MITRE: DOD/IC Needs a New Narrative to Build an AI-Ready Workforce

Editor’s Note: IPA Member and MITRE Corporation National Space Program Portfolio Director L. Dean Worley co-authored a new paper on how the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) can better communicate its needs and the intended benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) for national security applications to attract external talent and partners. Dean seeks feedback and reaction to the new paper, which is available here.


April 2020

A quick summary:

“The Department of Defense (DoD) is struggling to keep pace with technological acceleration in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The DoD realizes that significant changes must occur for the military to sustain overmatch (advantage in combat capabilities over potential opponents) in this era of Great Power Competition, but the Department lacks enough of the in-house AI skills and the ability to attract and retain the talent it needs to compete in the future. Those AI skills primarily lie in the component of private industry that falls outside the traditional defense-industrial base…

This paper identifies shortcomings in the way the DoD and the larger federal technology community have sought to explain the benefits of intended adaptations of AI for national security applications to potential industry partners, the American public, and other stakeholder communities to gain their support. The DoD recognizes this as a problem and has taken some steps to resolve it. One of the ways the DoD can bring about change is by creating conditions where AI practitioners want to partner with the government. That means the DoD must lead by example and share stories of past collaborative successes, increase trust by making existing oversight and ethical processes known, and convey its messages and values in the language of the people that it seeks to attract…

A better communications strategy to support engagement with the public and with commercial industry will enhance the DoD’s ability to acquire the services of external talent. At the same time, a willingness to address cultural impediments that stymie the development of internal talent will enable an enduring approach to retain those very valuable people beyond mandated commitments.”