SOCOM to Develop New AI Strategy

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June 1, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: June 1 on

TAMPA, Fla. — Special Operations Command plans to craft a new artificial intelligence and machine learning strategy to inform its future spending, according to the organization”s chief data officer.

David Spirk Jr. said the blueprint will help SOCOM determine asset allocation for AI as it builds its program objective memorandum for fiscal years 2022 to 2026.

“We”re going to start the crafting of a real roadmap,” he said May 23 at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, which is sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. “This will help the command … talk about the investments we need to make and the resources that we”re going to need.”

All of the SOF components will gather at a symposium in September to begin developing the new strategy, he noted. Spirk told National Defense that the gathering will be limited to the military, which will first establish its goals for investing in AI and machine learning before reaching out to academia and industry for input.

“We”re not bringing industry and academia in there yet,” he said. “What we”re going to do is we”re going to establish our requirements, we”re going to set what that roadmap is, and then we”ll probably have a follow-on [event] where you can talk to everybody about what our conclusions were and the direction that we”re going.”

SOCOM has not decided if the entire report will be publicly releasable, he added.

The “crux” of the roadmap will be based on a “three-six-five” strategy that has three lines of effort, six focus areas and five collective outcomes, Spirk said.

The lines of effort include having an AI-ready workforce, AI applications and AI outreach, according to his presentation slides.