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Air Force acquisition boss Will Roper on Sept. 10 made the case for closer collaboration between military services on artificial intelligence, saying the Pentagon must get the groundwork right in order to successfully expand so-called “smart” information technology across the department.
“To really make AI real you have to do a lot of work that is not the glitzy algorithms doing cool things at the edge,” Roper said during a Pentagon-run AI conference. “You have to lay in the infrastructure.”
First, the military needs to treat information technology systems from email to wireless networks as a “warfighting system,” he said. DOD has long seen IT as an afterthought, but is now ramping up its investments to get the same connectivity the private sector and everyday people have enjoyed at home for years. That includes pursuing cloud storage so personnel can access information from anywhere around the world, not only on siloed networks.
“I’m willing to predict that in future warfare, before a combatant commander counts the number of munitions or platforms that they would take into combat, they’re first going to look at their digital infrastructure and data, knowing that if they are outclassed in those two …
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