As artificial intelligence becomes a priority for national security, the Intelligence Community must ensure that it invests in proper oversight, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community said.
“Maintaining American leadership in AI and shaping the global evolution of AI in a manner consistent with our nation’s values, policies, and priorities have become national security issues,” Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael K. Atkinson stated in his semi-annual report to Congress. “For intelligence oversight authorities to remain effective, there will need to be sufficient focus on and investments in oversight of AI in the Intelligence Community. “
For Atkinson, the lack of investments being directed toward developing oversight for AI usage is a major concern.
“Although publicly available reports refer to planned investments of hundreds of millions of dollars in AI for the national security enterprise, there is little indication that investments in oversight of AI are currently a high priority,” said Atkinson. “Investment asymmetry between mission performance and intelligence oversight in AI efforts could lead to an accountability deficit.”
Atkinson does point to a few recent Intelligence Community documents that show oversight is valued by leadership. The president’s executive order on AI states that America must foster public trust in AI while protecting civil liberties and privacy in AI applications. And for the first time, Director of National Intelligence’s National Intelligence Strategy highlights the need for the Intelligence Community to safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens.
Still, the inspector general worries that those generalities are not sufficient, and recommends that the Intelligence Community develop a more concrete and transparent path forward for AI oversight. A failure to provide adequate oversight could lead to a lack of trust in the Intelligence Community, Atkinson argued.
Oversight of the Intelligence Community’s use of AI is the main focus to Atkinson’s introduction to the report, which was released May 30, and he includes it as one of his office’s five programmatic objectives.
Atkinson’s office is making efforts to address the deficit. According to the report, they have brought in AI experts to speak about the issue of oversight with the inspectors general of the various agencies within the Intelligence Community and have provided briefings to both the Director of National Intelligence and Congressional oversight committees.
Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.