Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, Director of Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Named to 2020 Wash100 for Pushing AI Initiatives, Improving Recruitment

Jack Shanahan
Jack Shanahan

Executive Mosaic is honored to introduce U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, as an inductee into the 2020 edition of the Wash100 Award for leading the new agency as well as pushing for stronger AI initiatives and improving recruitment to test the technology’s capabilities.

This honor marks Shanahan’s second consecutive Wash100 Award win. He previously won for his efforts to his leadership in accelerating the implementation of artificial intelligence-driven tools and activities in the joint force.

During a forum with U.S. Naval War College students and instructors in December, Shanahan said the U.S. military needs national security professionals who can validate the benefits and limitations of AI.

“On the other side of the equation, we desperately need more people who grasp the societal implications of new technology, who are capable of looking at this new data-driven world through geopolitical, international relations, humanitarian and even philosophical lenses,” he added.

JAIC teamed up with the National Security Innovation Network in September to administer a three-day hackathon challenge – Into the Dataverse – aimed at using AI platforms in predictive aircraft maintenance.

"This hackathon brought together a diverse group of incredibly talented and innovative people who, in a very short time, developed and presented creative solutions to a challenging problem,” Shanahan said.

In addition, Shanahan discussed JAIC’s use of the commercial-first approach when it comes to AI initiatives.

“There will always be some parts of the department that are DoD unique, but as a starting point, because of the speed of development in commercial industry, because we know what they can bring to any problem, we start with commercial in almost every case, then figure out how to repurpose it to military requirements,” Shanahan told C4ISRNET.

When asked about what’s next on the center’s to-do list, Shanahan mentioned cyber, predictive health and smart automation. Shanahan has called on the Pentagon to invest in technologies to address the national security risk posed by deepfakes.

“We saw strong indications of how this could play out in the 2016 election, and we have every expectation that — if left unchecked — it will happen to us again,” he said during a panel at an AI conference hosted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in August 2019.

Shanahan said during a media briefing in August that calendar year 2020 will be a “breakout year” for DoD when it comes to deploying AI-based capabilities and noted that “AI for maneuver and fires” would be the center’s biggest priority in the coming fiscal year.

During the briefing, he also cited JAIC’s pursuit of the Joint Common Foundation, a platform designed to provide access to data, libraries, tools and environments to help AI and software engineers accelerate the development, testing and deployment of AI platforms to soldiers.

Executive Mosaic congratulates Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan on his 2020 Wash100 Award selection. He has established himself as a top executive in the government contracting sector through his efforts to push AI initiatives and recruitment for the future of U.S. national security.

About The Wash100

The Wash100 Award, now in its seventh year, recognizes the most influential executives in the GovCon industry as selected by the Executive Mosaic team in tandem with online nominations from the GovCon community. Representing the best of the private and public sector, the winners demonstrate superior leadership, innovation, reliability, achievement and vision.

Visit the Wash100 site to learn about the other 99 winners of the 2020 Wash100 Award. On the site, you can submit your 10 votes for the GovCon executives of consequence that you believe will have the most significant impact in 2020.

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