October 03, 2023

Manchin, Rounds Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Advance Military’s AI Adoption and Data Collection

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, introduced bipartisan legislation to establish the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer’s (CDAO) Governing Council, which will be responsible for overseeing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) artificial intelligence (AI) priorities going forward. It also ensures that the CDAO has the authority to own any data the DoD collects for the purposes of maintaining our technological and strategic advantage over our adversaries. The legislation mirrors language that Senators Manchin and Rounds already secured in the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024.

“To maintain our strategic advantage, the United States military must be at the forefront of AI technologies,” said Senator Manchin. “This bipartisan legislation will take important steps to effectively develop and integrate AI into our defense systems. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense effort to ensure the Department of Defense capitalizes on the AI revolution and protects our competitive advantage over China and Russia.”

“Artificial Intelligence is changing the world as we know it,” said Senator Rounds. “As our near-peer competitors continue to improve their cyber capabilities, it is important we make sure our men and women in uniform are equipped with better tools and more resources than our adversaries. AI will be one of the main tools to make sure our service members are never in a fair fight and always have the upper hand. I am pleased to join Senator Manchin in securing language in this year’s NDAA to make certain AI is being fully used to provide for our national defense.”

This legislation would elevate membership of the CDAO Governing Council to the Under Secretary and Joint Staff leadership levels within the Pentagon and mandate that the Governing Council meet at minimum twice a year. It would also require the Governing Council to establish ethical guidelines for the use of AI in our military, protect access to military AI systems and the data that fuel them, create the opportunity to strategize with industry, and implement AI across the Services and Agencies within the DoD.

Both as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee through the 116th, 117th, and 118th Congresses, Senators Manchin and Rounds have engaged on a number of bipartisan cyber-focused priorities and notably held the first AI-focused hearing on May 3rd, 2022 with a follow up hearing earlier this year on April 19th, 2023.