Select Advanced Analytics Requirements in the Draft Fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act

Published: September 22, 2021

Federal Market AnalysisBig DataDEFENSEInformation TechnologyPolicy and Legislation

The House Committee on Armed Services published a conference report on the draft fiscal 2022 NDAA that contains a number of provisions relevant to the defense advanced analytics and artificial intelligence market.

Key Takeaways

  • Congress is urging the DOD to increase investment in advanced analytics for specific uses.
  • Some attention is devoted to efforts at the Joint AI Center, but scaling advanced analytics and artificial intelligence across the military departments is also considered a priority.
  • Focus areas for greater use of advanced analytics include logistics, predictive maintenance, mental health screening, and the transformation of business processes.

Every year, Congress goes through the torturous process of developing, reconciling, and passing a new National Defense Authorization Act. Each annual version of the act often provides industry with a peek into congressional and Department of Defense (DOD) technology priorities for the coming fiscal year. With the beginning of the new fiscal year only 9 days away as of today’s posting, it is worth looking at a few of the priorities in the draft version of the FY 2022 NDAA (H.R. 4350) that concern investment in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. The insights in this post come from the House Armed Services Committee’s Conference Report on the bill available here.

Data Analytics Driving On-Time Ship Maintenance Deliveries. The committee believes the Navy should leverage the Expeditionary Logistics (EXLOG)/Logistics Common Operating Picture (LOGCOP) tool created under the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research program to improve the tool and expand its use to other Regional Maintenance Centers. To that end, the committee directs the Secretary of the Navy by February 1, 2022, to prepare a brief to the Committee on the intent to expand these data analytic tools and techniques throughout the ship maintenance enterprise.

Observation – The Navy requested no FY 2022 budget for the Next Generation Logistics (NexLog)/Data Driven Logistics Autonomous Learning and Innovation Program that this NDAA directive refers to. Given legislative pressure, however, this may change.

Innovations in Suicide Prevention Efforts. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the Committee not later than March 1, 2022, concerning how the DOD and the military services are incorporating innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to identify individuals at-risk for suicide.

Observation – Although the Joint AI Center requested roughly $200M in funding for the Warfighter Health mission initiative in FY 2022, specific dollar amounts are not available for suicide prevention efforts. The Defense Health Agency (DHA), however, did request $7.3M for the Psychological Health and Resilience Program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) leveraging advanced data analysis capabilities to identify at-risk individuals.

Enhancing DOD Innovation Efforts Focused on Policy Analytics and Insights. Multiple innovation initiatives being developed within the DOD must be scaled up. To this end, the committee directs the Joint AI Center Director, in consultation with the DOD Chief Data Officer and the DOD Comptroller, to brief the Committee no later than February 1, 2022, on the current use of the GAMECHANGER AI-powered intelligent data discovery, analysis, and evaluation tool for unstructured policy data. Include information on use in the DOD, the potential need to transition it to a program of record, and efforts to identify and encourage similar programs across the defense enterprise.

Observation – While not an explicit admonishment to invest more in GAMECHANGER, expansion of the program across DOD could result in precisely that. The Joint AI Center notes in its FY 2022 budget request that its Business Process Transformation team will work with the DOD Comptroller’s Advanced Analytics (ADVANA) team, Data Insights Directorate, and Undersecretary Defense for Intelligence to test and integrate GAMECHANGER with multiple user groups. The JAIC did not provide a specific budget for the GAMECHANGER effort.