DOD launches platform to educate workforce on AI basics

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The new program will provide DOD’s civilian and military personnel with access to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology service that consists of “bite-sized learning assets” on AI tools and other technologies.

The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office announced the launch of a new initiative on Thursday to provide Defense Department personnel with resources about artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. 

The new platform will provide all members of DOD’s military and civilian workforces with access to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Horizon platform. 

The department said in a press release that the online resource “consists of bite-sized learning assets” on AI tools and other technologies, including cybersecurity, 5G, edge computing and the internet of things. 

Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer Craig Martell said the goal of the “Digital On-Demand” effort is to “foster a baseline understanding of AI systems and other emerging technologies” across the Pentagon. 

"This resource demonstrates to the DOD workforce how they fit into the future of these advancements and further enables their adoption throughout the department,” he added. 

Thursday’s launch follows a DOD "101-training program" pilot in August 2022 for roughly 1,200 employees to enhance their knowledge of emerging technologies. The Pentagon said 91% of the pilot’s respondents “found that the content broadened their understanding of AI,” with 97% also saying it was relevant to their role. 

DOD followed the pilot up with a soft launch of the Digital On-Demand platform earlier this summer with personnel from U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command.

The platform is accessible through Digital University, a joint venture of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force that provides access to training content for personnel. DOD employees and personnel with a “.mil” email account can create a Digital University account to access the MIT Horizon platform.