JAIC piloting artificial intelligence education for DOD

Author: Jackson Barnett

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center of the Ministry of Defense recently launched new pilot programs on artificial intelligence education for thousands of Defense Ministry employees, ranging from higher education for officers to in-depth coding training camps.

The last cohort of participants began the AI ​​101 course in early February in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and another recently participated in an AI coding training camp. The range of educational offerings from the AI-accelerator is designed to eventually be passed on to other Department of Defense agencies for tens or even hundreds of thousands of people to learn about AI, said FedScoop Greg Allen, head of JAIC policy and strategy.

“We train pilots to really test,” Allen said. “We are working with the wider Ministry of Defense … to help them deliver educational materials on a large scale.”

Allen added that of the nearly 3 million employees and servicemen of the Ministry of Defense, “ultimately hundreds of thousands of people” will undergo some form of AI training.

The work stems from a Congressional mandate for JAIC to develop a workforce strategy and education in artificial intelligence in the National Defense Permit Act 2020. Allen said JAIC is now implementing the strategy with the help of educational pilots.

In this strategy, JAIC identified six archetypes of AI learners: Lead AI, Drive AI, Create AI, Employ AI, Facilitate AI, and Embed AI. Each type of Ministry of Defense staff requires a different level of AI detail, so JAIC relies on different platforms to train them.

For generals and flag officers in senior military ranks, Lead AI is a personal workshop on the basics of what AI can do and how it will affect the capabilities they control. At the other end of the spectrum is Create AI, a group of coders who will develop machine learning models for the military and need specialized training in developing machine learning models.

One of the adjustments that JAIC has made to its proposals for the Create AI category is a new Python coding language training camp, which is often used to develop AI.

“These are people who really need all the skills to meet their current and future operational needs,” Allen said.

By 2023, JAIC hopes that all of these lesson plans will be transferred to other organizations, such as the University of Defense Procurement or the Air Force Digital University.

“Number 1 brings us the most joy when we get feedback from past participants … they apply what they’ve learned in their work,” Allen said.

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