U.S. Army’s Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Principles

Friday, April 10, 2020

What is it?

The Army’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ethical principles integrates the Army AI strategy and implementation plan, synchronizes key AI development efforts in accordance with the DOD AI ethical principles and sets the foundations for operationalizing AI within the Army Modernization Enterprise.

These principles support the national strategy for leadership in AI-promoted innovative uses while protecting civil liberties, privacy and American values.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

The Army Futures Command activated the Artificial Intelligence Task Force (AITF) in February 2019. The AITF leads Army AI efforts and synchronizes them across the Army enterprise and the Department of Defense National Military Initiatives.

AITF is working on various programs:

  • Autonomous platforms – research autonomous ground and air vehicles, to operate in open, urban and cluttered environments.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) – can reduce the cognitive burden on humans and improve overall performance through human-machine teaming.
  • Data visualization and synthetic environments – enable situational awareness and the visualization and navigation of large data sets and enhance operational activities, training and readiness.
  • Assured Position, Navigation and Timing (APNT) –technologies could be key enablers for many capabilities including autonomous vehicles, communications and land navigation.
  • Sensing – provides a detailed understanding of the environments and activities in operating areas.
  • Communications and networks – maintains secure, reliable communications for Soldiers, vehicles and at fixed locations even in austere environments.
  • Computation – capabilities exploit large data sets and compute complex AI/ML algorithms for many applications.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – integrate a wide range of capabilities and equipment and capitalize on commercial developments in the industrial and human IOT.
  • Protection – address current and future threats to protect Soldiers.
  • Human Performance – allows technologies to reduce mental and/or physical burden for Soldiers, the Army’s foundation to react faster than their adversaries do.
  • Underpinning Methodologies – underpin and enable advanced research and development in all areas.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The Army is committed to the design, development and deployment of AI technologies. The Army will continue to abide by DOD’s set of ethical principles on the use of AI and be responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable.

  • Commanders retain full responsibility for the weapons they employ – including AI applications for weapon system technologies.
  • AI is an enabler for the Soldier to enhance, not replace human judgment.

Why is this important to the Army?

AI will play a huge role in aiding the Army on future battlefields, which will include many sensors detecting targets and high-value assets. Reliable, robust and trustworthy AI is a foundational requirement for Multi-Domain Operations.

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Focus Quote for the Day

AI technology will change much about the battlefield of the future, but nothing will change America's steadfast commitment to responsible and lawful behavior. The adoption of AI ethical principles will enhance the department's commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards as outlined in the DOD AI Strategy, while embracing the U.S. military's strong history of applying rigorous testing and fielding standards for technology innovations.

Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense