Top Pentagon Data Officer Explains Challenges Utilizing AI at DoD

Michael Conlin, the Pentagon’s chief data officer, has said the structure of data and developing a workforce are the two major challenges to the agency’s adoption of artificial intelligence, FedScoop reported Thursday.

During the recent ACT-IAC Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation Forum in Washington, D.C., Conlin said the agency needs “well-tagged and well organized” large volumes of data to set algorithms on AI-based tools. 

“The more data you have to train your algorithms, the more accurate the algorithms are and the faster you get your results,” he said. 

Aside from structuring data, Conlin also noted the Department of Defense needs to build a workforce to oversee future AI systems. He said current federal workers are not trained for such a job. 

“Talent is a really big challenge for us,” he said. “We don’t train data scientists in the government. We don’t have the career path for data professionals, let alone data scientists.” 

Conlin suggested that DoD focuses on efforts to compete with commercial sector to attract IT talent.

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