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Video Interview: NRO’s Aaron Weiner on How AI is Driving Intelligence Missions Forward

The global race for technological dominance is heating up, and the United States is targeting rapid technology innovation in what officials believe is a “decisive decade.”

Executive Mosaic spoke with Dr. Aaron Weiner, director of the advanced systems and technology directorate at the National Reconnaissance Office, to better understand how the NRO is looking at the great power competition, which technologies the agency is most interested in and where U.S. leaders are seeing opportunities for innovation.

In an exclusive video interview, Dr. Weiner said artificial intelligence is one of two technologies that will be game-changing for the great power competition and spur meaningful tech growth in the U.S.

“From an artificial intelligence or AI perspective, you look at ChatGPT — that’s been in the news quite a bit. I think what’s clear in the reporting is that we’re working through how to best incorporate these capabilities into a place in modern life,” Dr. Weiner told Executive Mosaic’s Summer Myatt.

“Best case, they allow us to pursue higher value-added activities at a faster pace, essentially with broader reach. But it’ll be a bumpy path to get there,” he continued.

Dr. Weiner shared that the NRO has been closely following these and other AI advancements over the years, and the technology holds great promise for future NRO capabilities and missions.

“There are significant advantages, we think, in maturing these technologies that will, for example, result in autonomous operation of our collection architectures. That would be a huge step forward,” Dr. Weiner said.

In the long-term, he shared that the NRO could use AI to automate satellite functions, perform limited decision making — or inferencing — and develop automated collection strategies.

Find out what Dr. Weiner listed as the number two emerging technology that is poised to make waves in the federal government in the near-term — watch his full video interview here.

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