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Office of the Director of National Intelligence Sponsors SEI to Lead National AI Engineering Initiative

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Sponsors SEI to Lead National AI Engineering Initiative
Press Release

Pittsburgh, Pa., October 14, 2020—The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University, with funding and guidance from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), will lead a national initiative to advance the discipline of artificial intelligence (AI) engineering for defense and national security. As the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) increasingly invest in AI, they have prioritized safe, ethical, and secure solutions. Current AI solutions, which are often speedily deployed and difficult to replicate, verify, and validate, could lead to a landscape far from the DoD’s vision. With the sponsorship of ODNI, the SEI will establish and lead an AI Engineering Initiative that will guide the development of a multi-year research and development roadmap and develop capabilities based on partners’ core competencies.

ODNI and the SEI initiated this effort in response to a growing call for an engineering discipline for AI. An engineering discipline will provide the ability to thoughtfully develop, integrate, and evolve AI solutions with a focus on safety, security, robustness, reliability, resiliency, and ethics. Recent reports have highlighted the need for AI engineering, including the Defense Innovation Board’s AI Principles report, which recommended an effort to “cultivate and grow the field of AI engineering.” The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence specifically referenced this ODNI–SEI effort in its Second Quarter 2020 Recommendations, saying that this work will benefit the creation of an AI testing framework.

The SEI will work closely with ODNI and partners in AI engineering in evolving an AI engineering discipline to establish and lead a research strategy working toward DoD and IC priorities. “We are leading a movement to advance this discipline in support of defense and national security,” said Matt Gaston, the director of the SEI’s Emerging Technology Center. “Our effort with ODNI will bring together organizations and experts working in AI engineering to achieve the goals of scalable, robust and secure, and human-centered AI.” In support of this strategy, the initiative will conduct research and development activities such as creating tools, practices, processes, and methods.

Any organization interested in advancing an AI engineering discipline to develop AI systems that are more secure, scalable, safe, resilient, and ethical, should contact the SEI to learn more about how to participate: