US Moves to Guard Edge in Artificial Intelligence

NSA director says security center will help protect current international advantage in the technology
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2023 6:30 PM CDT
US Moves to Guard Edge in Artificial Intelligence
Gen. Paul Nakasone testifies in March on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The National Security Agency is starting an artificial intelligence security center—a crucial mission as AI capabilities are increasingly acquired, developed, and integrated into US defense and intelligence systems, the agency's outgoing director announced Thursday. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone said the center would be incorporated into the NSA's Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, where it works with private industry and international partners to harden the US defense-industrial base against threats from adversaries led by China and Russia, the AP reports. "We maintain an advantage in AI in the United States today. That AI advantage should not be taken for granted," Nakasone said at the National Press Club, emphasizing the threat from China in particular.

Asked if the US has detected either Russia or China trying to influence the 2024 US presidential elections, Nakasone said, "We haven't seen that yet." He noted that a number of elections will take place around the world before that and that the US would work with partners and allies to help deter any such efforts. China has in recent months stepped up cyber operations focused on US and allied institutions that may include pre-positioning malware designed to disrupt military communications, cybersecurity researchers say. On Thursday, the US and Japan issued an alert saying Chinese hackers were targeting government, industrial, telecommunications, and other entities that support their militaries.

Nakasone was asked about using AI to automate the analysis of threat vectors and red-flag alerts—and he reminded the audience that US intelligence and defense agencies already use AI. "AI helps us, but our decisions are made by humans," he said. Nakasone is to be succeeded as dual leader of the NSA and Cyber Command by Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, his current deputy, per the AP. The job puts one individual in charge of both US cyber-defense and offense as well as the gathering of what is known as signals intelligence through telecommunications surveillance. Nakasone has led both organizations since May 2018.

(More artificial intelligence stories.)

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