March 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. military must scale up its artificial intelligence use or be left behind by adversaries, Lt. Gen. Michael Groen told an industry conference this week.
Data must be standardized, cloud services must be adopted and AI must be integrated into military operations, Groen, chief of the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, told the National Defense Industrial Association conference on Tuesday.
While current military use of AI "is a step in the right direction, we need to start building on it," he said.
Groen noted that China has said it intends "to be dominant in AI by 2030," while the Pentagon has focused on five-year program objective memorandums looking toward 2027.
"You know, to a Marine, that's danger close," Groen told the conference audience.
The integration of Defense Department networks must be a priority, with common data standards, Groen noted.
"If we are not in an integrated enterprise, we're going to fail," he added. "If we're still flying in hard drives [from base to base] because it's more efficient to fly in a hard drive then connect our networks, that's a symptom that we're not where we need to be."
Groen called for a comprehensive and quick transformation, suggesting that the Pentagon's warfighting support systems need to evolve.
He referred to agencies like the Defense Health Agency, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency as "the gears that the department rides on for effective warfighting."
"These enterprises are sitting on massive amounts of data. It's a natural target for AI implementation to create more efficiencies and economies and effectiveness in those large scale enterprises," Groen said.
Groen also spoke favorably of the Defense Department's February 2020 adoption of ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence, implemented by the JAIC.
The principles announced at the time include areas of equitability with "deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities."
Additionally, the principles include "traceability, with transparent and auditable methodologies; reliability, with well-defined military uses of AI, and governability, with an emphasis on the avoidance of unintended consequences.