Defense Department Officials Plan To Utilize AI To Help Identify Threats
(Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 17: Pentagon logo is seen ahead of a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., United States on October 17, 2023.

DOD intelligence officials expressed their intentions to employ AI in threat analysis in a Google Defense Forum (GDF) on Thursday.

Richard Leach, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) intelligence director and Army colonel, said that AI would alleviate decision-makers’ burden by expediting the processing and analyzing a “tsunami of data” received in hundreds or thousands of reports every day.

“Let AI identify key pieces of information and maybe do some of the basic analysis,” said Leach. “Let the analysts focus on the hard problem set so they’re not wasting time, resources, and people.”

Leach clarified that AI could move at a faster pace than human analysts, citing adversaries’ instantaneous switches between virtual private servers.

“[Adversaries are] moving at ‘lightspeed,’” said Leach. “They’re on fiber optic networks. They’re able to bounce from one VPS [virtual private server] to another in an instant, so utilizing AI to try to get ahead of that is going to be essential.”

This year’s GDF was underwritten by Google for Government, and presented by DefenseScoop. 

Leach spoke in a panel alongside Jude Sunderbruch, DOD Cyber Crime Center executive director, and Sandra Joyce, Google Cloud Mandiant Intelligence vice president, in discussing AI-driven cyber operations.  

Other GDF panels included pitches from Google executives on bringing commercial cloud parity and new cybersecurity technology to DOD; achieving tactical edge; transitioning to AI for mission outcome; and defending climate readiness as mission readiness.

DefenseScoop is a brand of Scoop News Group (SNG), a government tech media company founded in 2008 that also offers events for government and industry VIPs and advertising campaigns for major corporations.

SNG’s lengthy list of clientele represents some of the biggest names across multiple industries, including Adobe, Amazon, CenturyLink, Cisco, Dell, Deloitte, GitHub, Google, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, Lockheed Martin, McAfee, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Nvidia, Raytheon, Salesforce, Samsung, Symantec, and Verizon.


SNG’s relationship with the government apparently affords it access to exclusive tips on certain government initiatives. In November, unnamed government sources made DefenseScoop aware of interim Pentagon leadership guidance on generative AI.

The tip came several months after DOD launched Task Force Lima to research the integration potential of generative AI within the agency, and after the National Security Agency (NSA) established an AI security center consolidating existing AI and security-related activities across the NSA. 

Government reliance on AI, especially for threat analysis, has yielded some troubling results already.

Last summer, Air Force leadership warned against heavy reliance on AI after an AI-enabled drone “killed” its human operator in a simulated test. The AI drone turned on its operator after viewing the operator as a hindrance to its mission. 

In December, Sen. Rand Paul’s annual report on government waste revealed that an AI verification system failed to flag individuals who applied for the pandemic Paycheck Protection Program using Barbie dolls for profile pictures. 

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