Artificial Intelligence: US Air Force Uses AI In “Live Operational Kill Chain”

September 28, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The term kill chain is a military concept related to the structure of an attack – consisting of target identification, force dispatch to target, decision and order to attack the target, and finally the destruction of the target.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 20, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said artificial intelligence had helped to identify a target or targets in “a live operational kill chain.” (Air Force Magazine)

Kendall (pictured above) described the move as a part of his priority to invest in “meaningful military capabilities that project power and hold targets at risk anywhere in the world.”

Automated target recognition

In 2021, the Air Force’s chief architect’s office “deployed AI algorithms for the first time to a live operational kill chain” involving the Air Force’s multi-site Distributed Common Ground System and an air operations center “for automated target recognition,” Kendall revealed.

This was not an experiment, according to the Secretary, because the event represented “real military capability in the hands of operational warfighters.”

How it worked

“These AI algorithms were employed in operational intelligence toolchains, meaning integrated into the real-time operational intel production pipeline to assist intelligence professionals in the mission to provide more timely intelligence,” Air Force spokesperson Jacob N. Bailey told Air Force Magazine in an email.

“The algorithms are available at any [DCGS site] and via the [DCGS] to any [air operations center] whenever needed, so they’re not confined to a particular location.”

The new technology would cut out the manual intervention necessary in identifying targets, the Secretary said.

Furthermore, it would shorten the kill chain and accelerate decision making on the battlefield.

Related Story: The Pentagon Harnesses AI For “Days-Ahead” Outlook On World Events

Image Credit: US Air Force

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