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Lauren Williams, Staff Writer at FCW, and Tony Bertuca, Chief Editor at Inside the Pentagon, discuss recommendations from the Future of Defense Task Force for faster development of artificial intelligence and unmanned weapons systems

The House Armed Services Committee’s bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force called for a “whole-of-nation” approach to security in its latest report. The Task Force recommended prioritization of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies in order to outpace Russia and China. Tony Bertuca, Chief Editor at Inside the Pentagon, and Lauren Williams, Staff Writer at FCW, spoke with “Government Matters” about the Task Force’s findings.

“When they rolled out the report, they made it clear that they think the most value it has is that it’s a bipartisan Congressional report,” Bertuca said. “They really wanted to drive home that the value of this report is that it’s a product of bipartisanship in Congress.”

The Task Force’s co-chairs, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) and Jim Banks (R-Ind) have emphasized the significance of consensus across the aisle on threats from Russia and China.

“America needs a plan to confront the dual threats of Russia’s aggression and China’s rise. This is it. For the first time, there is agreement among both parties in Congress about the path forward…” Moulton said in a press release.

Both Moulton and Banks have said they intend to keep up the fight for the duration of their careers, Bertuca said.

That fight, the report says, starts with a commitment to the advancement of artificial intelligence. The report recommends an AI development program based on the Manhattan Project.

“The Task Force indicated that they’d like to see [AI] throughout every major acquisition program that the DoD has, and they even suggested a stipulation that would tie funding requests to the consideration of automated unmanned systems and AI tools,” Williams said.

One issue with the outline, Bertuca said, is that the development of large-scale AI innovation projects isn’t as actionable as directives to fund specific efforts.

The Task Force commended the Defense Department for its successes in programs such as the Defense Innovation Unit and Army Futures Command.

“There was definitely a call-out in the report giving praise to some of the efforts DoD has had,” Williams said. “They’re seeing how these organizational approaches to tech modernization are working and they like it and they want to see more of it.”

Williams has covered the Future Defense Task Force’s work in FCW. Bertuca and his colleagues have covered it in Inside Defense.

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