June 23 (UPI) -- Deputy Defense Director Kathleen Hicks this week announced the formation of units to help U.S. combatant commands better deal with data and artificial intelligence.
The Artificial Intelligence & Data Acceleration, or AIDA, initiative will dispatch two teams of AI experts to the headquarters of the 11 interservice combatant commands around the world to help commanders better understand AI and how it can streamline decision-making, Hicks said.
She made the announcement during remarks virtually on Tuesday to the Department of Defense Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Tech Exchange.
"A key part of an AI-ready department is a strong data foundation," Hicks said. "Data enables the creation of algorithmic models, and, with the right data, we are able to take concepts and ideas and turn them into reality."
"We will ensure that DoD data is visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable and secure. To do so, I have directed key initial steps to ensure the department treats data as a strategic asset," Hicks said.
One of the teams will focus on AI, the other on data management.
"Flyaway teams of technical experts" will work with commanders on AI tools, bringing "top-tier talent and technology" to "streamline and automate workflows," Hicks said.
"Operational data teams" will take on longer-term assignments to "catalog, manage and automate data feeds that inform decision-making," she said.
Announcement of the initiative comes after the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence vice chair said in April that the United States lacks a strategy to compete with China in military AI.
Robert O. Work, commission vice chair, at the time recommended that the Defense Department should spend at least 3.4 percent of its budget on identified AI priorities through its Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.
Work noted that the United States is currently the world leader in AI, but that China has structured its army, private sector and academia to overtake it.
A report in March suggested that the United States is not prepared to defend against AI-based attacks.