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  • Dépenses militaires mondiales toujours en hausse, le Canada à un record historique

    May 14, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Dépenses militaires mondiales toujours en hausse, le Canada à un record historique

    Selon les nouveaux chiffres du Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), le total des dépenses militaires mondiales a atteint 1 739 milliards $US en 2017, une augmentation de 1,1 % en termes réels par rapport à 2016. L'organisation explique dans son rapport que les dépenses militaires de la Chine ont de nouveau augmenté en 2017, poursuivant une tendance à la hausse des dépenses qui dure depuis plus de deux décennies. Les dépenses militaires de la Russie ont diminué pour la première fois depuis 1998, tandis que les dépenses des États-Unis sont restées constantes pour la deuxième année consécutive. En 2017, les dépenses militaires représentent 2,2 % du produit intérieur brut mondial (PIB) soit 230 $US par personne. «L'augmentation des dépenses militaires mondiales de ces dernières années est largement dues à la croissance substantielle des dépenses des pays d'Asie et Océanie et du Moyen-Orient, tels que la Chine, l'Inde et l'Arabie Saoudite», précise Dr Nan Tian, chercheur au programme Armes et Dépenses militaires (AMEX) du SIPRI. «Au niveau mondial, le poids des dépenses militaires s'éloigne clairement de la région Euro-Atlantique». Dans le détail Les dépenses militaires en Asie et Océanie ont augmenté pour la 29ème année consécutive. La Chine, deuxième plus grand dépensier au monde, a augmenté ses dépenses militaires de 5,6 % à 228 milliards $US en 2017. La part des dépenses chinoises dans les dépenses militaires mondiales est passée de 5,8 % en 2008 à 13 % en 2017. En revanche, les dépenses militaires en Afrique ont diminué de 0,5 % en 2017, soit la troisième baisse annuelle consécutive depuis le pic des dépenses enregistré en 2014. Avec 66,3 milliards $US, en 2017 les dépenses militaires de la Russie sont inférieures de 20 % à celles de 2016, première baisse annuelle depuis 1998. Poussées, en partie, par la perception d'une menace croissante de la part de la Russie, les dépenses militaires en Europe centrale et occidentale ont augmenté respectivement de 12 % et 1,7 %. De nombreux États européens sont membres de l'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN) et, dans ce cadre, ont convenu d'augmenter leurs dépenses militaires. Le Canada n'est pas en reste puisque pour la première fois le pays intègre le Top 15 mondial (14e place) avec plus de 27 milliards $ CAD dépensés en Défense, comparativement à environ 24 milliards $ CAD en 2016. C'est donc une hausse de 15% en une seule année ! Dans une déclaration envoyée à 45eNord.ca, le ministre de la Défense nationale Harjit Sajjan indique: «Nous respectons notre engagement d'accroître les dépenses de défense gr'ce à notre politique de défense nationale, Protection, Sécurité, Engagement. Tel qu'énoncé dans notre politique de défense, nous augmentons les dépenses annuelles de défense au cours des 10 prochaines années pour les porter à 32,7 milliards de dollars en 2026-27, soit une augmentation de plus de 70%. Je suis fier des investissements historiques que notre gouvernement réalise gr'ce à Protection, Sécurité, Engagement, et le Canada est fier d'être parmi les meilleurs pays qui investissent dans ses forces armées». http://www.45enord.ca/2018/05/depenses-militaires-mondiales-hausse-sipri-canada-record-historique/

  • Budget de l'UE : Bruxelles propose une enveloppe conséquente pour la défense

    May 14, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Budget de l'UE : Bruxelles propose une enveloppe conséquente pour la défense

    La Commission européenne propose un budget de 20 milliards d'euros pour la défense entre 2021 et 2027, dont 7 milliards pour le Fonds européen de défense. SOURCE AFP Publié le 29/04/2018 à 10:07 | Le Point.fr L'Union européenne de la défense se concrétise financièrement avec une dotation conséquente de près de 20 milliards d'euros dans le projet de budget préparé par la Commission européenne pour la période 2021-2027, selon des documents de travail vus par l'Agence France-Presse. Sans surprise, le Fonds européen de défense se taille la part du lion avec une dotation pour l'ensemble de la période de 7 milliards pour l'industrie de la défense et une autre de 3,5 milliards pour la recherche et le développement conjoints de technologies et d'équipements. Une seconde enveloppe de 6,5 milliards d'euros est consacrée à la mobilité militaire en Europe. L'espace n'est pas en reste avec un financement programmé de 13 milliards d'euros pour les systèmes de navigation par satellites Galileo et EGNOS. « Cela correspond exactement à ce qui est annoncé depuis le lancement du Fonds de défense avec une dotation de 1,5 milliard d'euros par an », a déclaré à l'Agence France-Presse l'eurodéputé français Arnaud Danjean, spécialiste des questions militaires. Le Fonds doit permettre de financer des projets montés en coopération, a souligné Arnaud Danjean. Lire aussi - Pourquoi l'Europe de la défense ne parvient pas à décoller La dotation pour la mobilité vise pour sa part à renforcer les capacités logistiques avec des infrastructures routières et ferroviaires utilisables pour déplacer des unités et des équipements militaires de l'Italie à la Pologne, de la France à l'Estonie. « Tout cela relève du symbole plus que d'une capacité crédible », a toutefois jugé sous couvert de l'anonymat un eurodéputé membre de la commission des Budgets. L'objectif de l'Union européenne est de se renforcer en tant qu'acteur mondial, mais également de se préparer à un éventuel désengagement des États-Unis. Des économies potentielles L'effort financier demandé est aussi justifié par les économies potentielles. « En procédant à des acquisitions communes, nous pouvons économiser près d'un tiers des dépenses actuellement consacrées à la Défense », soutient le président de la Commission européenne Jean-Claude Juncker. « L'UE compte actuellement 178 systèmes d'armes différents contre 30 seulement aux États-Unis », se plaît-il à rappeler. « Lorsque les chefs d'État et de gouvernement déclarent que l'Europe doit à l'avenir se mobiliser encore plus fortement pour protéger la population et assurer sa sécurité, ils doivent traduire leurs paroles en actes, répondre aux questions par des moyens financiers concrets », a estimé M. Juncker en février. Compétence des États membres, la Défense est un poste budgétaire nouveau dans le budget européen. Aucun euro n'avait été budgétisé pour la mobilité militaire sur l'exercice 2014-2020 et la dotation du Fonds européen de Défense était de 590 millions d'euros. http://www.lepoint.fr/europe/budget-de-l-ue-bruxelles-propose-une-enveloppe-consequente-pour-la-defense-29-04-2018-2214420_2626.php

  • The sparring partner who roughs up Marines with Snapchat

    May 4, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    The sparring partner who roughs up Marines with Snapchat

    By: Adam Stone The arm of the U.S. Marine Corps charged with tackling emerging threats has inked a deal that it says will allow it to do more realistic testing. “You want a sparring partner who reflects your adversary's capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Dan Schmidt, head of the field testing branch at the USMC Warfighting Lab. Enter MD5, the National Security Technology Accelerator. The Marine lab will identify challenges, develop warfighting concepts and design wargames and experiments. MD5 also will provide a platform upon which to accelerate these evolving concepts. Together the partners will support an Adaptive Threat Force Cadre, specially trained individuals who can share with their cohorts new and evolving response methodologies in the face of a wide range of threats. While the Marine lab will bring a military sensibility to the table, MD5 offers a private-sector approach. It is represented in this collaboration by Quantico, Va. based training-solutions contractor Guard Unit. “MD5 is designed to bring a commercial mindset to help solve problems in DoD,” said Zenovy Wowczuk, chairman of Guard Unit. “We bring technologists and other folks who haven't been standardized with DoD doctrine. They are private sector free thinkers, so they reflect the future adversary who also hasn't been indoctrinated into that mindset.” Schmidt laid out a number of specific warfighting challenges the partners seek to address. The partnership aims to tackle pervasive challenges in the information environment, issues around electronic warfare, cyber security, and command and control. The Marines want to look at technological fixes as well as organizational changes that could make the force more responsive to these threats. “How do we dominate and operate effectively with decentralized execution in a contested information environment?” Schmidt said. “Maybe if we just change a little bit of how we train and organize, we can dramatically impact the way we execute. We have a whole year of experiments lined up to flesh that out.” They also plan to look at hybrid logistics in support of future fighters. “We may have to spread out to greater distances with smaller units. Then you have to move blood plasma to the point of injury in a contested environment with contested networks. Now you are facing a whole new set of problems,” he said. Hybrid logistics could resolve some of these issues by combining the planning skills of human experts with artificial intelligence, robotics and rich data tracking. Another area of interest involves dense urban operations, an emerging combat scenario that brings my it myriad new concerns and challenges. “We know that the Marine Corps will fight expeditionary wars in mega-cities and we are in the process of discovering the implications of that,” Schmidt said. This exploration will likely dig deep into issues of networking, spectra and cyber strategy. “You have tunnels and skyscrapers and all this electromagnetic density,” Schmidt said. “We are in the early stages of developing an urban campaign plan, which has to include a range of emerging technologies. Our ground combat element, our logistics, our electronic environment ― all will play into how we fight in this environment.” MD5's close ties to industry could prove beneficial here. “We could pull in subject matter experts who have done city planning, who understand where the weak points are, and we could mount that data against the Marine Corps force to see how they react,” Wowczuk said. “We could pull from [off-the-shelf] technology to make it very difficult for the Marine Corps to do their job.” Early collaborations between the Marine and MD5 already have proven out the powerful potential of a bringing commercial-side view to the fight. In one experiment, a mock adversary was able to cull social media to gather critical intelligence on Marine activities. “We weren't used to that paradigm, where there is this rich environment of people on Snapchat taking pictures of us. They showed us just how easy it is to gather information, and from there we can devise new ways to protect some of our intelligence interests,” Schmidt said. “We would not have seen that without MD5. This is all about having an alternative perspective.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/electronic-warfare/2018/05/03/the-sparring-partner-who-roughs-up-marines-with-snapchat/

