Government watchdog prepares to assess Pentagon’s revamped AI strategy

In early 2024, GAO officials will meet with multiple Defense Department teams and formally review the agency’s new plan for AI adoption.
(GAO photo)

In early 2024, government oversight officials will meet with multiple Defense Department teams and formally review the agency’s new Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Adoption Strategy — to ultimately assess whether it fulfills guidance they provided in a March 2022 report.

A watchdog study published last year urged DOD to improve its frameworks, inventory processes and official approaches for incorporating the powerful, still-maturing technology. 

“All seven recommendations [the Government Accountability Office] made in that report are open,” GAO’s Director for Defense Capabilities and Management Alissa Czyz told DefenseScoop this week. 

Soon though, “GAO will be analyzing the [Pentagon’s new, 2023 data and AI] strategy and discussing it with DOD officials from the [Chief Digital and AI Office], and other offices, as part of our recommendation follow-up efforts,” she explained. 


Czyz, who joined the watchdog agency in 2004, oversees GAO’s pursuits associated with strategic warfare, intelligence, and government-wide personnel vetting. 

She and her team recently completed a study that revealed challenges the Pentagon and its nascent CDAO are presently confronting with identifying and forecasting the military’s AI workforce. In that report, the oversight investigators noted that, as of November 2023, “DOD had not fully implemented” any of the recommendations that were made in their earlier review on the Pentagon and AI.

GAO officials discuss the broad impacts associated with the Pentagon not implementing the seven suggestions, in the 2022 review’s “Conclusion” section.

“For example, we note that Congress and DOD decision makers do not have complete information about the number of AI activities and investments that comprise DOD’s AI portfolio. We further note that by issuing guidance and agreements that define the roles and responsibilities of the military services and other DOD organizations for leadership and participants collaborating on AI activities, DOD can avoid unnecessary fragmentation, duplication, and overlap in the future as DOD organizations adopt and integrate AI technologies,” Czyz told DefenseScoop.

The Pentagon released its updated “Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Adoption Strategy” last month. The original guidance was first crafted in 2018 and then revised in 2021. 

Czyz noted this week that the forthcoming analysis of the DOD’s latest, revamped AI adoption strategy — which is happening “early in the new year” — could impact the status of GAO’s 2022 recommendations that remain open. 

Brandi Vincent

Written by Brandi Vincent

Brandi Vincent is DefenseScoop's Pentagon correspondent. She reports on emerging and disruptive technologies, and associated policies, impacting the Defense Department and its personnel. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Brandi produced a long-form documentary and worked as a journalist at Nextgov, Snapchat and NBC Network. She was named a 2021 Paul Miller Washington Fellow by the National Press Foundation and was awarded SIIA’s 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. Brandi grew up in Louisiana and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

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