Lt. Gen. Michael Groen officially took the reins of the Defense Department’s  Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) on October 1.  He succeeds JAIC’s first director, Lt. Gen Jack Shanahan, who retired earlier this year after serving as director since the agency began operations in December 2018. Nand Mulchandani was JAIC’s acting director after Gen. Shanahan’s departure.

“The @DoDJAIC welcomed our new Director, Lieutenant General Michael Groen, USMC, to the team today. We look forward to his leadership!” the agency said in an Oct. 1 tweet.

Before taking charge of JAIC, Gen. Groen served as Marine Corps Director of Intelligence, on the Marine Corps Joint Staff, and most recently worked as deputy chief of computer network operations at the National Security Agency.

Lt. Gen. Groen steps in at a crucial time for JAIC. Back in May, former Director Shanahan said that the JAIC would be focusing on Section 256 of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over the next year, but stated that the journey would take five to 10 years to complete.

Section 256 “requires a curriculum designed to give servicemembers a basic knowledge of AI, including instruction in AI design; software coding; potential military applications of AI and their impact on military strategy and doctrine; AI decision-making via ML and neural networks; the potential biases and weaknesses of AI; and the ethical issues relating to AI.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.