In the rapidly accelerating field of artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned autonomous systems (UxS) development, the United States has maintained its technological edge over its peer and near-peer competitors. However, research and development (R&D) efforts in this field have largely been decentralized to date. While individual R&D organizations have made significant advances in AI and UxS, the decentralized approach within the Department of the Navy has created institutional barriers to even greater and more efficient advances, including bureaucratic impediments, reduced collaboration between researchers and those who would use the technology in the field, and an inability to rapidly leverage emerging technologies in some parts of the ecosystem.
In CSBA’s latest report, Delivering Advanced Unmanned Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence for Naval Superiority, former CSBA Federal Executive Fellow Captain Sharif H. Calfee makes the case for a Navy Autonomous Project Office to facilitate cooperation and unity of effort between the components of the U.S. Navy’s research and development ecosystem. The report draws upon interviews with over 145 subject-matter experts from over 50 different organizations, as well as 38 site visits to identify strengths and weaknesses within the current research and development ecosystem. Based upon these interviews as well as an understanding of similar successes within the U.S. Navy, Calfee lays out how such an office would be organized to make the best use of the ecosystem’s strengths.