The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is building partnerships to spread artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge and projects throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) while acting as an advisor to interested components, said Colonel Robert Kinney, missions director at JAIC.

Speaking at the Google Cloud Public Sector Summit on Dec. 8, Kinney described how the JAIC is focusing its efforts to take on projects that can have a big impact on AI adoption within DoD.

“To take an organization this large and when you look at an organization the size of the JAIC – we have roughly approaching 200 personnel and should grow to about 300 – how do you institute change rapidly across the department? One thing that comes to mind is our acquisition system,” he said.

Kinney noted that by working with acquisition professionals, JAIC can help evolve the “muscle memory” of building hardware into a system that works better for building and quickly fielding software to meet DoD’s needs. He noted that building awareness of AI among the acquisition community acts as a “win-win” for efficiency and future technology adoption.

When it comes to training on AI, Kinney described the JAIC’s existing efforts as “nascent days,” but noted the JAIC is working with the services to incorporate AI awareness into curriculums while also working with senior leadership to help them “drive down” AI principles through their organizations.

One area that Kinney noted some challenges was in finding the necessary transition partnerships to get some projects identified by JAIC off the ground. On a similar note, Kinney noted that the JAIC has had to manage expectations of what DoD components expect from them.

“Sometimes it’s a chicken or the egg question. You have to put out a certain amount of seed capital, if you will, to get a project started, in the hopes that the end-user will pick it up. Ultimately, there’s been a few projects where that’s been exceedingly difficult where we’ve had some challenges finding the right transition partner or a transition partner on a capability that is of great use and could be of great use to the department,” he explained.

However, Kinney noted many of JAIC’s successes, using projects in the areas of disaster management and resilience as examples. With over 100 leads for potential projects, the organization is looking to continue its work and keep pushing AI forward throughout the Pentagon.

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