USAICoE teaches artificial intelligence and machine learning to warrant officers

By Robin CoxJanuary 31, 2022

Human-agent team performance photo illustration by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
Human-agent team performance photo illustration by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. (Photo Credit: T'Jae Ellis) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The Warrant Officer Advanced Course (WOAC) at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (USAICoE) will incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) into its warrant officer intelligence training.

During a pilot seminar in November 2021, Dr. Eric Holder of the Army Research Laboratory told students, “Humans and AI working together make kind of a power team.” While AI/ML can reduce the amount of analytic manpower required to process battlefield information and can improve analytic rigor, Holder stressed that although it's good at some processes, AI is also very bad at other processes and is vulnerable to deception. This makes It necessary for students to learn the capabilities and limitations of AI/ML within the field of military intelligence.

“The goal of the lecture [is] to introduce the [military intelligence] warrant officers to the terms and concepts of AI/ML to increase familiarity and create a more informed user population, especially on the capabilities and limitations and their ability to treat AI input and output as you would any other source,” said Holder.

USAICoE’s Warrant Officer Advanced Course now features a day-long AI/ML seminar intended to serve as a primer for military intelligence Soldiers on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. The seminar’s curriculum is a collaborative effort by USAICoE, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and Arizona State University (ASU).

“We realized that we did not have the resident experience and expertise with the scientific AI/ML applications and techniques to teach, train, and increase the literacy of our students, but we could leverage the existing ecosystem of academia and other mission partners already operating and advancing in the AI/ML and data science fields,” said Peter Don, Senior Advisor for Multi-Domain Operations Intelligence and Training at USAICoE.

In early 2021 USAICoE and ASU entered into a collaborative Innovation Partnership Agreement (IPA). “As new technologies like AI are developed and implemented, it’s important that we include the perspectives of multiple stakeholders to make sure our approaches are relevant and solve real-world problems,” said Dr. Jamie Winterton, Director of Strategy for ASU’s Global Security Initiative. “Engaging with the Chief Warrant Officers gave us great insights into how we can effectively teach AI and machine learning to new audiences, and how we can build new AI systems to solve Army problems.”

“[The collaboration with ARL and ASU] allowed our teams to frame the problem, scope the requirements, curate a solution, and eventually map out the way forward and develop a program of instruction for the one-day AI/ML pilot course for the Warrant Officer Advanced Course,” said Don.

The seminar features a lecture by Dr. Chitta Baral, a professor at ASU’s School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, which was recorded during the pilot in November. After the lecture, students separate into small practical exercise groups where they work with data scientists to develop a presentation on an intelligence function that could benefit from AI/ML.

“Our adversaries are certainly focused on implementing AI in their military,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan Berry, a WOAC student from the Utah National Guard’s 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, “so in order to stay relevant in future conflicts, AI certainly does need to be implemented.”