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Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

Package of 11 AI amendments added to 2022 National Defense Authorization Act

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Science fiction is becoming fact, according to United States Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) — and as a result, he and fellow U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) have successfully added 11 artificial intelligence (AI)-focused amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

While the larger legislation remains in committee, the successful amendment additions — passed by voice vote — represent forward momentum for a series of recommendations made by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. These include questions of workforce, modifications to strategy, investment and ethical use.

“Tomorrow’s battlefield will not be about a particular platform or weapons system, but about how we connect those systems, analyze data from hundreds of sensors, and help commanders make better tactical and strategic decisions,” Langevin, chairman of the House Armed Service Committee’s Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems subcommittee, said. “To stay ahead of our adversaries, we must innovate faster. We must streamline our acquisition policies. And we must have an AI-ready defense workforce — from the lab experts to generals and admirals who understand what is possible.”

Together with Stefanik, Langevin helped create the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence in 2018. The commission’s final report was released in March.

“Artificial Intelligence is an increasingly dominant factor in every aspect of our lives and is essential to both our national and economic security as the United States’ adversaries take substantial steps to surpass us in these emerging technologies,” Stefanik said. “I am proud to have worked with Congressman Langevin to establish the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence to ensure the United States does not fall behind in military readiness, the digital workforce or economic competitiveness.”

The full list of amendments include:

  • Mandating a brief from the Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center on the GAMECHANGER program, which uses natural language processing to search policy memo databases to cut down on redundant or conflicting policy;
  • Directing the Comptroller General to provide a report and brief on DoD’s progress creating a STEM workforce that includes AI specialists
    Directing the Secretary of Defense to analyze whether a new contracting mechanism would benefit delivery of critical software to warfighters and users;
  • Modification of approach to identification, prioritization, development and use of emerging capabilities and technologies, including AI-enabled applications;
  • Establishment and pursuit of a five year pilot program focused on smoothing acquisition and transition of technologies from prototype phase to production;
  • Requiring a DoD strategy for dominating information and supporting government efforts;
  • Developing a plan detailing the investments needed to develop and institute DoD strategy and guidance documents for a modern digital ecosystem;
  • Creation of or updates for occupational series for digital careers by the Office of Personnel Management;
  • Creation of a short course by the Secretary of Defense on emerging technologies for senior executive-level civilian leaders;
  • Review of potential applications of artificial intelligence and digital technology in DoD platforms, processes and operations, while establishing performance objectives and metrics of AI readiness goals by the Secretary of Defense; and
  • Establishment of a new position: the Digital Talent Recruiting Officer, whose goals will be to identify and address gaps in the Department’s ability to attract civilian digital talent.