Artificial Intelligence Enablers Seek Out Problems To Solve


By C. Todd Lopez

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center began in 2018 to accelerate the DOD’s adoption and integration of artificial intelligence. From the start, it was meant to serve as an AI center of excellence and to provide resources, tools and expertise to the department. The JAIC’s new director said that while the center’s early efforts bore fruit, the overall effort was not transformational enough and a more aggressive approach is needed.

“In JAIC 1.0, we helped jumpstart AI in the DOD through Pathfinder projects we called mission initiatives,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael S. Groen, during a briefing today at the Pentagon. “We learned a great deal and brought onboard some of the brightest talent in the business. It really is amazing. When we took stock, however, we realized that this was not transformational enough. We weren’t going to be in a position to transform the department through the delivery of use cases.”

Now, Groen said, he refers to the center’s change in effort as “JAIC 2.0,” which includes a more aggressive push for adoption and proliferation of AI throughout the department. 

“We seek to push harder across the department to accelerate the adoption of AI across every aspect of our warfighting and business operations,” Groen said. “While the JAIC will continue to develop AI solutions, we’re working in parallel to enable a broad range of customers across the department.”

Groen said the JAIC must have a broader range of department participants getting involved with AI, and that this can happen with a renewed focus on the Joint Common Foundation — a cloud-enabled AI platform to accelerate the development, testing and fielding of new AI capabilities that is expected to reach initial operating capability in 2021.

“It’s a resource for all, but especially for disadvantaged users who don’t have the infrastructure and the tech expertise to do it themselves,” Groen said. “We’re recrafting our engagement mechanism inside the JAIC to actively seek out problems and help make others successful. We will be more ‘problem pull’ than ‘product push’.”

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