U.S. army AI

How the US Army is using AI in its digital transformation

Acceleration Economy AI Impact

The US military is a large organization with many stakeholders, moving parts, and cash inflows and outflows. You could say it’s not too different from a large private sector company. It also faces many of the same stressors as a large private sector company, including deciding how to allocate its budget.

In recent years, the military has turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to help manage budget allocation. The challenge was to find a solution for contracting officers trying to accurately predict which contracts were most likely to end up underspending their funding. An accurate forecast would allow them to reallocate these funds to other high priority projects. Opt-out, the process of transferring funding from contracts that don’t need it, was ripe for disruption.

how they did it

The Army’s HQ Analytics Lab (HAL) and Deep Green OBT (Office of Business Transformation) initiatives have joined forces to create the Unliquidated Obligation (ULO) project. Artificial intelligence models were deployed in the Army Vantage Platform, a data analytics platform used across the Army for real-time, data-driven decision making. A recent report from DataRobot, one of the AI ​​platforms that powers ULO, mentioned some of the findings:

  1. In fiscal year 2020, the Army Contracting Command (ACC) successfully unlocked more than $3.3 billion in funding through AI integration, compared to approximately $2.0-2.6 billion dollars in previous years.
  2. The project laid the foundation for further integration of AI and other advanced financial analysis tools that will continue to drive value.
  3. The project also reduced thousands of man-hours by automating the opt-out process. It allows Army Contracts Command contract officers to quickly identify not only the amount of current contracts, but also their expiration dates. “Tasks that took days before Army Vantage now take minutes, allowing analysts to focus on advanced analytics that will further improve the results that contracting delivers to the military,” says Kevin Foster, operations research analyst and head of the data analytics division at ACC.
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Source: Army Newsroom

Other uses of the AI ​​army

The military faces the same issues as any large organization: outdated data systems with limited interoperability, the growing pains of digital transformation, and money leaking out of the cracks that humans can no longer see.

“One of our ongoing issues within Army Financial Management is caused by our large portfolio of legacy systems running hundreds of thousands of transactions per week with each other,” said Jonathan Moak, deputy Principal Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller within the Bureau. of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller. “Incorrect information is often generated or reflected in a system during these constant transactions, which can create the problem called an unmatched transaction.”

Solving these problems is extremely important for the military, an organization that needs rapid data-driven decision-making to save not only money, but also human lives. Informed decision-making has always been at the forefront of effective military leadership, and AI is finally getting involved in this process.

Just as data modernization makes private sector companies competitive, it also keeps governments competitive. AI has played an increasingly important role in political arenas, including deepfakes, disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, and weaponized autonomous robotics.

Although the potential threats it can generate are less obvious than those of nuclear weapons, AI is another tool that governments can use for military power. There is a clear incentive to be at the forefront of technological developments in the field, and it is important to uphold safety and ethics throughout the AI ​​onboarding journey.

Final Thoughts

“AI as a fundamental tenet of defense modernization,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael S. Groen, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. “We created positive momentum for AI, and we continue to build on that now. But now comes the real critical test of any transformation. The hardest part is institutional change and managing change in the workforce and the practices and processes that drive a business. This step will not be easy, even within the Department of Defense, but it is fundamental to our competitive success, accountability and affordability,” he said. “We have a generational opportunity here for AI to be our future. We need to act now. We need to start putting these pieces in place now. You can read about other Department of Defense AI projects here .

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