Armed Forces News

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Pentagon experts in artificial intelligence (AI) believe that its proper implementation is essential to confronting potential adversaries like China and Russia.

“We need to find the gaps, the right places where we can leverage value, and then that value is going to drive a virtuous cycle of change,” Craig Martell, the Defense Department’s chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, said during a June 8 fireside chat with Pentagon chief information officer John B. Sherman.


Martell recently took over as the head of the department’s AI unit. He will oversee strategy development, as well as policy formulation for data, analytics and AI. A chief task entails breaking down bureaucratic barriers to adapting AI, creating a supportive infrastructure, and providing services that would foster AI solutions to problems. This is all happening as China and Russia continue to make unencumbered inroads in their own AI programs.

Martell hopes to foster relationships with industry, to avoid attempts to replicate what is already available in the marketplace.

“It doesn’t make any sense for us to build things that we shouldn’t be building here if industry already has a solution,” Martell said.

He emphasized that small and medium companies – innovative startups with fresh ideas – would be key to future progress. Finding and retaining a talented workforce, he said, is also essential.

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