National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Submits Second Quarter Recommendations to Congress


WASHINGTON, DC – The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) submitted its second-quarter recommendations to the President and Congress today. Commissioners deliberated on and approved the recommendations via a virtual, public plenary on Monday, July 20th, 2020. The plenary was held virtually due to the in-person meeting restrictions associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The final set of recommendations are available here.

NSCAI Vice Chair Robert Work said, “The Commissioners are all of the same mind that the U.S. government has to organize, resource and train to understand and employ AI-enabled technologies. It will affect our economic competitiveness, it will affect our national security competitiveness, it will improve the lives of our citizens. And we want to do all those things ethically, responsibly and in close partnership with private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and international partners. And we believe these recommendations will advance all these efforts.”

The Commission reviewed and approved 35 recommendations for both the Executive and Legislative branches. The recommendations fall into six areas:

  • Advance the Department of Defense’s internal AI research and development capabilities by equipping the DoD enterprise with necessary resources, tools and infrastructure; investing in test and evaluation, verification, and validation; optimizing the transition of breakthroughs from the laboratories to the field; and unlocking innovation at the defense laboratories through partnerships.
  • Establish a strategic approach for identifying, resourcing, and ultimately fielding AI-enabled applications that address clear operational challenges; create mechanisms for tactical experimentation to ensure technical capabilities meet mission and operator needs; and provide paths to accelerate adoption of business AI applications essential to institutional agility.
  • Expand the scale of the government’s efforts to train and recruit technically skilled people by expanding Scholarship for Service programs, creating a National Reserve Digital Corps, and establishing a U.S. Digital Service Academy.
  • Consider and implement new controls to protect U.S. emerging technology across three categories to include enhancing capacity to carry out effective technology protection policies, applying export controls to AI, and focus CFIUS on preventing the transfer of technologies that create national security risks.
  • Improve the Department of State’s infrastructure for the era of great power competition by reorienting diplomacy around AI.
  • Recommend departments and agencies implement a robust approach for the ethical and responsible development and fielding of AI using a Key Considerations paradigm.

Commissioner Dr. Eric Horvitz said of the second-quarter recommendations, “As we stated in our Interim Report, defense and national security agencies must develop and field AI in a responsible, trusted, and ethical manner to sustain public support, maximize operational effectiveness, maintain the integrity of the profession of arms, strengthen international cooperation and alliances, and preserve democratic values and the rule of law. This quarter, we focused on moving from high-level principles to providing agencies with more concrete guidance on developing and fielding AI technologies in a responsible and ethical manner.”

The Commission is an independent federal entity, and its goal is to complement and strengthen ongoing AI-related efforts in the Executive Branch and Congress, while also making additional recommendations to integrate artificial intelligence into national security programs. The Commission and its staff have received numerous classified and unclassified briefings since the Commission began work in March 2019 and they will continue to reach out to academia, industry, non-profits, associations, government, and others to gather information and formulate recommendations for the final report.

The full list of recommendations and materials related to the recommendations are available on the Commission’s website here.