The U.S. military wants to expand its use of artificial intelligence in warfare, but says it will take care to deploy the technology in accordance with the nation's values.
The Pentagon outlined its first AI strategy in a report released Tuesday.
The plan calls for accelerating the use of
The report makes little mention of autonomous weapons but cites an existing 2012 military directive that requires humans to be in control.
The U.S. and Russia are among a handful of nations that have blocked efforts at the United Nations for an international ban on "killer robots" — fully autonomous weapons systems that could one day conduct war without human intervention. The U.S. has argued that it's premature to try to regulate them.
The strategy unveiled by the Department of Defense this week is focused on more immediate applications, but even some of those have sparked ethical debates.
The Pentagon hit a roadblock in its AI efforts last year after internal protests at Google led the tech company to drop out of
"Everything we've seen is with a human decision-maker in the loop," said Todd Probert, a vice president at Raytheon's intelligence division, which is working with the Pentagon on Maven and other projects. "It's using technology to help speed up the process but not supplant the command structure that's in place."
The Pentagon’s report follows President Donald Trump’s Monday executive order prioritizing AI research across the government.
Monica Witt: US Air Force officer defects to Iran with information 'seriously damaging' to national security, officials reveal
The former Air Force intelligence specialist was charged with espionage and was accused of working for Iran, according to an unsealed federal
The announcement arrived after Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and other senior officials held a call with reporters to discuss what they called “a national security related action involving Iran”.
Mr Demers was joined by US Attorney for Washington, Jessie Liu, FBI Executive Assistant Director for National Security Jay Tabb, Treasury Department director of Foreign Assets Control Adrea Gacki and Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent Terry Phillips.
The officials discussed the unsealed indictment against
Also charged are four Iranian hackers. Prosecutors say they targeted former colleagues of Ms Witt’s in the intelligence community.
The indictment says the four Iranians were acting on behalf of the government-linked Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country,” Mr Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, said on the call.
Ms Witt remains at-large. The 39-year-old “has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for conspiracy to deliver and delivering national defence information to representatives of the Iranian government,” according to the indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday morning.
“Witt, who defected to Iran in 2013, is alleged to have assisted Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former fellow agents in the US Intelligence Community (USIC). Witt is also alleged to have disclosed the code name and classified mission of a US Department of Defence Special Access Program,” the indictment continues.
A warrant has been placed for her arrest.
I think the collision response was badly handled. One is too many.
Nah its not really, its very bad, but at least she left and we are done with her sorry ass! What's worse are the subversive anti American leftists, typified by our former President and his Secretary of State, and the new, some our duly elected United States Congress, which already needs a "cleansing", no I'm not talking about some "purge",, just throw their asses out of congress, hell, out of the country would be better...
Cool, let's start with the Cheetos colored Russian hireling squatting the Oval Office!Nah its not really, its very bad, but at least she left and we are done with her sorry ass! What's worse are the subversive anti American leftists, typified by our former President and his Secretary of State, and the new, some our duly elected United States Congress, which already needs a "cleansing", no I'm not talking about some "purge",, just throw their asses out of congress, hell, out of the country would be better...
There are few things more entertaining than listening to top defense executives talk about classified weapons programs—while trying not to talk about those classified programs. But somehow or another, prime contractors and everyone else are going to have to get used to doing just that.
Raytheon and Northrop Grumman learned this the hard way recently after announcing their fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results.
Raytheon says it is seeing astronomical growth in classified military orders, but the company could also spur some near-term disappointment with investors and financial analysts as it works through paying down the costs of pursuing the new defense technology.
When Raytheon reported results on Jan. 31, analysts quickly noted that quarterly revenue and operating profits—which were nonetheless positive—had come in below expectations. In a teleconference, top Raytheon executives attributed the relative underperformance to an acceleration of work on lower-paying, classified development projects.
“In 2018, we had record classified bookings that were up over 45% year-over-year” to $7 billion, Raytheon Chairman and CEO Tom Kennedy stressed. Bookings are a forward-looking metric that measures the value of firm orders awarded during the year. The company also saw record classified sales, a growth metric that measures revenue, which grew 19% year-over-year and represented 19% of total company sales in 2018 compared with 16-17% since 2015.
