Ilya Rahkovsky is a Data Scientist at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) focused on turning data into value. Previously, he was a Research Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service working on consumer demand, spatial competition, information processing and scanner data. Ilya teaches Statistics and Machine Learning at the Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University and a B.A. in Mathematics from University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

National security leaders view AI as a priority technology for defending the United States. This two-part analysis is intended to help policymakers better understand the scope and implications of U.S. military investment in autonomy and AI. It focuses on the range of autonomous and AI-enabled technologies the Pentagon is developing, the military capabilities these applications promise to deliver, and the impact that such advances could have on key strategic issues.

This brief examines how the Pentagon’s investments in autonomy and AI may affect its military capabilities and strategic interests. It proposes that DOD invest in improving its understanding of trust in human-machine teams and leverage existing AI technologies to enhance military readiness and endurance. In the long term, investments in reliable, trustworthy, and resilient AI systems are critical for ensuring sustained military, technological, and strategic advantages.

The Pentagon has a wide range of research and development programs using autonomy and AI in unmanned vehicles and systems, information processing, decision support, targeting functions, and other areas. This policy brief delves into the details of DOD’s science and technology program to assess trends in funding, key areas of focus, and gaps in investment that could stymie the development and fielding of AI systems in operational settings.

Today’s research and development investments will set the course for artificial intelligence in national security in the coming years. This Executive Summary presents key findings and recommendations from CSET’s two-part analysis of U.S. military investments in autonomy and AI, including our assessment of DOD’s research priorities, trends and gaps, as well as ways to ensure U.S. military leadership in AI in the short and the long term.

Tracking AI Investment

September 2020

The global AI industry is booming, with privately held firms pulling in nearly $40 billion in disclosed investment in 2019 alone. U.S. companies continue to attract the majority of that funding—64 percent of it in 2019—but that lead is not guaranteed. This report analyzes AI investment data from 2015 to 2019 to help better understand trends in the global AI landscape.

Artificial intelligence is of increasing interest to the private sector, but what exactly constitutes an “AI company?” This data brief offers a flexible, data-driven framework for identifying the companies most relevant in this field at the moment, providing policymakers and researchers with a tool for mapping technology transfer risks and gauging the overall health of America’s AI sector.