How AI-Powered Automation Can Prepare U.S. Military for Mission Readiness
Artificial intelligence (AI) is leading a technological revolution that has the potential to reshape various sectors, including defense. The Department of Defense (DoD) is demonstrating its commitment to AI innovation with its recent AI, analytics and data strategy, as well as with its “Task Force Lima.” This task force will assess, coordinate and deploy generative AI capabilities across the DoD.
In addition to safeguarding national security, Task Force Lima aims to adopt emerging technologies. As the DoD seeks to deploy these technologies, AI-powered automation must be at the forefront to improve decision-making, streamline operations, reduce risk and maintain battlefield advantage. Automation allows the DoD to take advantage of generative AI capabilities at scale but also in a controllable and secure context.
Automation is already proving to have many applications in the military. For instance, the Army Reserve developed an AI-powered automation program for routine, labor-intensive tasks. It saved commanders hundreds of hours of work and allowed them to devote more time to mission analysis. By completing repetitive computer-based tasks, such as copying, pasting and moving files, AI-powered automation enables humans to perform more complex tasks.
Software bots also show promise in relieving defense officials of administrative tasks. For example, tasks such as data transfers, payroll processing, employee onboarding, website scraping and other use cases can all be handled with automation. The technology also increases precision, reduces human error probability and improves output quality, which contributes to enhanced mission readiness. Software bots are reliable and consistent, working tirelessly and constantly, drastically reducing re-work and saving taxpayer money.
In the face of increasing cyber attacks against military assets, DoD officials need a fast and reliable incident response plan that incorporates AI-powered automation and a zero-trust framework. In fact, DoD officials have publicly stated that zero trust implementation in the military will fail without AI-powered automation.
As part of a zero-trust framework, AI-powered automation continuously analyzes multiple locations, validating, moving, removing information and categorizing threats, preventing costly and destructive cyber attacks. Software bots also flag unusual network activity or inconsistencies, strengthening military cyber defenses.
Another significant benefit of AI-powered cybersecurity automation is software update automation. Keeping systems up to date is critical for maintaining security, and unattended software bots can handle this task automatically, freeing up military personnel to focus on more pressing national security concerns.
Software bots also enhance access authorization. They can streamline the user identification process, quickly accepting or denying individuals based on their credentials. This step improves compliance, enhances security and establishes an audit trail.
Military logistics directors bear an immense responsibility to ensure personnel, equipment and supplies remain operational at all times and arrive promptly. Factors such as inclement weather, traffic congestion and an insufficient inventory remain barriers to national security. Personnel will improve efficiencies, cycle times and accuracy by automating military logistics processes, such as scheduling maintenance and tracking tools.
As part of a zero-trust framework, AI-powered automation continuously analyzes multiple locations, validating, moving, removing information and categorizing threats, preventing costly and destructive cyber attacks.
Additionally, by evaluating historical data for patterns, AI-powered automation can help DoD agencies predict potential supply chain issues and take proactive measures to prevent them. Adjusting inventory levels, shifting delivery schedules and identifying alternate suppliers will help mitigate supply chain delays and shortages for military forces. Many administrative tasks, such as purchasing requests, can easily be automated, freeing personnel to focus on higher-value tasks contributing to their career development.
Specific conduct standards must be considered when applying AI and automation to military challenges. The U.S. Department of State’s Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy states that “military use of AI can and should be ethical, responsible and enhance international security.”
Operating outside ethical AI guidelines is a recipe for unnecessary risk and legal trouble. However, by pairing AI with automation, you can clearly control the systems, people and processes the AI operates against and expressly control the context with which actions are taken, leading to more secure and auditable impact. When these technologies are used to meet challenges by adhering to these standards and guidelines, the possibilities for improving mission readiness, reducing risk and generating tactical advantage are nearly limitless.
The future of AI-powered automation in the military is promising. Automation eliminates repetitive tasks, improves logistics efficiencies and defends against cyber threats, playing a crucial role in defense readiness. And as the military adapts to emerging technologies and battlefield challenges, AI-powered automation will become a key enabler in the military’s digital transformation journey.
Michael Daniels is a senior vice president of public sector at UiPath.