Military doctrine identifies five domains of warfare—land, sea, air, space and information. While borders and barriers define the four natural domains, the fifth dimension, with the advancements of artificial intelligence, is rapidly expanding with the potential to destabilize free and open international order.

Colonel Jason M. Brown, the Air Force Lead for the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and Mark Cuban discuss the future of AI and its role in the future of the DoD. Video // Peter Ising

Nations like China and Russia are making significant investments in AI for military purposes, potentially threatening world norms and human rights.

This year the Defense Department, in support of the National Defense Strategy, launched its Artificial Intelligence Strategy in concert with the White House executive order creating the American Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

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The DoD believes robust artificial intelligence will be a central component in future warfare across all domains. Graphic // U.S. Air Force

The DoD AI strategy states the U.S., together with its allies and partners, must adopt AI to maintain its strategic position, prevail on future battlefields and safeguard order.

“The (executive order) is paramount for our country to remain a leader in AI, and it will not only increase the prosperity of our nation but also enhance our national security,” said Dana Deasy, DoD chief information officer.

Deasy also launched the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in February to transform the DoD by accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI to achieve mission impact at scale. The goal is to use AI to solve large and complex problem sets that span multiple services; then, ensure the services and components have real-time access to ever-improving libraries of data sets and tools.

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Col. Jason M. Brown is the Air Force Lead at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center believes developing robust artificial intelligence capability is necessary to stay inside a potential adversaries decision making loop. Photo // Peter Ising

“The United States needs to drive the development of AI otherwise our adversaries will and we can’t rely that certain adversaries or rivals out there won’t develop AI that meets our standards when it comes to ethics, safety and surety,” said Col. Jason M. Brown, the Air Force lead for the JAIC.

For the DoD that also means working hand in hand with partners and industry leaders in technology and innovation to get smarter, faster.

At the 2019 Air Warfare Symposium, Mark Cuban, renowned entrepreneur and investor, spoke about the world industry competition in AI.

“It’s scary,” Cuban said. “AI is not just important—it’s everything. That’s how the battles (of the future) will be fought.”

Cuban explained China has a huge advantage because they are doing things the U.S. won’t and they have made AI a national focus over the last couple of years.

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Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Stephen Wilson discusses the need for developing artificial intelligence capabilities with Mark Cuban at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. Fla. in Feb. 2019. Cuban said that AI research and development and accounting for peer adversaries' development of computing hardware is just as important as keeping track of nuclear warheads. Photo // U.S. Air Force

“In order to do AI it’s not just about capturing data, which is important, it’s not about algorithms and research into AI; it’s how fast can you process,” Cuban said. “If there’s somebody that has a (fabrication facility) in China that’s building more advanced processors that’s just as important as keeping track of warheads.”

Brown believes AI deterrence will soon be on par with the mission of nuclear deterrence.

“If our adversaries see us moving at a speed and scale because it’s enabled by AI, that will clearly get their attention,” Brown said. “I’d much rather be in the driver seat as we develop these capabilities than to play catch up.”