Jon Stresing At the intersection of the AI and the DoD! — NVIDIA Account Manager – Army | DISA | JHUAPL | DLA — President, AFCEA Central Maryland Chapter Emerging
From the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to the Battalion/Squadron level, the entire Department of Defense is organized around a deliberate staff structure. At the JCS level, because it is a Joint Environment like the Combatant Commands (COCOMs), the staffs are broken out into J1-J8. What many don’t know is that each of these staffs directly correlate to an applicable business function in the corporate world. And every business function in the corporate world has been massively disrupted by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This makes each J-Staff ripe for massive technological disruption.
But how? I will explain below.
The JCS consist of:
-The Vice Chairman
-The Chief of Staff of the Army
-The Chief of Naval Operations
-The Chief of Staff of the Air Force
-The Commandant of the Marine Corps
-The Chief of the National Guard Bureau
-The Chief of Space Operations
In the Army, at the Pentagon level, we have the Chief of Staff of the Army who is on the JCS, and below him/her exists the General-staff (G-Staff) broken out into G1-9. Below the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, there is the Air Force as Air-Staff (A-Staff). The Marines, Space Force and Guard all have their own letter designations. At the Brigade/Regiment/Wing/Ship down to the Battalion/Squadron/Department level, the staff is generally designated as an “S” staff. But for the sake of this article, it is irrelevant.
The illustrious J-Staff is usually confusing to those outside of the military. Honestly, as a lower enlisted soldier, I did not even know what the G/J-Staff was. I did not know until I worked at DISA as a contractor…but I digress. The roles of each staff are below, and generally are the same across the DoD.
– J/G/N/S x1 Manpower and Personnel: Think of this as your human resources department in your company. It is the division of a business that is charged with finding, screening, recruiting, and training job applicants, as well as administering employee-benefit programs.
- HR business functions are currently being massively disrupted, and the x1 staff could take advantage of several capabilities:
o AI for recruitment – AI could predict where the best candidates from the military come from, and help analyze candidate information and background to ensure they are placed in the right jobs. AI using Natural Language Processing and Conversational AI could also power chat bots for recruiters.
o One of the 1-Staff’s most important functions is manpower optimization. All businesses right now are under incredible stress to “do more with less, “and the DoD is no different. The correct AI algorithms would revolutionize the way the 1 staff is able to ensure comprehensive Joint Force readiness to meet warfighting requirements.
o On the back end of the HR cycle, AI can be used for retention. Organizations are using models in place today to predict when and why workers will leave, and even providing solutions for how to stop it.
–x2 – Intelligence: Although the DoD has a very important and different function for intelligence, most large businesses do conduct some sort of Business intelligence (BI) operations. BI is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and delivering actionable information that helps executives, managers and workers make informed business decisions.
- Intelligence tradecraft brings in data from multiple sources and tries to derive some sort of insight or prediction from that data. Because of that, many x2-Staffs are further ahead in the adoption of AI; however, a few ideas include:
o One of the most basic intelligence disciplines is Human-Intelligence. In today’s modern world, an intelligence officer does not need to travel around the world to find human intelligence, because many share so much information openly. This very article and these words I am writing right now will be read by LinkedIn AI algorithms, and likely algorithms from nefarious actors.
o The electromagnetic spectrum offers a trove of data. However, there are not enough people in America to listen to all of that radio traffic. And that makes AI for SIGINT a perfect use case. AI can sift through all of that data, analyze it, correlate it, do automatic language translations, do speech to text, and create labeled transcriptions.
o Imagery Intelligence is another area where there are not enough analysts in all of America to sift through every satellite, spy plane, balloon, or drone image/video to derive insight. Long gone are the days of dark rooms with magnifying glasses looking for Russian SCUDs in Cuba. These days, powerful technology analyzes thousands of images a second and derives more and better insight from each image than a human could. This same technology is used to save lives as well.
–x3 – Operations: Out of all the X-Staff, this one should be the most understandable to a business. Operations is the execution of the “Mission” of the organization. Most companies have a mission statement. The DoD has a broader mission than any company, but business operations are easily translatable. The best known applications for AI in the DoD probably fit into Military Operations in some capacity including: Robotics, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Signals Processing, and Smart Bases, among many others. Aside from the typical Military Operations functions, there are other ways AI can improve the 3 shop.
