Showcasing our researchers’ work and their latest media appearances as they weigh in on developments at the intersection of national security and emerging technology.
CSET Director Dewey Murdick testified last week at a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on how the United States can counter China’s efforts at economic and technological dominance. Fedscoop led its coverage of the hearing with Murdick’s proposal that the U.S. government establish an independent analytic capability, composed of hundreds of federal and regional data analysts, that monitors science and technology developments and flags unwanted technology transfers in real time for policymakers. China’s large-scale S&T analysis capabilities have received multilayered and sustained state support with more than 60,000 open-source collectors and analysts, Murdick noted, adding, “To my knowledge no part of the U.S. government, including the [intelligence community], has developed a scalable countermeasure to this Chinese approach.”
Breaking Defense took note of Senior Fellow Andrew Lohn’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on artificial intelligence applications in cyberspace operations. Lohn discussed AI’s capabilities and vulnerabilities in cyber defense and offense. He advised the committee that the U.S. Defense Department has the opportunity to “step ahead of industry in the adversarial context” in terms of AI innovation within cyberspace operations. Inside AI also covered the hearing, noting that Lohn told committee members the United States is the innovation leader in AI and has companies providing a “huge leg up,” but China has been making gains.
In his second appearance on the Hill this month, Lohn testified before two House Science, Space and Technology Committee subcommittees on the security of open-source software. Politico’s Morning Cybersecurity newsletter reported that the hearing came a year after a vulnerability detection in the code library Log4j left millions of devices available for exploitation. In his testimony, Lohn warned of vulnerabilities to the AI supply chain through public code sharing. To maximize the benefits of AI sharing while reducing security risks, Lohn recommended that Congress support efforts to provide trusted AI resources, grant funding for security audits, work with U.S. government organizations to create a prioritized list of AI systems and resources, and augment red and blue teams of defensive hackers and security specialists with AI expertise to patch security system holes.
The National Interest
Semiconductor supply chains have serious implications for national security, but not all semiconductors are created equal according to an article by The National Interest, which said Washington policymakers’ focus on supply chain vulnerabilities ignores the importance of leading-node logic chips. The article cited a recent report by Research Analyst Will Hunt explaining that “leading-edge logic and memory chips are required to ensure the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the intelligence community continue to field the most advanced computing capabilities.” In his report, Hunt assessed how funding from the CHIPS Act should be distributed across the development of different types of chips.
The Wire China
Intel, which manufactures the most advanced chips in the United States, “represents America’s only homegrown shot to reshore advanced semiconductor manufacturing,” according to The Wire China. But when it comes to CHIPS Act funding, Hunt points out “it doesn’t make sense to put all your eggs into the Intel basket.”
The recent creation of the Wolfspeed semiconductor factory in upstate New York showcased the U.S. push to create more fabrication facilities, but because they take a long time to build, they won’t be enough to solve the current chips shortage according to an article by Vox. Even with the creation of more fabs, the United States may not have enough specialized workers for chip manufacturing. In his report “Reshoring Chipmaking Capacity Requires High-Skilled Foreign Talent,” Hunt estimated that eight new fabs may require at least a few thousand foreign workers with experience in semiconductor manufacturing.
OODA Loop called CSET “one of the best policy research organizations that we track and analyze,” adding, “They pursue bleeding edge subject matter, always take a fresh angle, and deliver really legible, actionable results.” After focusing on CSET’s research on AI safety and the future of disinformation campaigns, the article analyzed a report by Jack Corrigan, James Dunham and Remco Zwetsloot as a reminder of the national security issues surrounding education and the retention of STEM talent in the United States. Using data from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR), the report found that “as of February 2017, roughly 77 percent of the more than 178,000 international STEM PhD graduates from U.S. universities between 2000 and 2015 were still living in the country.”
War on the Rocks
In an opinion piece for War on the Rocks, Alex Stephenson and Ryan Fedasiuk explained how artificial intelligence could augment U.S. and Chinese military capabilities. The authors wrote that “the United States needs a balanced approach to AI investment — one that doesn’t simply guard against threats, but also imposes costs on a Chinese force that sees AI as the key to victory.” For the United States to succeed in a near-term U.S.-Chinese conflict, they recommended “expanding investment in counter-AI research and adopting zero-trust architectures for the development of U.S. AI systems.”
In an opinion piece for World ECR, Emily Weinstein and Kevin Wolf explained how the economic response by the United States and its allies against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents an opportunity for the creation of a new multilateral export control regime. “There is also now proof that coordinated export control actions outside the scope of traditional controls are far more effective than unilateral (i.e., US-only) controls. Moreover, in merely months, the allied response has created information sharing arrangements, coordinated enforcement efforts, and personal connections among export control officials that would normally have taken years of concerted action to establish,” the authors wrote. In CSET’s May 23 webinar, A New Export Control Regime for the 21st Century, Weinstein and Wolfe will present their vision for a new export control regime among techno-democracies to better address contemporary challenges.
Spotlight on CSET Experts: Andrew Lohn
Andrew Lohn is a Senior Fellow working on the CyberAI Project. Prior to joining CSET, he was an Information Scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he led research focusing mainly on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
His recent publications include Securing AI, AI and Compute, Poison in the Well, and Truth Lies, and Automation. He has published in a variety of fields and his work has been covered in the MIT Technology Review, Gizmodo, Foreign Policy and the BBC.
Interested in speaking with Andrew or our other experts? Contact External Affairs Specialist Adrienne Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org