Larsen Commends DoD Decision to Adopt AI Ethics Recommendations

Feb 25, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper announced the Department of Defense (DoD) will adopt a series of ethical principles for artificial intelligence (AI). Last month, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, led a bipartisan letter to Secretary Esper urging the DoD to adopt the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) list of ethical principles.

“I am glad to see the Department of Defense adopt a list of ethical principles I pushed for,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “As AI continues to grow in sophistication, DoD must develop and deploy ethical AI systems to ensure the U.S. leads in critical emerging technologies, protects national security and stays competitive in the global market.”

In February 2019, the Joint AI Center (JAIC), the central hub for AI deployment across DoD, published its AI strategy, which focused on facilitating AI planning, policy governance, ethics, safety, cybersecurity and multilateral coordination. In October 2019, the DIB, a Pentagon advisory board aimed at bringing technological innovation and best practices to the U.S. military, published a set of recommendations for ethical principles for AI. The DIB recommended the DoD develop and deploy AI systems which are responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable and governable.

“The JAIC and DoD must now make the DIB’s ethics recommendations actionable to strengthen national security and help set responsible global norms for the use of AI,” said Larsen.

Larsen has been a leader on AI policy in Congress. Last year, Larsen successfully included a provision in the annual National Defense Authorization Act requiring DoD to develop an AI education strategy for servicemembers with an emphasis on ethical issues, bias and potential strengths and weaknesses of AI. He has called for robust federal investment in advanced and potentially disruptive new military technologies, including AI. Larsen has also publicly called for the U.S. to better educate and train a workforce with the skills necessary to compete in the global, 21st century economy.

To read the Larsen-led letter to Secretary Esper and view the full list of signatories, click here.

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