The Department of Defense of the United States has established a new task force to guide the application of generative AI. According to the DoD, Task Force Lima will fall under the purview of the Chief Digital and AI Office or CDOA. That office itself was only established back in June of 2022.
In the memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, other defense and intelligence community organizations will also participate with this new task force. It shouldn’t be a surprise that there is interest in using generative AI for military purposes.
In a statement, Deputy Defense Secretary Hicks said, “The establishment of Task Force Lima underlines the Department of Defense’s unwavering commitment to leading the charge in AI innovation,…As we navigate the transformative power of generative AI, our focus remains steadfast on ensuring national security, minimizing risks, and responsibly integrating these technologies.”
Currently, there are over six hundred different AI projects tied to the Department of Defense, with many connected with major near-future weapon systems. To showcase the Defense Department’s desire to explore AI, the department’s 2024 budget request is asking for $1.8 billion for AI alone.
In their statement, it’s clear that Secretary Kathleen Hicks is well aware of how this move might raise quite a few eyebrows, “These capabilities unlock new opportunities, just as they pose significant new risks.”
She went on to explain the department’s responsibility when it comes to exploring the use of generative AI, “The DoD faces an imperative to explore the use of this technology and the potential of these models’ scale, speed, and interactive capabilities to improve the Department’s mission effectiveness while simultaneously identifying proper protection measures and mitigating a variety of related risks.”
Though many might think of weapons with this announcement, that may not be the only motivation for employing generative AI at the DoD. Over the last twenty years, the DoD has failed to account for over 61% of its assets, which totals 3.5 trillion dollars, according to a press release from the Committee on Oversight and Accountability.
Since the late 1990s, the Pentagon has been the sole department to fail every audit in recent memory. So though the Security’s statements touched on their fears of unfriendly nations using AI, U.S. Navy Capt. M. Xavier Lugo, Task Force Lima mission commander and member of the CDAO’s Algorithmic Warfare Directorate. touched on another element of AI, “The DoD recognizes the potential of generative AI to significantly improve intelligence, operational planning, and administrative and business processes.”
Either way, it’s clear that the Pentagon is following the road map laid out by the White House last year.