“As a reminder, classified business is crucial for Raytheon’s growth and success,” Kennedy told analysts. “It’s a margin headwind in the near term, but over the long term it is positive because it does generate those franchises and margin-expansion opportunities when programs move into production.”
Still, stock traders knocked more than 3% off the share price in regular trading after the results were announced and as analysts noted Raytheon’s short-term operational shortfall. “To some extent the company also has a challenging comparison versus its defense peers, most of which have comfortably beaten earnings-per-share forecast for the fourth quarter,” said analysts at Vertical Research Partners.
Something similar happened at Northrop. It saw higher revenue in the final quarter of 2018 from a black program in its Manned Aircraft business unit—presumably the B-21, which recently passed its critical design review—but the prime contractor expects that 2019 revenue for the program and unit will be flat.
“We see sales leveling off, and that is consistent with what we would typically see in a program that is executing well and has completed its critical design review,” Northrop Grumman CEO and President Kathy Warden stressed during a teleconference on Jan. 31. “Beyond that, I really can’t comment any more on what we expect, either in future years or about the performance of the program.”
That was too bad, because investors probably would have liked to receive far more information. After the results were released, Northrop’s stock slid 1% that day.
“Investors recoiled from surprise news that U.S. Air Force B-21 sales will suddenly flatline in 2019,” notes Jim McAleese, a longtime industry consultant and expert, “because legacy organic Northrop sectors only posted [around] 3% 2018 sales growth.”
For sure, black budgets remain a favorite place to be. Analysts at Jefferies pointed out on Feb. 4 that total military and civil intel budgets in fiscal 2018 were $81.5 billion, or 12% over 2017, and could go higher in 2019.
“Following long-fought ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a shifting focus in investment that goes toward gaining a technological edge versus China and Russia,” they noted. “Areas of the highest investment likely include space, including resiliency and sensors, and air—whether [it be] refreshes of the bomber fleet or air superiority through [to] stretching the limits of unmanned technology. Other catalysts for growth include the U.S. and Russia suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.”
According to Jefferies, Northrop’s exposure to classified budgets is highest among its peers, with restricted sales estimated to account for 27% of expected 2019 sales. Harris Corp. could be next, with maybe 25% of sales in classified space, and then Raytheon. Lockheed could be around 13%, followed by General Dynamics, at about 10%, the analysts surmised. L3 Technologies—which is set to merge with Harris—also could have 10% of sales in classified.
Of course, each one of these companies probably would love to tell us more, but then they would have to . . . well, you know.
As the Pentagon moves forward with tests on autonomous drone swarming technology, few doubt that the warfighting concept will work.
But major questions persist, such as how to classify drone swarms and just how smart to make the network that allows hundreds of little autonomous machines to communicate, the Assistant Secretary of the
"How do you certify [drone swarming]? How do you test and evaluate it? And who owns it?" he said. "Is it a weapons system? Or does the platform using it own the autonomy and swarming and collaboration? Or is there a program … that plugs it into all sorts of platforms?" Dr. Will Roper said.
Multiple efforts to develop drone-swarming technology are now underway inside the Defense Department.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and the Air Force Research Lab have been working on a
In January 2017, the
The Air Force has simulated a similar drop. In 2014, Perdix drones were dropped from
Most recently, DARPA tested how drones could work together in a
But should the Pentagon worry about making the drone swarms too smart?
Roper said that while he believes that swarming technology will have a significant role in the future battlespace, the artificial intelligence must be designed carefully to be able to "contain the types of effects ... so that it doesn't do things that are unintended while still allowing it the freedom ... without having to micromanage it."
That applies to A.I. that learns and improves after each military operation, he said.
Brainstorming these ideas has forced officials to think beyond the traditional ways the Pentagon looks at potential programs, Roper said.
"I went to [leadership] and said, 'Hey, I'd like to throw 100 micro-UAVs out of fighters.' And they said, 'OK, great, tell me the flight plan for each one.' Well, I don't have one," Roper said.
He continued, "They're going to do their own thing. But I can draw a box and make sure they don't leave that box. And that's just an example of how we have to ... require different kinds of thinking."
These types of technologies "are about infrastructure, data management, and it's something that is more of like a network that goes across systems than something you look at," he said.