foresight, responsibility, and a deep understanding of the broader implications for our nation.”
Led by the CDAO, Task Force Lima will assess, synchronize, and employ generative AI capabilities across the DoD, ensuring that the Department remains at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies while safeguarding national security.
“The DoD has an imperative to responsibly pursue the adoption of generative AI models while identifying proper protective measures and mitigating national security risks that may result from issues such as poorly managed training data,” said Dr. Craig Martell, the DoD Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer. “We must also consider the extent to which our adversaries will employ this technology and seek to disrupt our own use of AI-based solutions.”
Leveraging partnerships across the Department, Intelligence Community and other government agencies, the task force will help minimise risk and redundancy while pursuing generative AI initiatives across the Department.
AI has emerged as a transformative technology with the potential to revolutionise various sectors, including defence. By leveraging generative AI models, which can use vast datasets to train algorithms and generate products efficiently, the Department aims to enhance its operations in areas such as warfighting, business affairs, health, readiness, and policy.
“The adoption of AI in defence is not solely about innovative technology but also about enhancing national security,” said U.S. Navy Capt. M. Xavier Lugo, Task Force Lima mission commander and member of the CDAO’s Algorithmic Warfare Directorate. “The DoD recognizes the potential of generative AI to significantly improve intelligence, operational planning, and administrative and business processes. However, responsible implementation is key to managing associated risks effectively.”
The CDAO became operational in June 2022 and is dedicated to integrating and optimising artificial intelligence capabilities across the DoD. The office is responsible for accelerating the DoD’s adoption of data, analytics, and AI, enabling the Department’s digital infrastructure and policy adoption to deliver scalable AI-driven solutions for enterprise and joint use cases, safeguarding the nation against current and emerging threats.
Generative AI, capable of carrying a convincing conversation or crafting content like computer code with little prompting, has garnered much attention in recent months. Open AI’s Chat GPT, for example, accrued more than 1 million users within a week of its November launch, and the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, testified before Congress about its potential hazards.
The employment of generative AI within the military is hotly debated. While a smart assistant or AI-powered chat bot could efficiently find files, answer frequently asked questions or dig up contact information, such tools can also fuel disinformation campaigns, spoofing attempts and cyberattacks. The Defence Information Systems Agency this fiscal year added generative AI to its “Tech Watch list”. Other items on the list include 5G wireless communications, quantum-resistant cryptography and zero-trust cybersecurity.
The DoD faces an imperative to explore the use of this technology and the potential of these models’ scale, speed, and interactive capabilities to improve the Department’s mission effectiveness while simultaneously identifying proper protection measures and mitigating a variety of related risks.
At least 685 AI projects, including several tied to major weapons systems, were underway at the Defence Department as of early 2021, the most recent public tally. The Pentagon requested $1.8 billion for AI in its fiscal 2024 budget request.
AI has emerged as a transformative technology with the potential to revolutionize various sectors, including defence. By leveraging generative AI models, which can use vast datasets to train algorithms and generate products efficiently, the Department aims to enhance its operations in areas such as warfighting, business affairs, health, readiness, and policy.
India has also kick-started on incorporating generative AI task force in defence projects. AI technology will be included to enhance the operational preparedness of the armed forces in a significant way.
It would include equipping them with unmanned tanks, vessels, aerial vehicles and robotic weaponry. The AI move is part of a broader policy initiative to prepare the Army, Navy and the Air Force for next generation warfare and comes amid rising Chinese investments in developing critical applications of AI for its military. However, it is far behind the Pentagon’s Task Force Lima for studying its use in the defence against enemy. India has all the expertise which could be extensively used for the application of generative artificial intelligence for national security purposes, amid an explosion of public interest in the technology.