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Addressing AI's Operational Challenges: Putting Human in Human-Machine Teaming

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned/autonomous systems are poised to revolutionize modern-day warfighting, and Department of Navy (DON) leaders have stated that these systems will make the difference between victory and defeat in great power competition (GPC). Our review of DON strategy documents, however (see table), indicates that DON is paying insufficient attention to the full range of DOTMLPF-P (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership & education, personnel, facilities, and policy) implications that these technologies will have. In particular, more attention needs to be paid to the Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education (MPT&E) to enable human-machine teaming (HMT). Ironically, humans are HMT’s missing ingredient in DON's strategic planning for GPC.

ADVANTAGE AT SEA (THE TRI-SERVICE MARITIME STRATEGY)

"We must maintain our advantage at sea with new platforms, new thinking, and new technologies,” and “recruit, train, educate, manage, and retain diverse, versatile, professional personnel.” HMT will “increase the capacity of the fleet.” This strategy recognizes the importance of MPT&E, but is silent regarding the impact of HMT on MPT&E.

CNO’S NAVIGATION PLAN

CNO acknowledges MPT&E, noting that our Sailors will “remain the best trained and educated force in the world.” MPT&E reform is not addressed, but there is an unambiguous statement regarding the need to reform technology acquisition by developing “innovative systems, modernizing legacy ones, and rigorously aligning our acquisition enterprise with operational requirements.”

38TH COMMANDANT'S PLANNING GUIDANCE (AND ITS UPDATES)

“Marines are the centerpiece of the Corps—our principal emphasis must focus on recruiting; educating and training; instilling our core values and sense of accountability.” Unmanned systems and AI figure as prominent enablers, but the relationship between technology acquisition and personnel “acquisition” to enable HMT remains unexplored.

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY UNMANNED SYSTEMS CAMPAIGN FRAMEWORK

This framework recognizes that HMT must span the entire DOTMLPF-P construct, acknowledges that material solution acquisition needs reform, and calls for the “talent recruitment and education necessary to field and sustain autonomous operations,” but does not suggest that MPT&E reform is needed to accomplish this. It explicitly recognizes our poor record of developing platform “enablers,” and then it lists them: networks, control systems, infrastructure, interfaces, AI, and data. It does not specifically list people as HMT enablers.

DON S&T STRATEGY FOR INTELLIGENT AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS

This strategy defines intelligent autonomous systems as “the confluence of autonomy with unmanned systems and AI”—but not with people. It recognizes that AI requires changes to recruitment, education, and training, but its MPT&E focus is limited to a “world-class workforce” capable of the necessary innovation and process reforms—not the HMT human teammates.

THE PROJECT OVERMATCH MEMORANDUM

In this document, the CNO recognizes the need for “Distributed Maritime Operations through a teamed manned/unmanned force.” He presents Project Overmatch strictly as a technical engineering problem, however, directing OPNAV N9 to provide “a novel force” but giving no similar direction to OPNAV N1 to provide the HMT human teammates.

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Approved for Public Release by Kim Deal, Chief Research Officer.

Details

  • Pages: 7
  • Document Number: DSI-2021-U-030517-Final.
  • Publication Date: 10/29/2021
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