UPDATED 20:14 EDT / OCTOBER 01 2023


New NSA center will oversee development and integration of AI capabilities

The U.S. National Security Agency has announced the creation of a new entity to oversee the development and integration of artificial intelligence capabilities within U.S. national security systems.

The new NSA AI Security Center has been designed to become a focal point for developing best practices for evaluating methodology and risk frameworks, with an aim to promote the secure adoption of AI capabilities across the national security and defense industries. The new center will also consolidate the NSA’s previous AI security-related activities in one place.

“The AI Security Center will become NSA’s focal point for leveraging foreign intelligence insights, contributing to the development of best practices, guidelines, principles, evaluation methodology and risk frameworks for AI security,” Army Gen. Paul Nakasone (pictured), director of the NSA, said at a National Press Club event in Washington, D.C., as reported by Defense One late last week. Nakasone also noted that the AI Center has an “end goal of promoting the secure development, integration and adoption of AI capabilities within our national security systems and our defense industrial base.”

In a statement from the Department of Defense, Nakasone provided further details behind the motivation for setting up the center, saying that “today, the U.S. leads in this critical area, but this lead should not be taken for granted.”

“Our adversaries, who have for decades used theft and exploitation of our intellectual property to advance their interests, will seek to co-opt our advances in AI and corrupt our application of it,” Nakasone explained.

The new AI Security will be part of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center and will set a clear path forward to address “both the opportunities and challenges of AI as industry rockets forward with innovation.”

“We must build a robust understanding of AI vulnerabilities, foreign intelligence threats to these AI systems and ways to encounter the threat in order to have AI security,” Nakasone added. “We must also ensure that malicious foreign actors can’t steal America’s innovative AI capabilities to do so.”

The threats from foreign intelligence are real, with the NSA warning on Sept. 27 that an alleged Chinese-linked hacking group is actively targeting and exploiting routers, particularly those from Cisco Systems Inc. The advisory claimed that BlackTech, also known as Palmerworm, Temp.Overboard, Circuit Panda and Radio Panda have demonstrated capabilities in modifying router firmware without detection.

Photo: Fort George G Meade/Flickr

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