SPADE 2017 Keynote – Addressing the Threat through Automation June 8, 2017

    In late May, Dr. John Zangardi, Acting Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (DoD CIO), spoke at the SPADE 2017 conference in Munich Germany. Hosted by AFCEA, KPMG, SAP, Secusmart, and IBM, the annual two-day event focused on “Defence in the Cognitive Era: Accelerating beyond the velocity of threats.”

    This theme could not be timelier as the Department integrates technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning into its information technology and cybersecurity environment to counter a threat that moves at an unprecedented velocity.

    “Predictive modeling based on AI and ML will help DoD solve difficult problems through the use of statistical modeling and computational learning,” explained Zangardi. “This will let us leverage historical and real-time data at unprecedented speeds.”

    Zangardi explained that he clearly sees the potential of ML and AI in three areas: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; cybersecurity; and healthcare. “ML and AI are key enablers,” he said, and a “top request from field commanders is more ISR.”

    He discussed the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s announcement earlier this month to establish an Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team. The team will accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and ML, and turn the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence and insights at speed, focusing first on ISR.

    In cybersecurity, ML and AI will improve the Department’s response times and defensive capabilities in cyber. “Particularly on the defensive side, speed and scale must go to the next level, and ML is the way to do this,” explained Zangardi.

    As the Department continues integrating AI and ML into its IT and cybersecurity environment, public private partnerships will be intrinsic. Zangardi sees a greater willingness by industry to share technical data with DoD as an important piece of this puzzle. “This will help us procure IT in an environment with rapid innovation,” he said.

    If commercial industry can leverage AI and ML to move at velocity in areas like fraud detection and recommendations for consumer items like streaming video and daily purchases, what could DoD accomplish for the warfighter with these critical capabilities?

    To learn more about the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team and Project Maven, please click here for Project Maven DSD Memo.