- All businesses have an operations function. The operations staff need AI in order to stay competitive with adversaries:
o The easiest way AI can help is with basic decision making. There are times with “going with your gut” is the right call. However, using scientific, math-based approach to decision making has its strengths as well. AI neural network decision making models will have a place in all future decision-making processes.
o AI could automatically plan and schedule mundane operations, freeing up 3-Staff to focus on more strategic problems.
o Predictive maintenance knowledge flows from the ground to operations leaders, and could predict future combat power and readiness of units and the military as a whole.
–x4 – Logistics: All business have some sort of input and output. There are supply chains and distribution chains. The DoD is the largest logistics organization in the world, as it is within the mission to project force across the globe, across thousands of bases. Within the DoD, logistics focuses and aligns with the core logistics capabilities of supply, maintenance operations, deployment and distribution, health services support, engineering, logistics services, and operational contract support.
- Logistics has been using math-based optimization for a long time now. There is still a long way to go for logistics to be fully optimized, and AI can help:
o AI can be used to read labels and to track shipments using computer vision. The same technology that can scan an image in the 2 staff can also be used to identify what item needs to go where, and track that inventory along the way for chain of custody. Computer vision can also be used to figure out the perfect way to pack a box, truck or airplane.
o Everyday, Amazon uses AI to perfectly route millions of packages to end consumers. Amazon has it perfected to the point that there is no statistical way for each package to be anymore optimized. This same technology could easily be applied to the shipping of boots, beans, and bullets. Or it could easily be applied to tanks, helicopters, boats, and airplanes as well. Logistics optimization could save the DoD billions of dollars per year.
o Smart warehouses are here, and AI at the edge in the form of robots are a great way for 4 shops to bring AI into their organizations.
o One of my other favorite use cases in the 4-Staff is for maintenance operations – Predictive Maintenance. The DoD spends an incomprehensible about of money on maintenance of vehicles, like the Blackhawk. AI for predictive maintenance will save billions in taxpayer money, but most importantly, save lives.
–x5 – Strategy, Plans and Policy: It is the role of the strategy department of an organization to plan out how that organization is going to execute on the CEO’s (Commander-in-Chief) vision. Most, if not all, companies have some sort of Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). Typically, CSO’s communicate and implement a company’s strategy internally and externally so that all employees, partners, suppliers, and contractors understand the company-wide strategic plan and how it carries out the company’s overall goals. That said, the most important AI function for the 5 shop will be to implement an AI strategy across their organization. The DoD published an AI Strategy in 2019.
- Because the 5 shop will be instrumental in developing the AI strategy for the organization, all of the use cases outlined in this document will be important to the people working there. * Note: There are considerable ethical considerations within using AI for purposes of conflict, and It will be important for some sort of AI Ethics Officer to be positioned there.
o The adversaries of the Department of Defense will be using AI against the United States. AI can develop plans and strategies that humans cannot, and those future capabilities will be used against DoD organizations.
o It will be impossible to develop plans and strategy to counter advisories’ AI without some sort of AI red teaming technologies in the 5 shop.
o Recommender engines could significantly decrease the time of data analysis spent developing strategy, plans, and policy.
–x6 – Command, Control, Communications, & Computers/Cyber: The mission of the Joint Staff J6 is to assist the CJCS in providing best military advice, while advancing cyber defense, joint/coalition interoperability, and C2 capabilities required by the Joint Force to preserve the Nation’s security. The head of the x6 directorate for DoD organizations will oftentimes be the CIO of that organization. This is the IT shop for all units. From base switching and internet service all the way up to the CIO office of the DoD, the 6 shop is always where IT lives. Because of the nature of AI, many people believe that this is where AI lives exclusively, and the goal of this thought leadership piece is to explore use cases outside of the J6.
· Because of the nature of AI, the 6 shop is a prime target for numerous AI initiatives:
o AI for cyber-security is the #1 use case for AI within the office of the CIO.
o Recommender engines can be used to help suggest statistically accurate actions for engineers to take across the organization.
o Predictive maintenance can play a huge role in assessing the health of an IT environment, and predicting when circuits, disk drives or compute cards may fail.
–x7 – Joint Force Development OR Education and Training OR Exercises and Training: The J-7 is responsible for the six functions of joint force development: Doctrine, Education, Concept Development & Experimentation, Training, Exercises and Lessons Learned. Typically, this part of the staff will be responsible for the training of the Soldiers/Airmen/Sailors/Marines and civilian workforce. 7 staff will have an important role in the development of AI across the organization, because they will be responsible for training all of the people within it.
