The Air Force Pursues AI Capabilities for Various Uses

The Air Force Pursues AI Capabilities for Various Uses
The Air Force Pursues AI Capabilities for Various Uses

The Air Force is still looking for automation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and others for a variety of uses.

Technology leaders in the Department of Defense (DoD) are constantly searching for new methods and tools to support their organization’s purpose, enhance internal processes, and lessen people expenses and burdens.

To achieve these objectives, the Air Force is attempting to develop, test, and use a number of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), in order to boost productivity and efficiency across mission and enterprise systems.

Here are just a handful of the AI-related observations and initiatives made while observing Air Force IT-related actions and policy creation, as well as the Air Force’s FY 2024 budget request, particularly their Research, creation, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) budget:

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Developing an Expanded, Integrated AI and Data Management Mindset

The Air Force has added AI to the duties of its Chief Data Officer, demonstrating an integrated strategy for improving the AF’s AI preparedness. Eileen Vidrine, who had previously held the position of AF CDO, made a comeback in January 2023 after working as the Federal Chief Information Officer’s senior data adviser.

Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAIO) is the title that Vidrine currently holds. Under the DOD’s JADC2 concept, the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) architecture entails growing data operationalization, boosting digital fluency among AF personnel, and delivering digital tools and analytical capabilities to support decision-making.

AI-enabled and data-driven CIO Approach

 Plans to operationalize data and AI/ML capabilities are mentioned in the Air Force’s CIO Public Strategy for FY 2023 FY 2028 for increased effectiveness. Establishing a federated data ecosystem overlaid and integrated with AF weapon systems and theater operations to ensure AF data is usable for AI/ML applications is one of the objectives.

Another is utilizing data and AI/ML to solve problems with AF business enterprise efficiency, mission operations integration, and greater warfighting capacity.

Must read:The Air Force Pursues AI Capabilities for Various Uses

Battlespace Decision Support

 The Air Force is incorporating AI/ML into the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) it is developing to obtain cross-domain C2 capabilities. Throughout FY 2023 and FY 2024, the Air Force intends to field more and more early operational capabilities, such as AI algorithms that speed up command decision-making.

The largest Air Force IA-related program, ABMS receives $501M in RDT&E funds in the AF FY 2024 budget request and consists of numerous pertinent initiatives.

Supporting Basic AI Research

 The Defense Research Sciences program of the Air Force aims to promote fundamental knowledge, enable revolutionary advancements, and enable supporting technologies that are essential to the Air Force, including AI/ML and autonomous decision-making.

The $401 million program for FY 2024 includes work on data and information fusion, advanced computing, complex networks, and AI, as well as the Decision-Making project’s focus on AI and research on human-machine teaming.

Operations Enhanced by the Space Force

 The Space Situation Awareness Operations (SSAO) program supports the Space Force’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) core space surveillance, monitoring, and C2 capabilities. It is one of the largest AF R&D programs involving AI/ML components.

The Space Data Fusion project, which develops and updates SDA data exploitation capabilities, including sophisticated data analytics and AI/ML capabilities for quick indication, warning, and monitoring solutions, is supported in part by the $265M for the SSAO program in FY 2024.

The Air Force will continue to seek out innovative enterprises, particularly inventive small businesses, with which to engage in order to bring new capabilities to bear on the diverse operations of the armed service.

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