At the Air Force Association’s annual conference, the U.S. Air Force announced that they will continue ongoing efforts to overhaul and update its information technology infrastructure in order to incorporate artificial intelligence solutions in cybersecurity warfare.
The challenge in implementing advanced AI solutions is the fact that overtime, military departments have separated into different network architectures, making it difficult to scale. The Air Force hopes to introduce artificial intelligence cybersecurity, and critical steps include overhauls and new cybersecurity standards for weapons systems.
Breaking Defense reported that Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command, has indicated at the conference that the potential integration of AI to detect and counter cyber and electronic threats works in line with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s Third Offset Strategy. The offset strategy emphasizes development of new tools and tactics to match up competitively to the growing numbers and technological sophistication other advanced military forces such as Russians and Chinese forces. While advanced physical weapons are all being funded and developed, artificial intelligence has increasingly become the unifying idea of the offset.
More complex systems have now been used for network security professionally (e.g. Host-based Intrusion Detection Systems and Network Intrusion Detection systems). Computers already rely on automated updates to patch vulnerabilities — although that is difficult to execute across the current, fragmented DoD network. Advances in cybersecurity AI could recognize a threat already inside the network and automatically rerouting traffic around the infected computers. With advances in AI cybersecurity, the Air Force can implement a solution where AI could pull in data from aircraft in flight, detect a new threat, and automatically issue appropriate updates to every aircrafts’ EW software so they can counter it.
The conference indicated that the U.S. armed forces must innovate ahead of its competitors. “Air superiority is not something we are going to be able to assume,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Deale, director of operations at Air Combat Command. “In future conflicts against high-end adversaries, the US will have to fight to control airspace for limited times and in specific places. That will require automated systems to process all the intelligence data and commanders capable of combining traditional kinetic weapons with “non-kinetic” tools like cyber.”