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Monday, January 25th, 2021

NDAA includes provisions from Artificial Intelligence for the Armed Forces Act

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The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report includes provisions from the Artificial Intelligence for the Armed Forces Act, which looks to bolster the military’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

“The complexity of 21st-century warfare requires that our armed forces be both technically skilled and proficient with their weapons,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, said. “I am glad to see that the FY 2021 NDAA conference report takes important steps towards that goal by implementing parts of my bipartisan Artificial Intelligence for the Armed Forces Act, which includes a number of key recommendations by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. These policy changes will help our military attract top AI talent and improve our military’s effectiveness with respect to AI decision-making.”

Portman had introduced the Artificial Intelligence for the Armed Forces Act, from which the NDAA provisions originate.

The provisions require the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center director to report to the Secretary of Defense and ensure that the appointee is a three-star equivalent. Also, it modifies the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude test to add a computational assessment to identify applicants with skills in AI. Further, it provides directions on direct hiring authorities to help bring AI experts into the Department of Defense.

Portman is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM).