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Pentagon’s JAIC working on first of its kind AI based Integration Layer

The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is developing a joint operating system to help combatant commands build and feed AI algorithms quickly, said Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Breaking Defense reported

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Lt. Gen. Michael Groen warned that the Pentagon’s biggest competitive threat is obsolescence. “The biggest competitive threat is our own obsolescence.” 

“I could walk out into the parking lot of the Pentagon, turn on my iPhone and join a data-driven, completely integrated environment. I can get whatever services I want. I can review, I can find, I can research. I can do it all at my fingertips. I can’t do any of that on a defense network.” Michael Groen said in a statement

Lt. Gen. Michael Groen
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center director, warned that the military will be vulnerable unless it has integrated, data-driven war-fighting systems. (Sgt. Jack Sanders/U.S. Air Force)

“We can’t operate that way. We can’t win that way. We can’t be competitive in that way,” Michael Groen said during the Potomac Officers Club AI Summit. 

“So if you don’t have an integration layer like that, then you have to go find all the data sources yourself…. This is something we don’t have yet in the department,” Michael Groen told Breaking Defense

What is JAIC?:

JAIC was established by the US Department of Defense in 2018 to seize upon the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence technology for the benefit of America’s national security. 

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According to the JAIC’s official website, the researchers and practitioners of AI technology over the past decade have made extraordinary progress. This expands the performance of AI systems across a diverse set of existing applications and also enables new, previously impossible applications. 

Lt. Gen. Shanahan was announced as the first Director of the the organization in January 2019. The White House released the Executive Order in February, on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, and the Department of Defense released the unclassified summary of the DoD’s AI Strategy. While the JAIC is acting as the official focal point of the DoD AI Strategy. 

How does it Works? 

In January and February 2019, the JAIC kicked off its first two National Mission Initiatives (NMIs) – Predictive Maintenance (PMx) and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR). These NMIs from the intelligence center are AI capability delivery projects focused on problems that cross Military Services or Departments. It also supports Component Mission Initiatives (CMIs) that are specific to one DoD Component or agency. 

The effort is a part of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Initiative (AIDA) announced last year by Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Defense Secretary. Through AIDA, AI and data teams would be dispatched to the military’s 11 combatant commands in an effort to help them understand what data they use and create AI tools to streamline decision-making. Since the announcement of the initiative, the Defense Department has completed its first round of assessments at the COCOMS. 

The JAIC is now developing an “integration layer” that will make the development of AI algorithms easier through the AIDA initiative, which has a three-year timeline. This helps COCOMS meet their priority “information requirements in their decision-making processes,” Michael Groen told Breaking Defense following a panel at the NDIA 2022 Expeditionary Warfare Conference. 

“It’s a fairly simple concept, but it allows us to scale because once you have all those services available, then it’s real easy for anybody to develop apps and we can quickly grow our AI applications across the whole force,” he continued. 

The current effort will assist COCOMs while building a series of situational awareness and common operational applications for a commander 

Lt. Gen. Groen told Breaking Defense that JAIC has partnered with multiple vendors to develop the integration layer, but he declined to name specific companies. 

“We are all familiar with the tech giants and we are all familiar with how data and AI are driving finance and production, commercial activity, retail sales, delivery, I mean all of those enterprises are driven by data and artificial intelligence. We want the Department of Defense and our warfighters to be able to benefit from that same level of technical integration so that they can make decisions fast, they can gain efficiencies on the battlefield and they can be productive,” he further added. 

“It’s a really powerful transformation, it just takes time to turn a ship as big as the Department of Defense into the technological wind so that we can actually really start making speed in our Warfighting capabilities,” according to Groen. 

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Theis organization has awarded Xcelerate Solutions a five-year blanket purchase agreement last month for the development and integration of commercial AI tools in support of DoD. 

The budget details for JAIC have not yet been disclosed. But Groen said the figure fell into the millions.


  1. Breaking Defense