ODNI Advances AI Efforts, Pushing for an Agile IC – ClearanceJobs

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Be better. That’s a key message that Dr. John Beieler, ADNI for Science and Technology (S&T), ODNI shared in his morning keynote at the INSA’s 2024 Spring Symposium: How AI is Transforming the IC. The recent executive order now requires federal agencies to appoint a Chief AI Officer. Dr. Beieler has been pushing the AI direction for the IC since June 2019, when he was selected for his ADNI role, now adding Chief AI Officer to his responsibilities.

Aligning science and technology and closing mission gaps is a key push for Dr. Beieler in his role. He shared the importance of identifying a specific end vision and articulating the levels of improvement that are needed. While the IC already does this, Dr. Beieler shared that we want to do better on that front. Partnerships within the IC and with industry can lead to accomplishing more with S&T.

AIM and the IC AI Council

The Honorable Sue Gordon’s Augmenting Intelligence using Machines (AIM) initiative in 2018 launched the platform. Fast forward to now, Dr. Beieler shared, “A lot has changed with now having a governing body on AI.” He noted that ODNI is hiring a group chief for AI, and he said, “we now have a chief AI council around the IC to ensure coordination.”

Governance and technology within the IC are the key areas that require collaboration. From policy, standards, and responsibility practices to government needs and industry partnerships, the council covers a lot of territory.

DIU Partnership

As ODNI continues to push the envelope on speed of adoption with the continuously evolving capabilities, Dr. Beieler highlighted their recent Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) partnership. ODNI and DIU signed their agreement during a live panel at South by Southwest 2024. The focus of the partnership is to streamline the deployment of cutting-edge solutions for intelligence gathering and analysis.

In a press release, Dr. Beieler shared, “Partnering with the Defense Innovation Unit allows us to tap into a diverse array of innovative solutions and capabilities that can enhance our effectiveness and strengthen our nation’s security posture.” Beieler noted today that this partnership is a key example of actively seeking out opportunities that will push the AI envelope for ODNI.

AI Workforce

When it comes to accomplishing the AI goals and requirements, finding the right talent is critical. Dr. Beieler shared that both upskilling and recruiting are key components. It’s important for analysts to understand the tools they use, especially the intuitive elements on the models. It’s easy to write off the technology, but it’s more important to understand the failure modes. Upskilling allows current talent to fill in many of the current mission gaps. However, it’s still important to bring in new talent too. Finding STEM talent is especially challenging for the IC. Agencies often poach from one another, given the small STEM pool in national security.

While STEM degrees are highly sought after, Dr. Beieler still encourages social science and liberal arts degree holders to pursue the IC. He noted, “We are a human organization, so understanding the tech is key. We need to bring both together.” There are many resources out there to upskill and add on AI and tech knowledge.

Partnerships are Key

Industry partnerships are an important piece of filling mission gaps. Collaborating will enhance understanding of AI technology and have the right guard rails in the IC. Dr. Beielier shared, “It’s more than just buying the widget but partnering with industry on the process more.” He noted that the IC is updating the acquisition and procurement policies and capabilities so they can move quickly with larger and smaller companies where needed.

Breakthroughs are happening everywhere. Dr. Beieler highlighted the need to be flexible at the top level on how to approach things as they shift. He said, “We can’t always identify where we’ll be two years from now, but we can be flexible enough to pivot and figure out as we go.”

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