October 5, 2022
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

To Win the Next War, the Pentagon Needs Nerds


When Russia invaded In Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense has created a feeling of snowfall with information about the conflict with a team of machine learning and artificial intelligence experts.

“We’ve taken the data scientists forward,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks told WIRED in a recent interview. These technology experts create code and machine learning algorithms, creating systems that are “especially valuable for synthetic logistic image synthesis,” he said.

Due to the sensitive nature of Ukraine’s activities, Hicks said the data team could not provide details of what it did. But Hicks says it helps make a point that he and others have been building within the Pentagon for some time – a technology that is fundamentally changing the nature of the war and that the United States must adapt to maintain its edge.

“I mean, bits can be as important as bullets,” Hicks said, referring to the importance of software, data, and machine learning. Not only is technology advancing faster and in different ways; Emerging regions such as the US AI are facing new international competition. Russia may be a less technical threat, but China has emerged as a strong new nearest rival. “We know from the written statement of the Chinese government that they are very much looking to move forward on the AI ​​front,” Hicks said.

During the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, AI algorithms have been used to replicate and interpret Russian radio chatter and to identify Russian individuals in videos posted on social media using facial recognition technology. Low-cost drones that use off-the-shelf algorithms to detect and navigate are proving to be a powerful new weapon against more conventional systems and techniques. An unprecedented hacking operation against Russia shows how cyber security skills have become a powerful weapon against a nation-state adversary. The new weapon could now also be built at dangerous speeds, as was shown earlier this month when the United States said it had developed a custom drone specifically for use by Ukrainian forces. In contrast, the latest US Air Force fighter jet, the F-35, has been in development for more than 20 years, with an estimated lifespan of $ 1.6 trillion.

While the United States is helping Ukraine to lift its weight by providing financial assistance, conventional weapons and new technology, there are those inside and outside the Pentagon who are concerned that the United States is not equipped to cope with the challenges posed by the war. In the future

“Every big company has the same problem,” said Preston Dunlap, who resigned as chief architect of the Air Force last week, a role that involves the development of technology and the modernization of acquisitions. Dunlap compared the situation to the way large successful businesses can be hampered by technological changes and more clever competitors, a phenomenon that business school professor Clayton Christensen called the “inventor’s dilemma”.

Dunlap wrote an open resignation letter in which he recommended that steps be taken by the Department of Defense to adopt a more rapid, experimental, and technology-centric culture. He says as a business faces technological setbacks and more sophisticated competitors, the U.S. military struggles to change direction because it involves many people, systems and ways of doing things. He suggests that advocates for change, such as Hicks, could only do so much. “I am concerned that the operators will have to go through some kind of panic [conflict] Without the technology available, “he says.” It’s not a place I want to be.


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