A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling on the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a more comprehensive AI strategy to help better position the agency to ensure accountability and responsible use of the technology.
The report evaluates DoD’s AI Strategy from 2018 and found that it lacked certain characteristics of a comprehensive strategy. For example, DoD’s nine AI-related strategies and plans “do not include full descriptions of resources and investments and risk associated with adoption of AI-enabled technologies,” the report says.
GAO said that by issuing all characteristics of a comprehensive AI strategy in future plans, the Pentagon would be better positioned to help managers ensure accountability and responsible use of AI.
“DoD has not yet developed a high-level plan or roadmap that captures all requirements and milestones,” GAO said. “Such a plan would provide DoD with a high-level, end-to-end view of all the features necessary to accomplish the program’s goal to provide a complete and accurate inventory of AI activities to Congress and to DoD decision makers.”
DoD organizations collaborate on AI activities – through means such as interagency groups – but GAO said the agency could also more fully adopt leading collaboration practices, such as identifying leadership.
According to GAO, DoD officials said they are currently developing guidance that clearly defines “the roles and responsibilities of DoD components that participate in AI activities.”
GAO made several recommendations for DoD, including for the agency to issue guidance to include all characteristics of a comprehensive AI strategy; establish procedures for the periodic review of the DoD AI Strategy; and develop and issue a high-level plan or roadmap that captures all requirements and milestones.
GAO also recommended the DoD issue guidance that defines AI outcomes and monitors accountability; establish common terminology for AI-related activities; and issue guidance and agreements that define the roles and responsibilities of DoD organizations for leadership and relevant participants collaborating on AI activities.
DoD concurred with all of the recommendations.