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New Report Calls for Prioritizing National Security in AI Development

Washington, DC – A new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), written in consultation with Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Robin Kelly (D-IL), argues that while the federal government has identified defense and intelligence as key areas for U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence, much work remains to put the nation on a path to large-scale development and deployment of AI tools in promoting national security.

The report, Artificial Intelligence and National Security, finds that a national AI strategy must employ strict export controls to prevent transfer of sensitive technologies to China and other competitors and must invest in the research and development of these technologies to ensure they are trustworthy and cutting-edge.

“American adversaries are investing in AI. In fact, President Vladimir Putin said whomever is the global leader in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world.’ We cannot allow Russia, China, or other adversaries to invest in AI as America stands on the sidelines. To protect our national security, we must invest in the research and development of AI across our security infrastructure. As a former undercover CIA officer, I learned that understanding the motivations of our adversaries are critical to our ability to contain and counteract them. We know Russia and China are investing in AI, we must do more,” said Hurd.

“Technological advances have always changed the way we defend ourselves. As artificial intelligence and associated technologies fundamentally reshape the 21st century battlefield, it’s vital that America remains on the cutting edge of this technological development and the application of appropriate ethics for the use of AI within the armed services and the intelligence community,” said Kelly, a member of the House National Security Oversight Subcommittee.

“Advances in artificial intelligence are already impacting our national and international security,” said BPC President Jason Grumet. “The United States must move aggressively to keep pace with our adversaries and competitors while adhering to the heightened standards of safety and trust that are required in a democracy. This report outlines critical steps to promote an open, stable international environment for scientific research while protecting critical technologies and national security.”

“Recognizing how important AI will be for the future of U.S. national security is the easy part; figuring out what to do about it is much harder. By tackling this issue on a bipartisan basis, this work has identified key areas for action. Now it’s up to Congress to act on them,” said Helen Toner, director of strategy at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

This report is part of a series on artificial intelligence issues that will be released in coming weeks. In preparing these studies, BPC and its partners worked with government officials, industry representatives, civil society advocates, and academics to better understand the range of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as AI technology comes into more widespread use.

The goal of BPC’s effort is to suggest concrete steps policymakers could take to advance responsible development of AI, building on the work done by the Obama and Trump administrations in recent years.