Defense

Army AI task force looks for cyber project as industry day nears

secure network 

The Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force is looking to start a cyber defense project this year, according to director Brig. Gen. Matt Easley.

"Our network defense piece, [artificial intelligence] is used to help us sort of do the situational awareness — to understand what the network is to start with," Easley told reporters during an Oct. 14 briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C.

"Just understanding what that defense perimeter looks like is step one. Step two is how do you see attacks coming in and sift through those attacks faster."

Easley said the task force is looking to expand its portfolio and has been in talks with Army Cyber Command and it's been decided that the task force and its data scientists will lead the project, which is still in the formation phase.

While the final project problem hasn't been settled, Easley said there are two options.

"It's either going to be analyzing big streams of data to understand where a vulnerability is or even just sensing the network to understand what the current state of the network is right now," he said.

"To do that at scale is still a challenge for our networks because our networks are so broad and diverse."

Easley's comments come as the Army plans on hosting its third annual AI industry day Nov. 13, courtesy of Army Research Lab, the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (known as Project Maven), and the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

Easley mentioned the Army's data challenge and the industry day seeks to help with that by focusing on key areas, such as training data, data and inference platforms, algorithms, user interface and experience, integration at the edge, and testing.

The task force, which was established under Army Futures Command in 2018 in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, is charged with leading and coordinating how the Army implements artificial intelligence, robotics, and other emerging tech tools.

With just about a year covered, the AI task force director said he's looking for new projects despite not having any public wins to date. Easley said the task force has taken at least one of its prototype technologies to an Army program executive office, which garnered some interest for expanding.

Easley would not elaborate on which PEO was involved or give specifics on the technology beyond "we're looking at images and looking for targets of interest for our peer competitor fight." However, the Army plans to demo that technology at the Army-led joint, multinational training exercise, DEFENDER-Europe 20.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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