Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) speak on a panel. (Source: 2023 Reagan National Defense Forum)

Air Force Secretary Says AI Will Enhance Abilities of U.S. Military Forces

Many leaders of the high-tech corporations that produce AI are a little fearful of its unknown powers. Some countries have come together to release statements condemning the uncontrolled rollout of dangerous algorithms. But the U.S. military isn’t the least bit afraid. Let us get on with it, say the higher-ups in the Pentagon.

The armed forces don’t focus on AI like the kind we see in the catastrophe movies. No, they are very down to earth with their approach to AI and what they want to do with it.

There is a website called that puts in plain English what the Pentagon has in mind.

Reporter Sandra Erwin attended a gathering in early December and heard some direct information about the future of AI and the armed forces of America. She reported:

“‘The U.S. military needs to rapidly adopt artificial intelligence technology to aid in tracking targets, data analysis, and managing complex missions,’ Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said on Dec. 2 at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

“Speaking on a panel at the annual forum in Simi Valley, California, Kendall touted AI as an essential technology needed to strengthen U.S. national defense capabilities.”

Panel Speaks Plainly

Secretary Kendall was forthcoming with his views about using AI in a battlefield situation. There are many voices raising concerns about using AI on any battlefield.

“As new applications emerge, he said, ‘we do need to find ways to evaluate this technology, become confident in it, have the ability to trust it, and to get it into fielded capabilities as quickly as we can.’ There are ‘enormous possibilities,’ Kendall warned, “but it is not anywhere near general human Intelligence equivalents. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about pattern recognition. We’re talking about enormous efficiency improvements.’ ”

Beyond Earth

Military planners have already moved beyond protecting countries on earth with their imaginary boundaries and political persuasions. The big push from military AI will be to use it in space.

Kendall insisted that AI technologies will be critical in helping military planners by observing Earth data from satellites.

“The U.S. and other countries can ‘watch what the other side is doing in peacetime and have a very good idea of what the threat looks like,’ he said. ‘But what we need is a battle management system for space which keeps track of all those objects, keeps track what the other side is doing, that helps our operators decide with a huge degree of automation how to respond when an attack occurs.”

“’If we’re gonna take advantage of AI and the automation that we can get out of AI technologies, we’ve got to put the resources against it, invest in real products,’ Kendall said. ‘That’s the path we’re on.’”

So, no drama, no movie plots. Just down-to-earth talk from a down-to-earth Air Force Secretary. We will use AI to our advantage and not be afraid of it.