· AI in education is nothing new, and most modern education has some sort of AI in the background. It will be important for the DoD to recognize this and implement several AI initiatives into the 7-Staff.
o AI can be used to create realistic non-player characters in virtual training environments.
o With a large part of modern learning being virtual, AI can help test and tailor curriculums to a learner’s needs and goals.
o Utilizing augmented and virtual reality, AI will create simulated environments for training in hands on military occupations from Infantry to Mechanic.
–x8 – Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate or Integration of Capabilities & Resources in some capacity. The J-8 Directorate is charged with providing support to CJCS for evaluating and developing force structure requirements. J-8 conducts joint, bilateral, and multilateral war games and interagency politico-military seminars and simulations. It develops, maintains, and improves the models, techniques, and capabilities used by the Joint Staff and combatant commands, to conduct studies and analyses for CJCS. This is where the rubber meets the road for making sure everything works together, and whatever service branch the staff is in can effectively conduct their mission. The Army describes the 8 staff as, “the Army’s lead for matching available resources to the defense strategy and the Army plan.” The 8-Staff usually hold the finance function of the organization as well.
· The 8-Staff have a variety of AI optimal roles from finance to running massive statistical analysis of optimized structure and outcomes. AI could further enable these capabilities, and let leadership know if the force is optimized.
o Within the comptrollers office, AI can help eliminate human error and decrease burden on accounting professionals, leaving humans to do more high value work.
o AI techniques can help construct the organizations portfolios based on more accurate risk and return forecasts, and more complex constraints.
o Predictive maintenance directly correlates to predictive combat power and asset optimization, and AI can assist the analytics needed to derive optimal outcomes for an organization.
-x9 – This could be anything depending on where you are. There is no 9 staff at the JCS. The Army uses the G9 for Installations. The Navy uses the N9 for warfare systems. USCYBERCOM uses the J9 for Advanced Concepts and Technologies and Technical Outreach. And the Air Force uses the A9 for Studies, Analysis, and Assessments.
· Because of the wide depth and breadth of the various x9 staffs out there, I will simply end by pointing to the wide variety of other use cases above.
Artificial intelligence holds tremendous promise for improvements across each of the Department of Defense’s Staff functions. Each staff function directly correlates to a business process that every single industry has a need for. And every single industry has been disrupted by AI. AI can affect positive change across all of the business functions of the DoD, and not just Robotics or ISR.
And again, the business functions of United States Department of Defense are ripe for massive technological disruption.
Reach out and message me if you would like to discuss any of these use cases further!Report this
Jon StresingAt the intersection of the AI and the DoD! — NVIDIA Account Manager – Army | DISA | JHUAPL | DLA — President, AFCEA Central Maryland Chapter Emerging LeadersPublished • 2w2 articles FollowingIn this article I break down the United States Department of Defense‘s J-Staff and discuss hashtag#AI use cases for each. I noticed Most of my AI discussions focus aorund operational activities, so I want to explore with my LinkedIn followers use cases outside of the typical use cases you hear of. As started putting my thoughts to paper around using AI for legitimate DoD business use cases I see form our civilian sector folks, it dawned on me that the DoD has all of these functions organized in a very consistent way across all services and echelons. I am hoping to spark a conversation around AI across all DoD functions, not just operations. I hope to get to get more DoD- employees thinking about how they can start in their sections today. This HAS been done before and YOU can do it! For folks unfamiliar with the J-Staff, i would like to introduce you to it. Please reference this document when they hear the word, “J1” or “S3.” Thank you to Steven Beynon and Eric M. Evans for giving me tips and some editing help. Thank you Lindy Riggs for further editing help and to make sure I was in compliance with the English language. And to Margaret Amori for giving me the last glance. I hope you all find this helpful and learn something new.! DISAArmy Futures CommandArmy Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6Army Artificial Intelligence Integration Center (AI2C)US ArmyUnited States Army Human Resources CommandU.S. Cyber CommandU.S. Army Cyber CommandThe Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryMITREhashtag#DODhashtag#AIhashtag#MLhashtag#AIArmyhashtag#JointStaffhashtag#Armyhashtag#Navyhashtag#AirForcehashtag#CoastGuardhashtag#MarineCorpshashtag#artificialintelligencehashtag#AIforGoodhashtag#Innovationhashtag#humanresourceshashtag#businessintelligencehashtag#Operationshashtag#Logisticshashtag#planningforsuccesshashtag#Traininghashtag#Structure