Legislature calls for ‘Joint Autonomy Office’ within DOD CDAO to coordinate technology adoption

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Representative Rob Whitman visited Afghanistan with Task Force Quantico

U.S. Rep. Rob Whitman of Virginia (center) with Brig. Gen. Forrest Poole (right) at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Sept. 10, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Scott Jenkins)

Washington – A proposed joint autonomy department within the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) could help the department embrace and advance autonomous technologies. According to the Deputy Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

And when a new office is created in the CDAO, it raises the question of whether an organization will step up a year earlier and add to the bureaucracy within the department, or how much power the office will have. Republic Rob Whitman (R-Va.), said the office envisioned by the bill would act as a single place to guide how DoD uses its resources and autonomous technology efforts and policy.

“We’ve seen a move toward greater autonomy in the Pentagon than in the past. But again, the body of any large organization and bureaucracy is still very fragmented,” Whitman said He was speaking during a keynote address at the Applied Intuition Nexus 23 event today. “If we’re going to have unity and purpose, it has to be in one place … this draft allows that to happen.”

Autonomous Systems Adoption and Policy Act; Introduced By Whitman and Rep. Dutch Rapsberger, D-MD.On May 9, it seeks to establish a Joint Autonomy Office within CDAO to “accelerate the development and delivery of autonomous technology and programs for United States military operations.”

According to the bill, the office will specifically provide an all-domain autonomy test platform, a DoD-wide framework for classifying autonomy capabilities, and “planning, resourcing, and integration efforts to determine current and future autonomy capabilities.” Systems in DD.

Whitman said the legislation would help DoD ensure it is using autonomous technologies in the right way, rather than “just applying them in a spot treatment way.”

“We want to make sure it’s on the board,” he said. “Autonomy has great promise in many systems and we don’t want one branch of service to be limited in the way it sees autonomy … so this opens up a space for autonomy to have a broader application across the DoD. It also ensures that the questions that need to be asked in order to get the DD technology to where it is going… are asked face to face.

Speaking to reporters after his keynote speech, Whitman said the legislation was shaped by conversations with people at the Pentagon and industry, though he did not mention that he had spoken with current CDAO Craig Martell. Whitman added that the bill would be packaged with the annual National Defense Authorization Act. A CDAO spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the print-break defense.

“We’ve had some preliminary discussions with people to help shape the legislation, so I think they have a good idea of ​​what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I think [the joint autonomy office] It’s needed…and I know there’s that doubt that sometimes creeps in and says, ‘No…don’t worry about it, we’ve got it.’

“I think it should be higher,” he continued. “So I think it’s good to have somebody at the policy level in Congress saying, ‘No, we have to push the envelope on this because the status quo can’t do that.'”

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