  • The Army Is Working on Brain Hacks to Help Soldiers Deal With Information Overload

    May 4, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    The Army Is Working on Brain Hacks to Help Soldiers Deal With Information Overload

    David Axe The Army hopes that technology can solve the info-overload problem that technology has created, and free up people to do what people do best. With drones and tiny sensors spreading across the planet, the US Army is worried that there's simply too much information for soldiers to process. So the ground-combat branch wants to hack troops' brains, and develop new technologies and methods for pairing human beings and artificial intelligence. The idea is for the AI—"intelligent agent" is the term the Army uses—to process raw information, leaving the human soldier to do what they're best at: make decisions, especially creative ones. "In theory, intelligent agents will have parallel computational power that is much greater than that of humans," Dr. Jonathan Touryan, a neuroscientist at the Army's Human Research and Engineering Directorate in Maryland, said in an Army release. "In developing human-agent integration principles, we hope to accentuate the strengths of both while mitigating individual weaknesses." For its main human-AI integration effort, the Army teamed up with private industry and universities in California, Texas, Florida, and New York. The resulting Cognition and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance began in 2010 and is scheduled to continue in its current form until at least 2020. One recent experiment involved two people—a driver and passenger—traveling together along a busy highway. The passenger, acting as a sort of surrogate AI, talked to the driver in order to test how well a human being can remember and respond to new information while under stress. "What we're interested in doing is understanding whether we can look at the synchrony between the physiologies—the brain response or the heart rate response—between the driver and passenger, and use that synchrony to predict whether the driver is going to remember the information the passenger is telling them after the drive is over," Dr. Jean Vettel, an Army neuroscientist, said in an official release. The resulting data could help the Army determine when and how an AI should relay information to a soldier in combat. This man-machine division of labor could become even more important in coming years. The Defense Advanced Research Project's Squad X initiative, which began in 2013, aims to “increase squad members' real-time knowledge of their own and teammates' locations ... through collaboration with embedded unmanned air and ground systems." More drones and sensors means more information for troops to sort through during a firefight or some other life-or-death situation. Separately from the Army's Cognition and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance and DARPA's Squad X, the military has been working on an “implantable neural interface” that could allow soldiers and AIs to directly communicate. That's right, a brain modem, one that translates data into electronic impulses that are compatible with a human being's own thoughts. Inspired by the rapid advancements in cochlear implants and other medical implants, DARPA began work on the modem in 2016 as part of a four-year, $60-million program. Experts say the brain modem might not work. “The big challenge is you're talking about interfacing with the human brain—that's not a trivial thing," Dr. Bradley Greger, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, told me. But for the Army, it could be worth taking a chance on this and similar technology. Drones and sensors are steadily getting better, smaller, cheaper and more numerous. There's more data by the day. "Humans simply cannot process the amount of information that is potentially available," Touryan said. "Yet, humans remain unmatched in their ability to adapt to complex and dynamic situations, such as a battlefield environment." The Army hopes that technology can solve the info-overload problem that technology has created, and free up people to do what people do best: think creatively. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59j7ja/the-army-is-working-on-brain-hacks-to-help-soldiers-deal-with-information-overload

  • DARPA wants to arm ethical hackers with AI

    April 30, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    DARPA wants to arm ethical hackers with AI

    By: Brandon Knapp The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to leverage human-artificial intelligence teaming to accelerate the military's cyber vulnerability detection, according to agency documents. The task of securing the Pentagon's diverse networks, which support nearly every function of the military's operations, presents a nightmare for defense officials. The current time-intensive and costly process involves extensively trained hackers using specialized software suites to scour the networks in search of vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited, but the scarcity of expert hackers makes detecting cyberthreats a challenge for the Defense Department. DARPA's Computers and Humans Exploring Software Security (CHESS) program seeks to bolster existing cyber defenders with a new tool that would render much of the current toolkit ancient history: artificial intelligence. The program aims to incorporate automation into the software analysis and vulnerability discovery process by enabling humans and computers to reason collaboratively. If successful, the program could enhance existing hacking techniques and greatly expand the number of personnel capable of ethically hacking DoD systems. To achieve its goal, DARPA will solicit proposals from industry across five technical areas, including developing tools that mimic the processes used by expert hackers and ultimately transitioning a final solution to the government. “Through CHESS, we're looking to gather, understand and convert the expertise of human hackers into automated analysis techniques that are more accessible to a broader range of technologists,” the DARPA program description reads. “By allowing more individuals to contribute to the process, we're creating a way to scale vulnerability detection well beyond its current limits.” While DARPA sees artificial intelligence as an important tool for enhancing cybersecurity efforts, officials emphasize the essential role humans play in the collaborative process. “Humans have world knowledge, as well as semantic and contextual understanding that is beyond the reach of automated program analysis alone,” said Dustin Fraze, the I2O program manager leading CHESS. “These information gaps inhibit machine understanding for many classes of software vulnerabilities. Properly communicated human insights can fill these information gaps and enable expert hacker-level vulnerability analysis at machine speeds.” The CHESS program will span three phases lasting a total of 42 months. Each phase will focus on increasing the complexity of an application the CHESS system is able to analyze effectively. https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/04/27/darpa-wants-to-arm-ethical-hackers-with-ai/

  • US makes it cheaper for foreign nations to buy American weapons

    April 30, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    US makes it cheaper for foreign nations to buy American weapons

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON ― The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced this week that it is reducing a surcharge on American defense goods sold abroad from 3.5 percent to 3.2 percent, effectively dropping the price foreign nations have to pay when buying weapons through the Foreign Military Sales system. The change will go into effect June 1. The funding from the surcharge is used to support the FMS process, by which the U.S. government acts as the go-between for industry and a foreign customer, using the American acquisition system. The announcement comes days after the Trump administration rolled out a new set of guidelinesfor conventional arms transfers and unmanned systems as part of a broader push to increase American weapon sales abroad. The U.S. sold $41.9 billion in arms through the FMS process in fiscal 2017, per a DSCA statement. Based on that figure, the U.S. took in roughly $1.46 billion through the 3.5 percent surcharge. Reducing it to 3.2 percent would drop that number to around $1.34 billion. DSCA head Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper tied the surcharge cut directly to that broader goal, saying in the announcement that the change “will immediately reduce the cost of doing business for our international partners.” “It demonstrates the Department of Defense's commitment to charge only what is needed in order to support the administration of the FMS program which includes the sale of defense articles, defense services, and military training,” Hooper added. https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/04/27/us-makes-it-cheaper-for-foreign-nations-to-buy-american-weapons/

  • New Pentagon research chief is working on lasers, AI, hypersonic munitions and more

    April 26, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    New Pentagon research chief is working on lasers, AI, hypersonic munitions and more

