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Chris Shank Leading SCO’s Mission to Shape the Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

SCO’s mission is to identify, analyze and prototype disruptive capabilities to create near-term operational effects in support of the Combatant Command’s most pressing challenges.

As the Director of SCO, Chris Shank’s mission is developing new and innovative ways to shape and counter emerging threats across all domains, bringing unexpected and game-changing capabilities to the Joint Force.

Shank brings many years of experience in government, military and commercial industry to the table and has served in a range of areas, including aerospace, defense, energy and research and development. In the bigger picture, Shank believes everyone has a part to play and SCO’s role is expected to be influential military and artificial intelligence specifically as the U.S. continues to expand its capabilities.

“The National Defense Strategy aims to restore America’s competitive military advantage with its three pillars: increasing Lethality, deepening our Alliances and Partnerships, and Reforming the Business of the Pentagon. Each of us have a role to play in performing at the ‘speed of relevance’ to achieve these advantages.

For SCO’s part, a large portion of our portfolio deals with the NDS technology focus areas of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. SCO contributes approximately ten percent of the DoD’s overall effort on Artificial Intelligence.”

In September, SCO identified programs where AI can be applied to assist with military operations. For instance, the office supports the U.S. Navy’s efforts to sustain fourth-generation fighter aircraft with technology under the Paladium initiative. A sub-project called Potomac Officers Club intends to implement a robotics platform for field maintainers to sustain and rebuild equipment parts. 

Shank has said nearly a third of the SCO’s projects cover machine learning, autonomous technology or AI and those projects are seeking to advance those prototypes into tools. According to Shank, “My job is to keep momentum going. What I am trying to do is take it from a startup organization to a long-term sustainable one.”

Chris Shank will be featured as a panelist for the Potomac Officers Club’s Artificial Intelligence Summit on February 13th. The event will focus on government AI programs and priorities, as well as what new initiatives lie on the horizon. 2019 Wash100 winners Dana Deasy and Anthony Robbins will be featured during the event at the Hilton-McLean in McLean, Va.

You can still register for the 2019 Artificial Intelligence Summit right here.

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