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NEWS | June 27, 2024

DOD, partners find data sharing challenging

By David Vergun DOD News

The mission of the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office is to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence, data and analytics across the Defense Department in an effort to modernize the force.

Bill Streilein, its chief technology officer, spoke today at the virtual Defense One event, "Genius Machines: Understanding the AI Threatscape."

A major challenge is data sharing among industry and foreign partners who might have a lot to contribute. However, the classification of data remains a barrier to sharing, he said. 

"It's not so much a technical challenge, because the ability to share data has been around for a while. It's more of a policy challenge, to be honest. But getting there requires a lot of conversation, a lot of mutual understanding of what the data is that needs to be shared," he said. 

There are recent discussions about allowing DOD to streamline sharing from a whole data set and which portions need to be specially protected and which ones can be shared as they are, he said. 

The crises in Ukraine and Israel have ramped up those discussions since information sharing has been critical to those battlespaces, he said. 

Streilein also touched on the importance of talent management and training candidates for AI and other digital technology positions within the department. 

There are a number of courses recently launched, including at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University and at the Naval Postgraduate School, where senior leaders can immerse themselves in data analytics and AI, he said. 

These courses help to dispel the mystery around it and help them to understand the rationale for why these capabilities are important, he said, adding that "the more the leaders know about it … the better decisions they can make about how to bring the capability to the department."