FY 2020 Army Investment in Artificial Intelligence

Published: March 27, 2019

Federal Market AnalysisARMYBig DataBudgetInformation Technology

Army’s budget for AI-related investments is ramping up.

With the artificial intelligence hype cycle now going full throttle, Deltek’s GovWin Federal Market Analysis team has some numbers to add. Analysis of the Department of Defense’s Research, Development, Test, and Enhancement (RDT&E) and Procurement budget requests for FY 2020 reveals a total of more than $4.4B that the department plans to spend on programs with an artificial intelligence or machine learning component. The U.S. Army’s portion of this total is $648M, up significantly from the $606M that the Army budgeted for FY 2019. Many of these programs are new, with artificial intelligence and machine learning being making up substantial percentages of the work.

Army’s FY 2018-2020 AI R&D Budget

By the Army’s own reckoning its investment in AI and machine learning technology is ramping up. This trend points both to the increasing viability of the technology and the Army’s recognition that employing it can transform the nature of land warfare in the years to come.

Army’s Top 5 Largest AI-Related Programs by Budget

To that end, many of the Army’s programs investigating AI or machine learning combine the technology with robotic or other unmanned platforms to enable “smart” weapon systems. These systems use AI to augment human operators for multiple purposes, including targeting and navigation. Here are the five largest programs by requested budgets. Summaries of their basic requirements are below.

Information and Networking: This project supports basic research to enable intelligent and survivable command and control, communication, computing, and intelligence (C4I) systems. Intelligent systems for C4I research focuses on providing machine learning methods to overcome noisy, sparse and heterogeneous data with artificial intelligence algorithms that can transfer learning from one domain to another. Work in FY 2020 will enable joint decision making for intelligent agent-human teams.

Advanced Lethality and Accuracy Systems for Medium Caliber Machine Gun (ALAS-MC): This project matures and integrates next-generation 50mm weapon system technologies into a vehicle-agnostic combat turret using artificial intelligence / machine learning algorithms to enable aided target detection and recognition.

Crew Augmentation and Optimization Technology: This effort reduces crew sizes by exploiting human-interaction technologies, automation, machine intelligence, and customization.

Army Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Advanced Technology: This project supports the Army's Synthetic Training Environment, a comprehensive live-virtual-constructive architecture that will enable Soldiers to train anywhere. The STE distributed modeling and simulation environment integrates artificial intelligence enabled attributes.

Robotics and Mobile Energy: This project fosters basic research in propulsion, platform mechanics, and autonomous air and ground platforms to support Army modernization priorities for the Future Vertical Lift and Next Generation Combat Vehicles. Artificial intelligence and novel mobility mechanics will enable robotic systems to serve as productive human-machine teaming agents.

Projected spending in the out-years look strong as well. For more information please see Deltek FMA’s Federal Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2020 report.