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DoD Nominee Mark Esper Cites AI as Top Modernization Priority

Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army

Mark Esper, the White House’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Defense and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, said artificial intelligence would be his top priority in technology modernization if he gets confirmed, FedScoop reported Tuesday.

“Different people put different things as number one, for me it is AI,” Esper told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing Tuesday. “It will likely change the character of warfare. We will reform the department, beginning with the Fourth Estate,” Esper said of the agencies that are not directly involved in combat operations such as the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Information Systems Agency.

He also cited the need to equip nuclear systems with cyber protection capabilities, advance tech modernization and reform the Pentagon’s structure.

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