    By: Todd South The new chief for research in the Pentagon is building an artificial intelligence center, pushing for self-driving vehicles in combat zones and more powerful lasers, and says solving the hypersonic gap means updating testing facilities. Defense Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin testified before the House Armed Services Committee last week, answering questions on a range of gear and procurement questions. But those most relevant to service members included weapons systems on the horizon that troops could see in combat with near peer adversaries. More rapid development will include the use of unmanned ground vehicles in formations. The Army recently announced the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division will have a robotic combat vehicle called the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport in the ranks this year for testing, which will develop the likely full-fielding gear mule-type robot. Simple tasks, such as delivering food, mail, water and fuel, could be automated sooner than some think, Griffin said. “I think, frankly, we're going to have self-driving vehicles in theater for the Army before we'll have self-driving cars on the streets,” Griffin said. “If that can be done by an automated unmanned vehicle with a relatively simple AI driving algorithm where I don't have to worry about pedestrians and road signs and all of that, why wouldn't I do that?” Griffin pointed to Chinese systems that have been fielded or can be soon fielded that can launch a strike and reach out “thousands of kilometers” from the Chinese shore and “hold our carrier battle groups or forward deployed forces on land” at risk. “We, today, do not have systems which can hold them at risk in a corresponding manner, and we don't have defenses against those systems,” Griffin told the House Armed Services Committee members on April 18. Another Chinese technology threat includes the nation's development of swarm drone technologies to counter U.S. airpower and other strengths. That means getting powerful laser systems up to snuff. But it won't happen tomorrow. “We need to have 100-kilowatt-class weapons on Army theater vehicles. We need to have 300-kilowatt-class weapons on Air Force tankers,” Griffin said. “We need to have megawatt-class directed energy weapons in space for space defense. These are things we can do over the next decade if we can maintain our focus.” Scientists he's been talking with have told him that level of laser power is five to six years away and a “megawatt laser” is within a decade with persistent investment. ‘An unacceptable situation' Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., pointed out that the testing facilities, such as White Sands Missile Range in his state, have scarcely seen any upgrades or improvements in the past two decades, despite leaps in technology for missiles, lasers and other items. Griffin agreed, saying at a low estimate at least 20 such testing facilities across the nation are in the same situation. He said the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency does most of the leading-edge work on hypersonic missile systems and they have exactly one testing facility, a NASA wind tunnel near Langley, Virginia. “This is an unacceptable situation,” Griffin said. He promised to return with budget requests to renovate those facilities to improve testing. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., asked about a new area of focus that has broad-reaching effects: artificial intelligence. Griffin oversees the creation of a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center that would create AI solutions for all the service branches. He deferred on the details but told members that he expected to return with a plan within two months. “We owe the Congress a report, I think, about two months from now on what our A.I. strategy will be. And the JAIC, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, will be a part of that overall strategy,” Griffin said. The plan must consider the 592 projects across the Defense Department that have AI as part of their development. https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-military/2018/04/24/new-pentagon-research-chief-is-working-on-lasers-ai-hypersonic-munitions-and-more/

  • Royal Canadian Navy getting new miniature maritime drone this summer- Update on defence industry news and contracts

    April 26, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Royal Canadian Navy getting new miniature maritime drone this summer- Update on defence industry news and contracts

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Here is defence industry news from my article in the latest issue of Esprit de Corps magazine: MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, signed a contract worth around $8 million to provide the Department of National Defence with what is being called a Maritime Miniature Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MMUAS). The contract also includes services to support training, resource and equipment development activities and development and validation of naval tactics and new capability development, according to the firm. MDA's solution is based on the Puma AE (All Environment) unmanned aircraft built by Aeroviroment.The photo above courtesy of the U.S. Navy shows the Puma AE. The Puma has the ability to carry additional payloads as required for specific missions. The MMUAS is the first UAS project that will see the RCN operate and maintain its own capability and provide a sustainable shipborne, near real-time, Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) ISR capability with an expected introduction to the fleet in the summer of 2018 onboard Kingston-class ships. The Puma AE is operated from the same control station as the Raven UAS which has been provided by MDA to the Canadian Army since 2013. In addition, MDA, also announced it has signed a contract with an unnamed international customer for the provision of turnkey, unmanned aircraft system surveillance services. The contract includes options for additional years. MDA's UAS service will use a fleet of Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100 rotary-wing unmanned aircraft to provide surveillance information. MDA will be responsible for all aspects of the service including acquisition of all the systems and required infrastructure, training, airworthiness, logistics, supply chain, maintenance and all flight operations, the firm noted. The S-100 aircraft is a vertical takeoff and landing UAS, which does not require a prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night and is a very capable platform for a wide range of different surveillance payloads to meet a broad set of mission requirements. MDA's UAS service will equip the S-100 fleet with L3 WESCAM MX-10 EO/IR payloads. The MX-10 is a high-performance, multi-sensor multi-spectral imaging system for tactical surveillance missions. It carries multiple sensors including both high-definition day modes and night infrared modes. The MX-10 is currently operational for twelve nations worldwide on the S-100. Pratt & Whitney Canada has signed a 12-year Fleet Management Program agreement with Specialist Aviation Services for 24 PW210A engines powering 12 Leonardo AW169 helicopters. The program has been specifically tailored to SAS's needs and helps reduce operating costs and simplifies fleet operations management, according to Pratt and Whitney. Operating primarily in the United Kingdom, SAS provides support to emergency services and other major organizations that rely on aircraft to support their operations. SAS is one of the fleet leaders on the AW169 program. Rheinmetall has won the first request for proposals for preliminary studies relating to European Union defence research financed by the EU's European Defence Union. Under a project known as “Generic Open Soldier Systems Reference Architecture”, or GOSSRA, the European Commission has put the Düsseldorf-based tech group in charge of a consortium consisting of partners from nine different EU member states. Under the GOSSRA project, studies will be conducted into developing an open reference architecture as the basis of EU-wide standardized soldier systems. This includes electronics, voice and data communication, software solutions, man-machine interfaces, sensors and effectors. Rheinmetall makes the German Bundeswehr's IdZ-ES soldier system as well as the Canadian military's Argus system. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/royal-canadian-navy-getting-new-miniature-maritime-drone-this-summer-update-on-defence-industry-news-and-contracts

  • Defense intelligence chief: ‘A lot of technology remains untapped’

    April 26, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Defense intelligence chief: ‘A lot of technology remains untapped’

    by Sandra Erwin Kernan: Project Maven so far has been “extraordinarily” useful in processing intelligence but more capabilities are needed. TAMPA, FLA. — Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan, a retired Navy vice admiral, is rarely seen or heard at public events. But he decided to step on the stage and address the nation's largest gathering of geospatial intelligence professionals to relay a message that the military is in the market for cutting-edge technology. “The reason I agreed to speak is that a lot of capacity and technology remains untapped,” Kernan said in a keynote speech on Monday at the GEOINT symposium. DoD collects loads of data from satellites, drones and Internet-of-things devices. But it needs help making sense of the intelligence and analyzing it quickly enough so it can be used in combat operations. It needs powerful artificial intelligence software tools that the tech industry is advancing at a past pace. The most promising AI effort the Pentagon has going now is Project Maven. Military analysts are using Google-developed AI algorithms to mine live video feeds from drones. With machine learning techniques, software is taught to find particular objects or individuals at speeds that would be impossible for any human analyst. Kernan said Project Maven only started a year ago and so far has been “extraordinarily” useful in overseas operations. “I would have liked to have had it in my past,” said Kernan, a former special operations commander. There is such heightened interest in AI that the Pentagon got Project Maven approved and under contract in two months. More importantly, said Kernan, the “capability was tested overseas. Not in the Pentagon.” For AI algorithms to be valuable to the military, they have to produce relevant intelligence, he cautioned. “Don't be developing capability to serve warfighters while sitting in the Pentagon. Make sure you address their needs by working with the forces out there. That's key to Project Maven. It works with users.” Software, no matter how advanced, will not replace human analysts, said Kernan. “It's about enabling analysts to use their cognitive process so they don't have to jam and finger push things into a computer.” What annoys Kernan? “That we really haven't taken all the advantage we can of technology.” That may be about to change as DoD ramps up AI efforts. Defense procurement chief Ellen Lord said the Pentagon will start bringing together AI projects that already exist but do not necessarily share information or resources. “We have talked about taking over 50 programs and loosely associating those,” Lord told reporters. “We have many silos of excellence.” Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin will oversee a new AI office that will bring in “elements of the intelligence community,” he said. But many details remain to be worked out. The speed at which the Pentagon moved with Project Maven is “truly groundbreaking,” said Mike Manzo, director of intelligence, threat and analytic solutions at General Dynamics Mission Systems. The company provides training and advisory services to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. “This community is not accustomed to rapid acquisition, and rapid deployment,” Manzo told SpaceNews. “I applaud the Project Maven staff, the government, and everybody who is involved with that.” Another reason Project Maven is “disruptive” is that it shows that analysts are beginning to trust new sources of intelligence and nontraditional methods, Manzo said. “What's encouraging is that the outputs of these systems are being trusted by the users,” he said. “A machine comes up with an answer and the human gives the thumbs up or down,” he said. “If DoD is trusting this, it's a tremendous step.” Even though a human is supervising, the focus doesn't have to be on “making sure the machine is doing the things I asked the machine to do.” None of this means decisions are being made by computers, Manzo said. “But these technologies help optimize the human analyst to do what they are really good at: intuition.” As the Pentagon seeks ways to bring AI into the battlefield, “Maven has a lot of promise.” http://spacenews.com/defense-intelligence-chief-a-lot-of-technology-remains-untapped/

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