The U.S. Senate last week confirmed Mark Esper to serve as the next Secretary of Defense. During his confirmation hearing, Esper identified artificial intelligence (AI) as a “game changer” and the Pentagon’s most important technology. “I think artificial intelligence will likely change the character of warfare,” Esper testified, “and I believe whoever masters it first will dominate on the battlefield for many, many, many years.” The American defense establishment has awakened to this new era of AI-enabled warfare — but has much work to do and no time to waste.
Lt. Col. Dan Wood is an active duty U.S. Army officer and Visiting Military Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). He most recently studied artificial intelligence as an Army War College Fellow for Information Technology and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University.Bradley Bowman is senior director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power. Follow him on Twitter @Brad_L_Bowman The views expressed are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.