NSA creates AI center to combat cyber threats from new tech tools – Washington Times

The National Security Agency is getting an artificial intelligence makeover. 

Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, NSA director, said Thursday that the spy agency is forming a new unit to tackle AI cybersecurity challenges.

The NSA’s forthcoming AI Security Center will be the agency’s main hub for scrutinizing and testing AI to promote the safe design and adoption of AI tools for the national security community to use, he said. 

“The AI Security Center will also help industry understand the threats against their intellectual property and collaborate to help prevent and eradicate threats,” Gen. Nakasone said at the National Press Club. “The AI Security Center will work closely with U.S. industry, national labs, academia, across the IC and Department of Defense and select foreign partners.”

The new AI team will be housed within the NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, which America’s code-making and code-breaking spy agency uses to team with private companies to fight foreign cyber threats.

The Cybersecurity Collaboration Center enabled the NSA and private cyber analysts to stop known Chinese government hackers from breaching an entity in the U.S. defense industrial base last year, according to Gen. Nakasone. 

AI makers are increasingly worried about China and other foreign adversaries stealing their research and using it. 

Google DeepMind, the company’s AI research team, told House lawmakers at a private meeting in May it was rethinking how it publishes and shares its work over security concerns involving China.

Google was looking to make the AI research more closely held and feared China may use the information for military purposes, according to a source close to the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

As China and private enterprises work to get their hands on the latest AI technology, the U.S. intelligence community is preparing for a world where all of its spies use AI. 

America’s spy services have adopted an “AI-first” approach to spycraft and want everyone in their agencies to use AI, said Rachel Grunspan of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

As the leader overseeing how the intelligence community uses AI, Ms. Grunspan said in July she expects AI to be used for hybrid war games and simulations among many other things. 

“Anything that is getting AI in the hands of individual officers regardless of their job, regardless of their role, regardless of their background, technical or not, and just maximizing the capacity of the entire workforce,” Ms. Grunspan said at the Intelligence and National Security Summit. “That’s where I see us going.”

The precise AI tools the spies will use remains to be determined but Booz Allen Hamilton’s Patrick Biltgen said he foresaw the nearest-term application of AI being in the form of an assistant to all intelligence officers.

Mr. Biltgen, a contractor with U.S. agencies on AI projects, said at the July conference that he envisioned the AI assistant would resemble how the fictional character J.A.R.V.I.S. assists Tony Stark in the popular “Iron Man” movies.


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