The Stack Archive

Pentagon exploring AI-human warfare teams

Thu 5 May 2016

In a conference on Monday, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work outlined a key component of modern warfare strategy called Third Offset. The military intends to take advantage of cutting-edge R&D to incorporate AI-human teams to overcome an enemy’s network.

At the 2016 Global Strategy forum on Monday, Mr. Work noted that products with potential military applications are fast-tracked to enter the global market. “R&D is going down in the public sector, but up in the private sector. Most things that have to do with AI [artificial intelligence] and autonomy are happening in the private sector. And so all competitors are going to have access to it, it’s going to be a world of fast-followers. You’re going to have an instance where you’re not going to have a lasting advantage.”

Anti-access area denial, also known as A2AD, which refers to network-on-network warfare, is a primary focus of discussions of Third Offset. “It’s when your battlefield network collides against another one. And what the Third Offset says is how do you put learning machines, AI, and autonomous systems into the network to allow your network to prevail over an enemy’s network,” Work said.

Third Offset strategy was awarded $18 billion dollars in the U.S. defense budget for 2017, published in February 2016. $3 billion is intended specifically for human-machine collaboration with another $1.7 billion earmarked for cyber and electronic warfare. Third Offset as originally conceived in November 2014 was a comprehensive method of extending US military advantage using long-term planning and technological advances in areas as diverse as extended-range air, undersea warfare, and complex system engineering, integration and operation.

Mr. Work stated during budget discussions that the Pentagon’s focus in Third Offset would be on autonomous deep learning machines and systems, human-machine collaboration, and advanced human-machine teaming along with semi-autonomous weapons systems. He also said that the next 25 years of military concern will be primarily about competition between the ‘great powers’, specifically, the U.S., Russia and China.


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