The Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy

Strategies and Action Plans

The Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy aims to integrate AI technologies within the defence framework to enhance operational and corporate capabilities. Recognising the transformative power of AI, the strategy envisions a fully AI-enabled organisation by 2030. This vision aligns with broader goals of digital transformation and modernisation within the DND/CAF, ensuring that Canada remains at the forefront of defence technology alongside its global allies.

Background and Context

AI has become a ubiquitous part of daily life, significantly impacting various sectors, including defence. From facial recognition on smartphones to advanced machine learning algorithms in military applications, AI is reshaping how operations are conducted and managed. The convergence of AI with other emerging technologies like quantum computing underscores the urgent need for rapid adoption to maintain operational superiority and national security.

Strategic Objectives

The AI Strategy is designed to:

  1. Enhance Operational Capabilities: By integrating AI, DND/CAF aims to improve decision-making, situational awareness, targeting, and logistics. AI technologies will automate repetitive tasks, allowing personnel to focus on more complex and strategic activities.
  2. Promote Ethical and Responsible AI Use: Ensuring the ethical, inclusive, and safe deployment of AI is paramount. The strategy emphasises the development and implementation of AI in accordance with Canadian and international laws, focusing on transparency, accountability, and inclusivity.
  3. Foster Innovation and Collaboration: Building a robust AI ecosystem involves partnering with industry, academia, and international allies. This collaborative approach aims to accelerate AI research and development, ensuring interoperability and shared technological advancements.
  4. Develop AI Talent and Skills: The strategy highlights the importance of cultivating a workforce proficient in AI technologies. This includes training existing personnel, recruiting new talent, and fostering an environment that supports continuous learning and innovation.
  5. Implement Robust Governance: Effective governance structures are essential for overseeing AI initiatives. The strategy outlines the creation of the DND/CAF AI Centre (DCAIC) as a hub for AI expertise, ensuring coordinated and secure AI adoption across the organisation.

Implementation Approach

The strategy outlines five key lines of effort to guide the implementation process:

  1. Fielding and Employing AI Capabilities: Developing and deploying AI tools to enhance both operational and corporate functions, prioritising initiatives that align with departmental goals.
  2. Change Management: Embracing digital transformation and fostering a culture that supports innovation, risk-taking, and horisontal collaboration across different commands and environments.
  3. Ethics, Safety, and Trust: Establishing comprehensive ethical guidelines and risk frameworks to ensure AI systems are developed and used responsibly, mitigating potential harms and biases.
  4. Talent and Training: Identifying and addressing AI skill gaps within the workforce, providing targeted training programs, and creating pathways for professional development and retention of AI experts.
  5. Partnerships: Strengthening collaboration with domestic and international partners to leverage external expertise and innovations, ensuring the interoperability of AI systems with those of allied nations.

The AI Strategy lays out the vision for the adoption and implementation of AI and related algorithmic
technologies within the Defence Team, and five lines of effort to achieve that vision. These goals are needed to set the forward direction, to align expectations for DND/CAF at the enterprise level, and cohere thought, effort, and purpose towards this common goal.