Pentagon Underinvesting in Artificial Intelligence
n recent years, defense officials have been banging the drum about the importance of adopting artificial intelligence to assist with everything from operating autonomous platforms to intelligence analysis to logistics and back office functions. But the Pentagon is not pumping enough money into this technology, according to one expert.
“The critical question is whether the United States will be at the forefront of these developments or lag behind, reacting to advances in this space by competitors such as China,” Susanna Blume, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, said in a recent report titled, “Strategy to Ask: Analysis of the 2020 Defense Budget Request.”
The request includes just $927 million for the Pentagon’s AI efforts, about 0.13 percent of the department’s proposed $718 billion topline, she noted.
“Given the enormous implications of artificial intelligence for the future of warfare, it should be a far higher priority for DoD in the technology development space, and certainly a higher priority than the current No. 1 — development of hypersonic weapons,” she said. “While DoD is making progress in AI … it is, quite simply, still not moving fast enough.”
The Pentagon is hoping to leverage advances in the commercial sector, which is investing far greater amounts of money into AI. It has a number of initiatives aimed at building bridges with companies in tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin, Texas. However, not everyone in those places is on board with assisting the military, Blume noted.
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