Connectivity is the crux of future military AI, official explains

According to comments by American defense officials, the United States is falling behind in its ability to connect AI, which could jeopardize its future in the military.
Christopher McFadden
Future of AI on the cards.
Future of AI on the cards.


According to a statement by a U.S. Central Command official, any advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced computing systems will be useless if they cannot connect securely and reliably. While the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) acknowledges that advancements like AI are revolutionary and investing heavily in it, it appears that the network infrastructure needed to support it is sorely lacking, at least at present.

Schuyler Moore, CENTCOM's chief technology officer, explains this kind of basic connectivity between military assets is "at the core of anything related to" the real-world application and adoption of such technology.

“Algorithms on their own are increasingly less interesting to us,” she said at the SparkCognition Government Systems event in Austin, Texas. “[Do] they run on the network with the right classification of other data we need? Do they run in a particular area, at a forward operating base, or on a vessel where the bandwidth is, in technical terms, real bad?” she added.

This must be addressed quickly as the United States faces a challenge preparing for a hypothetical battle with China in the Pacific or Russia in Europe. If direct conflict were to break out, how would U.S. forces connect over great distances and theatres operation, especially when under fire? Russia and China are both believed to be able to obstruct military communications and fend off American targeting and assaults.

To this end, Defense News reports, through a multibillion-dollar project known as "Joint All-Domain Command and Control," or JADC2 for short, the Pentagon seeks seamless networking across the land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. Network modernization is one of the Army's main priorities, along with overhauling its aviation fleet and enhancing air and missile defense, to be more precise.

“From start to finish, if I’ve collected data at a certain point, and then I need to push it back to a home base where you can run analytics, and that pipe is severed, suddenly everything downstream of that stops,” said Moore.

“If you think about data being the limiting factor for maturity and function of a model, we at the edge have found that network infrastructure and function is the limiting factor for adoption and use of anything,” she said. “I will hammer on this again and again. This is the make or break of whether or not models [impact] our operations,” she added.

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