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JAIC shifts focus to data management tools, infrastructure

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is shifting focus from maturing and refining of its joint warfighting concept and the associated artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) initiatives, to focus on improving necessary data infrastructure and tooling for AI development across the US Armed Forces.

According to JAIC Chief Technology Officer Nand Mulchandani, the new and expanded focus for the JAIC is how to “generate secular change in the [Pentagon] and the environmental conditions … for infrastructure data and tooling, so that everybody is able to do [the] marginal work on AI”, which focuses on algorithm development and application of AI-enabled software, systems and platforms.

“That is one big area we focus on, which is the [data] prep work,” Mulchandani added, referring to the integral data management architectures and applications needed to set the stage for drafting resilient and dependable AI algorithms. The centre’s decision to bolster its efforts in data management and infrastructure falls in line with the Pentagon’s ongoing initiative to improve how the department manages, leverages, and stores the vast troves of information collected by the US Armed Forces.

Pentagon officials released the department’s new data management strategy in October 2020, with the goal of initiating data management reforms in four key areas: joint all domain operations, decision leadership, senior leader decision support, and business analytics, department officials said at the time. “Those are the things we need to solve across the Department of Defense,” Pentagon Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy told reporters, at the time of the strategy’s release.

A screenshot of an AlphaDogfight demonstration where a US Air Force pilot battled an AI air combat algorithm (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency )

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