AI benefits/risks, Cyber veterans

National Security Agency to Open AI Security Center

Credit: Getty Images

The National Security Agency (NSA) is opening an artificial intelligence (AI) security center to oversee the development and integration of AI technology into U.S. security infrastructure.

U.S. Army General Paul Nakasone, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, NSA Director and Central Security Service Chief, said the AI Security Center will be part of the NSA’s Cyber Collaboration Center. He explained that it will serve as the hub for “developing best practices, evaluation methodology and risk frameworks.” It will also be tasked with promoting the secure adoption of new AI capabilities across national security and defense.

In addition to consolidating the NSA’s various artificial intelligence, security-related activities under one umbrella, the AI security center will “work closely” with private industry, national labs and academia across the Department of Defense (DoD) and select international partners, Nakasone said during a discussion hosted by the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Speaking of China and Russia's AI Abilities...

In a reference to China’s and Russia’s development of AI capabilities, Nakasone said the U.S. leads in this “critical area, but this lead should not be taken for granted.” AI will be “increasingly consequential, for national security, diplomatic and technological economic matters,” he said.

He added, "Our adversaries, who have for decades used theft and exploitation of our intellectual property to advance their interests will seek to co-opt our advances in AI and corrupt our application of it."

Recent Upgrades to National Cyber Defense Noted

Nakasone pointed to recent upgrades to U.S. national security, defense and intelligence that emphasized AI’s emerging influence.

  • In January, the (DoD) updated its 2012 directive that governs the responsible development of autonomous weapon systems to the standards aligned with the advances in AI.
  • In 2020, the department published its Responsible AI Strategy and Implementation Pathway, which promotes responsible stewardship of AI.
  • The U.S. has introduced a political declaration on the responsible military use of AI, which further seeks to codify norms for the responsible use of the technology.

Nakasone Stresses Urgency of AI Security

It is “imperative” that the NSA sets a clear path forward to address "both the opportunities and challenges of AI as industry rockets forward with innovation," Nakasone said. "AI security is about protecting AI systems from learning, doing and revealing the wrong thing.

“We must build a robust understanding of AI vulnerabilities foreign intelligence threats to these AI systems and ways to encounter the threat in order to have AI security. We must also ensure that malicious foreign actors can't steal America's innovative AI capabilities to do so."

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.