AI for everybody: JAIC unveils more initiatives to DOD bolster business systems

The JAIC released six new lines of effort that fall under its business transformation initiative to help reform the DOD's back-office tasks.
US Pentagon at sunset
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Leaders at the Department of Defense’s artificial intelligence hub have always said that its work would affect a wide range of issues in the military. A recent announcement shows that the team isn’t forgetting about technology that touches everyone at the DOD: the back-office applications that affect day-to-day business.

As part of what it’s calling the “year of AI delivery,” the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center  intends to field AI-enabled systems under its “Business Process Transformation” initiative. The work isn’t about deploying “killer robots” or whatever else might be in the public imagination, but it is intended to have an immediate impact, according to a blog post Thursday from the JAIC.

The initiative, which has six lines of effort from business administration to human capital management, seeks to leverage different forms of AI for different use cases across the different military services.

“The Business Process Transformation [mission initiative] is developing solutions for digital work streams that realize cost savings and increase productivity at scale,” The JAIC wrote in the blog post. The new systems are a part of the JAIC’s effort to field new tech, not only make policy about it.


Two robotic process automation (RPA)-based challenges the center is working focus on financial management systems and payroll. Pay-change requests remain stuck in backlogged systems the JAIC is looking to modernize. The JAIC wants to use RPAs to automate forms that process the addition of new children and marriage to a sailor or Marine’s personnel file to remove the work from a humans portfolio. For the Army’s financial management system, it needs machine learning to better guide the RPAs already in place.

Working with the Air Force, the AI center is trying to field “logic-based expert systems” to review memos for their compliance with Air Force writing style. Currently, memos need to be reviewed at every level of the chain of command before being advanced, a tedious process of grammatical review that automation could replace. Using AI instead of humans could speed up memo movement by 50 percent, according to the JAIC. Eventually, the center wants to add machine learning to direct where to send memos based on the text it is processing.

For the entire department, the JAIC wants to field natural language processing (NLP) that will search databases of policy memos to ensure new memos are non-redundant and don’t conflict with past policy. The NLP would turn unstructured text data into structured data that could be mined for redundancies or contradictions. The JAIC appears to have enough promise in the product that it is named “Policy Analysis Tool (Game Changer).”

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