GovCon Wire Events hosted Thursday its AI: Innovation in Homeland Security Forum, which brought together government and industry leaders to examine how national security agencies can leverage AI technology to combat foreign and domestic adversaries and threats.
Following a keynote address from DHS official John Cohen, GovCon Wire Events proceeded to the Forum’s panel discussion, featuring Anil Chaudhry of GSA and Dr. Timothy Persons of GAO who discussed how the public sector can incorporate private sector technology advancements and expertise to improve government operations and bolster homeland security efforts.
If you missed the event, check out GovCon Wire Events to watch the full AI: Innovation in Homeland Security Forum on-demand now.
The Forum’s expert panel was moderated by Cameron Chehreh, CTO and VP of engineering at Dell Technologies, who introduced the panel’s distinguished speakers and began by asking each speaker to identify and elaborate on the federal programs they see today that are transparently and innovatively leveraging AI technology.
Dr. Timothy Persons was the first panelist to take the virtual stage, and he opened by asserting that AI technology is here and is something federal agencies must not be afraid to integrate in homeland security initiatives as the cyber and physical worlds continue to fuse together.
“It’s not if AI, but how AI and how we do it together. How we manage risk and how we solve problems is going to be the key thing,” Dr. Persons stated.
Elaborating on federal programs that are integrating AI technology today, Dr. Persons discussed how AI is being utilized in wildfire containment efforts on the West coast, not as a replacement for humans, but as a tool they can use to computationally augment their capabilities in the field.
Additionally, Dr. Persons posited that these enhanced capabilities can help the Defense Logistics Agency manage their massive supply chain using robotic process automation to accelerate the regulation of mission-critical autonomous vehicles.
Moderator Cameron Chehreh concurred with Dr. Persons, stating that innovation in the federal government will occur when automation and AI technology can address lower value operations, enabling human officials to dedicate more time to engaging in higher cognitive decision-making processes.
Chehreh then introduced Anil Chaudhry, who elaborated on this point by explaining how chatbots and RPA are currently being used to improve benefits adjudication in customer service operations within federal agencies such as Transportation Security Administration.
Chaudhry said that by using chatbots to “front load” and address more simple, binary questions and operations, Homeland Security employees will have more freedom to focus on the more detailed cognitive work, elevating department capabilities.
Furthermore, Chaudhry reflected on keynote speaker John Cohen’s address and agreed that the federal government needs to leverage industry expertise and private sector practices to deliver greater digital experience benefits to the American public.
Chaudhry said public sector agencies are working to reflect what citizens have come to expect from commercial sector technology advancements and incorporate those technologies to improve government services.
He explained, “Part of our mandate within the Centers of Excellence is to help connect agencies to industries to leverage that private sector innovation and centralize some of those best practices and expertise, which results in sustained and holistic transformation.”