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CRYSTAL CITY: While the US military has “tons of really good information on the adversary” that can be used to teach future AI systems about enemy targets, it actually lacks the necessary data about its own forces, says Col. Enrique Oti, head of the Air Force’s key software innovation hub Kessel Run. Until DoD gets that data on itself, he said, there’s a host of AI applications out of reach.
“We don’t have really good information on ourselves — on maintenance, or personnel or even air war planning,” he told Breaking Defense after his presentation at AFCEA NOVA’s 18th annual Air Force IT Day seminar. Oti said that one of the things Kessel Run is trying to do is to rectify that problem.
“One of the issues we have with most software in DoD is the software doesn’t actually generate good data,” he said. “Because it is not entirely user friendly, [it] is not either storing or creating good quality data.”
“So the way we are addressing this is, as we are building software, we ensure that that software is generating data and that the data persists,” he said. “tThat way can actually be used by people looking at AI.”
Oti told the conference that Kessel Run now has created an “C2 Common Platform” for the Air Force that works with different networks and environments, for example connecting to both classified and unclassified servers as well as to the so-called CloudOne repository of unclassified data.
The C2 Common Platform already has generated 15 software applications that are being tested in the field, he said.
“What does this give us? We can now move data seamlessly among systems,” he said. But, Oti cautioned, “there is no single piece of technology that will solve all your problems.”
Oti said that once DoD’s massive JEDI Cloud is ready, the Air Force’s platform will work with it too.
As Breaking D readers know, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) environment is being designed to provide all the services with cloud computing. It is also facing a major legal investigation launched by losing competitor for the massive contract, Amazon.
Nonetheless, DoD expects a number of organizations and services to begin using JEDI soon. Dana Deasy, DoD’s chief information officer, told the AFCEA NOVA meeting that he has signed up 14 “early adopters” for JEDI services, including the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and the Navy. He explained that unclassified portion of the JEDI environment will be built over the next two months; and the classified part will stand up some six months later.
Those early adopters will allow DoD “to test various principles on JEDI from the tactical edge all the way to the top secret” and across all domains, Deasy said. “So we’re going to learn fairly quickly what it takes to actually now go from the strategic vision to the ability to stand it up and to bring it to life.”