Insight By Microsoft

New frontiers in military intelligence: Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the cloud

For the DoD, AI and machine learning in the cloud have the potential to do more than just basic back-office work.

Just over a year ago, the Defense Innovation Advisory Board approved 11 recommendations to help the Defense Department stay on the cutting edge around technology, culture, operations and processes.

The 15-member board said DoD must move toward innovation by doing several things, including embracing a culture of experimentation, catalyzing innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning; making computing and bandwidth abundant, and by increasing investment in new approaches to innovation.

Those suggestions, in many ways, serve as the basis for our conversation today.

DoD–and really every agency–must make computing and bandwidth abundant, generally through the cloud, while investing in AI and machine learning to improve speed to decisions and free up soldiers and civilians to do more complex work.

AI and machine learning in the cloud have the potential to do more than just basic back-office work.

DoD also sees potential of AI and machine learning on the battlefield, whether through unmanned vehicles or by crunching satellite data to better understand the threats and opportunities.

The Pentagon also sees potential in AI and machine learning in areas such as cyber defense and electronic warfare.



What Cloud Can Do

For us, we didn’t start with an artificial intelligence solution in search of a problem. Our problem was given to us in the form of an avalanche or tsunami of data, in this case the amount of data coming from full motion video from unmanned aerial systems.


The Tactical Edge

We look at the importance of the intelligent edge that is allowing the user to have access to artificial intelligence in that tactical system, in that sensor, and that’s what will really is going to make a difference in warfare and that’s where a lot of the projects are starting to focus today.


Automation and AI Integration

A really turn of focus in DoD and in this space where before cloud was an IT conversation. We really are seeing it being pulled into the mission side and looking at what kind of mission outcomes we can get from the cloud infrastructure and data analytics.


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Panel of experts

  • Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan

    Director for Defense Intelligence Warfighter Support, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Department of Defense

  • Margie Palmieri

    Director, Digital Warfare Office, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

  • Andrew Mansfield

    Technical Director, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic

  • Leigh Madden

    General Manager of Defense, Microsoft

  • Jason Miller

    Executive Editor,