ACC invites AF leaders to first AI and Machine-Learning workshop > Air Combat Command > News

Air Combat Command hosted its first Air Force Major Command Artificial Intelligence and Machine-Learning (AFMAM-22) Workshop 24-26 May 2022.

Lt. Gene. Russell L. Mack, deputy commander of ACC, kicked the event off with his keynote speech addressing the current state of AI/ML, how to pursue the dominance of AI/ML ethically and how important it is to collaborate with Air Force leaders and the analytical community to accelerate change.

“When it comes to AI we’re challenged in a lot of ways,” Mack said. “Culturally we need to change to understand what AI and ML will bring to the fight. It’s not going to solve everything that we need to solve but it’s an enabler that will allow us to do what we do and do it better.”

The theme is “Operationalizing AI at the tactical edge, from decision-making to kill chain execution”. To accelerate change, AI/ML needs to be used to streamline processes at machine speed and outpace adversaries.

“Over the last ten years there have been rapid developments in a specific kind of AI called Machine Learning,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Chapa, Department of the Air Force chief responsible AI ethics officer. “Under the new national defense strategy, as we continue to think about high end adversaries or near pear competitors, we need to think about environments in which we might not have connectivity with all of our weapons systems. So how much autonomy am I willing to delegate to that weapons system? Ethics has to be right up front when we’re thinking about these things.”

The fluidity of autonomy, ethics, artificial intelligence and machine learning must all be delicately balanced with trust. The analytics community works diligently to provide assurance by having a human in the loop.

“AI is going to aid us, it’s not going to take over, it’s not going to replace anything that we’re doing. It’ll make it simpler and it’ll make it faster,” said Capt. Ronisha Carter, Department of the Air Force director of artificial intelligence engineering. “It will allow the computer to do what computers do best and allow the human to take more time to do what they do best. In the future, I think we will change how we’re operating for the better.”

“Like the best human teams, trust is a precondition of success,” said Dr. Victoria Coleman, chief scientist of the Air Force. “There is no magic bullet, but we build a similar trust in AI by integrating reliable data with human-in-the-loop testing, continuous evaluation, and transparent reasoning.”

Air Force and ACC leaders pride themselves on the collaboration and integration of the members of the analytics community who think about everything from artificial intelligence in business practices to artificial intelligence in combat employment.

“ACC is going to be right at the heart of that because as the MAJCOM that has the organize train and equip responsibilities to provide to the war fighter,” Chapa said. “They’re going to have to navigate all of these challenges with both autonomy and artificial intelligence, and that’s going to be right at the heart of the forces that ACC is trying to provide to combatant commanders.”

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