Recapping “The Role of Big Tech in the New National Security Reality” from the 2021 Defense One Tech Summit

During the Defense 1 Tech Summit, Rep. Jim Langevin, (RI-02), United States Congress, Chris Lynch, CEO and Co-Founder, Rebellion Defense, Ylli Bajraktari, Executive Director, National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and Patrick Tucker, Technology Editor at Defense One, discussed the future of defense innovation and development, the role of industry, and how the United States can keep their edge over their adversaries.

CONTINUING TO MAKE STRIDES 

When asked about current strides that have been made by the Department of Defense and leveraging best practices from the technology community, Chris Lynch explained that we are in a different era: a software era. But when most people think about the DoD’s defense strategy, they think of aircraft carriers and jets. This dichotomy illustrates the challenge currently being faced, especially when we think of the need for the flawless execution of software across traditional national security assets. “The thing I think the DoD is really doing well is looking at how to harness today’s technology, rather than this fantastical idea of artificial intelligence that everyone pictures from movies and the future. How do we look at today’s technology and make that part of the mission?” Lynch went on to list examples such as the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and Maven, noting that “all of these projects are pieces of the puzzle as to how we continue this mission.” 

SHIFTING FROM HARDWARE TO SOFTWARE 

Rep. Jim Langevin, (RI-02) has also been a long-time proponent of shifting DoD acquisitions away from hardware and more towards software.

With regard to the modernization effort across government intersecting with emerging technologies, Rep. Langevin noted, “Electromagnetic Spectrum is one of the areas I want to focus on heavily as our adversaries have invested heavily in that area to offset our advantage.” He went on to say, “Focusing on cutting-edge research and development and looking to see where the private sector may serve the need of the DoD and being able to transition that technology and R&D into their hands more quickly will be the two elements I focus on first.

MOVING FASTER 

A problem noted throughout the session was the lack of movement by Congress even with the amount of work being done by groups such as the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). When looking at the multitude of recommendations made by the commission and how the political landscape has changed recently, Ylli Bajraktari, Executive Director, NSCAI, was asked which recommendations he is prioritizing right now, and his prioritization is speed. “We have tried to come two levels down and provide the Department and Congress with a blueprint of how you once and for all solve these issues within emerging tech.”

Bajraktari concluded by restating the importance of getting into a better AI to keep an edge over adversaries. “We’ve been talking for years now, and I really feel that our report gives the blueprint to Congress to legislate so that next year we can move into an era where we can get to the point that we are A.I. ready by 2025,” he concluded. All 3 panelists vehemently agreed on this position.

A recording of the full discussion is available for those who registered for the conference.

For those interested in hearing about the intersection of AI and cybersecurity from Gilman Louie, LookingGlass CEO and a fellow Commissioner with the NSCAI, check out our recap of his interview at NextGov’s Emerging Tech Summit. 

Organizations interested in learning how to best determine where to focus their cybersecurity efforts should contact us today