FY 2020 Air Force Artificial Intelligence Investments

Published: April 18, 2019

Federal Market AnalysisUSAFBig DataBudgetInformation TechnologyResearch and Development

The Department of the Air Force is sustaining their proposed spending on Artificial Intelligence in their fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget.

Multiple entities across the Department of Defense have been pursuing the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other emerging technology solutions through their respective Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budgets. The Department of the Air Force, like the other military departments, has been pursuing the advancement of these and related technologies to increase warfighting capabilities, stretch manpower capacities and increase efficiencies.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the Air Force R&D Budget

The Department of the Air Force is proposing to spend roughly $500M in FY 2020 research dollars aimed at AI/ML efforts, which is consistent with what they are budgeting for FY 2019.

Several of the programs in the FY 2020 budget are new efforts, with artificial intelligence and machine learning being making up substantial percentages of the work, while the majority of the programs are efforts continued in the new budget.

Air Force’s Top 5 AI-Related Programs by Budget

The table below lists the five Air Force programs with the largest FY 2020 budgets that have an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning component that we could identify in the Air Force RDT&E budget requests, indicating that these efforts may likely include incremental or new work that could be available to industry if a contract for products or services is competed. The $342M represented in the table below accounts for more than 68% of the identified $500M in Air Force AI/ML budget shown above.

Summaries of the Air Force’s Top 5 AI Programs

  • Tech Transition Program – This program funds to demonstrate, prototype, and experiment with technologies and concepts to enable or accelerate their transition to acquisition programs and/or operational use. Experimentation campaigns explore concepts and enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, directed energy weapons and multi-domain operations.
  • Mathematics, Information and Life Sciences – This program funds basic research in the Mathematics, Information Sciences, and Life Sciences. Major areas being investigated are data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence, information and complex networks, cyber-security, autonomous decision making, dynamical systems, optimization and control, and natural materials and systems.
  • Sensor Fusion Technology – This project develops techniques to automate multi-sensor exploitation and information processing that leverage the data fusion, adaptive signal processing, and artificial intelligence / machine learning research communities. Synthesis for Understanding efforts will apply deep and machine learning techniques to the detection/tracking/identification of stationary and moving entities, and for pattern of life understanding.
  • Sensory Evaluation and Decision Science – This project conducts applied research in Battlespace Visualization by evaluating analytic strategies with machine learning techniques to achieve next-generation, automated, data exploitation capability, and develop visual interfaces to enhance task performance and decision making. It will develop and evaluate integration and tailoring of Explainable Artificial intelligence (XAI) analytic methods with analytic visual interfaces.
  • ISR Modernization & Automation Development (IMAD) – This program adapts large data sets into mission sets, allowing personnel to discover, manage, and analyze data and transform it into living intelligence. Kill Chain Automation applies new methodologies, advances automation and machine learning, ensures data is accessible and interoperable, and delivers decision advantage. Algorithmic Warfare encompasses efforts to develop, employ, or field artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision algorithms.

To gain more insight into the federal marketplace for Artificial Intelligence, check out Deltek Federal Market Analysis’s report, Federal Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2020.

Get a free report summary of Federal Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2020.