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HAI Policy Briefs

March 2021

The Moment of Reckoning: AI and the Future of U.S. Intelligence

The U.S. Intelligence Community faces a moment of reckoning and AI lies at the heart of it. Since 9/11, America’s intelligence agencies have become hardwired to fight terrorism. Today’s threat landscape, however, is changing dramatically, with a resurgence of great power competition and the rise of cyber threats enabling states and non-state actors to spy, steal, disrupt, destroy, and deceive across vast distances — all without firing a shot.

Key Takeaways

Policy Brief March 2021

➜ The Intelligence Community (IC) faces a moment of reckoning. If the IC cannot adopt AI and other emerging technologies successfully, it risks failure.

➜ AI is critical to maintaining America’s decision advantage — helping intelligence agencies harness the explosion of open-source data with increased precision, speed, and analytic power to detect hidden and emerging patterns.

➜ AI’s promise lies in augmenting human intelligence collectors and analysts, not replacing them.

➜ The most important near- term steps are developing a comprehensive intelligence and technology strategy, establishing a new open-source intelligence agency, making it easier to recruit scientific and engineering talent, and bridging the divide between government, industry, and academia.

 

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