2020 Spring Symposium: Building an AI Powered IC Event Recap

2020 Spring Symposium: Building an AI Powered IC Event Recap

2020 Spring Symposium: Building an AI Powered IC Event Recap

It was standing room only for INSA's Spring Symposium: Building an AI Powered Intelligence Community on March 4 at the INSA/NRECA Conference Center. The energy was palpable from the minute the networking breakfast began, and carried on throughout the day, which was full of good discussion, collaboration, and valuable insights.

Be sure to view event photos on our Flickr page and keep scrolling to see what the media is saying about all that was covered at this full day program! 

Program Recap

Morning Keynote:
Hon. Katharina McFarland, Commissioner, National Security Commission on AI

Ms. McFarland described the Commission's work to date, including the seven consensus principles on which the commission hopes to focus the discussion about AI and National Security (1. Global Leadership in AI Technology is a Matter of National Security; 2. Adopting AI for Defense and Security is an Urgent Priority; 3. Private Sector and Government Share Responsibility for our Nation's Future; 4. People Matter More than Ever in an AI Competition; 5. Protecting our Most Valuable Assets and Ideas Must Not Come at the Expense of Free  Inquiry and Innovation; 6. Ethical and Trustworthy AI is a Strategic and Operational Necessity; and 7. Any Use of AI by the U.S. Must Have American Values, including Rule of Law at its Core), trend lines of concern, and the five "Lines of Effort" for the U.S. government.

A View from Capitol Hill

Panelists discussed AI strategy, funding, and privacy and ethical considerations. Mulopulos shared how the Senate AI Caucus was founded and its quick pace of legislative activity, noting "Since May, we have introduced six pieces of legislation on AI, three of which became law in the NDAA." Sokolov and Bergin emphasized the need for more R&D investment. Said Bergin, "There is absolutely no investment happening at (DHS) S&T for AI in a meaningful way." She does not believe DHS is adequately leveraging access to the national labs. "There is a lot of nudging Congress can do in terms of putting their thumb on the scale and directing DHS and other agencies across the board to investing more." When discussing competition with China, Sokolov shared the importance of U.S. leadership in trustworthy AI. "China will have certain advantages over us. But we are the ones that can lead with trustworthy AI...and we are the ones who can help set global standards."


  • Sam Mulopulos, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Portman
  • Dahlia Sokolov, Staff Director, Subcommittee on Research & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Moira Bergin, Subcommittee Staff Director, House Homeland Committee
  • Gopal Ratnam, Technology Reporter, CQ/Roll Call (moderator) 

Presentation: AI Principles

Ben Huebner, Chief of ODNI's Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency Office

Mr. Huebner provided a brief presentation on ODNI's work to establish guidelines for the use of new AI tools and technologies. He noted there would be few surprises and that “fundamentally, there’s a lot of consensus here.” Huebner said ODNI worked closely with the DoD's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center on the guidance. 

AI Applications in the IC

Panelists detailed how they approach AI research and development. Conversation included ODNI noting the importance of people having the resources and policies to get work done and that this information gets "down to the working level." Nand Mulchandani discussed the venture capital approach used at the JAIC, which includes assigning product managers to teams. Dr. Stakenas noted his biggest concern is his workforce, "what I really need is the talent to turn the algorithms and data we have into the big insights our customers need."   


  • Dr. John Beieler, Director for Science & Technology, ODNI 
  • Nand Mulchandani, CTO, DoD Joint AI Center (JAIC)
  • Dr. Adam Cardinal-Stakenas, Chief, Data Science Research Division, NSA 
  • David Scavo, Solutions Engineering Manager, Orbital Insight
  • Afzal Upal, Chair, Dept. of Computing and Information Science, Mercyhurst University
  • Erin Hawley, Vice President, Public Sector, DataRobot (moderator)


Afternoon Keynote

Dean Souleles, Chief Technology Advisor and Director of the Augmenting Intelligence-Using Machines Innovation Hub (AIM), ODNI

Drawing from his personal experiences, Mr. Souleles described how the government can learn from industry, consumers, and the world economy to make sure their AI capabilities service national security priorities.

AI Workforce & Training

Speakers discussed what it takes to attract, retain, and train an AI-capable workforce. Zach Arnold noted "there is a fierce global competition for talent, especially talent at the high-end." He said CSET estimates that approximately 50% of the AI workforce in the United States are non-U.S. citizens. Regarding skill sets, Dr. Brothers identified adaptability as a key trait for the future workforce, considering how quickly technology changes. "It's not just the technical core competencies. It's how well can you collaborate and how well can you adapt." Kenneth Ball noted how academia sees "industry 4.0" and the convergence of different fields (i.e. computer science, liberal arts, engineering) as being key to producing the next wave of economic prosperity. 


  • Zach Arnold, Research Fellow, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University
  • Kenneth Ball, Dean, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University
  • Dr. Reginald Brothers, CTO, Peraton
  • Patrick Tucker, Technology Reporter, Defense One (moderator)

Use of AI for Cybersecurity

Speakers noted the growing use of AI "changes and expands the threat space." Said McKay, "If your adversary is using AI and you are not, they are probably going to be successful." Martin Stanley shared that at CISA "looking across our portfolio to make determinations as to what criteria we should use in order to decide what use cases we should apply artificial intelligence." The panelists recognized that privacy and safety are top priorities, and each shared their opinion on the best approach to combating adversaries who are using AI while still protecting civil liberties.  


  • Martin Stanley, Senior Technical Advisor, Office of the CTO, Department of Homeland Security, CISA
  • Raffael Marty, Vice President of Research and Intelligence, Forcepoint
  • Angela McKay, Senior Director, Cybersecurity Strategy & Policy, Microsoft
  • Dr. Daniel Tauritz, Associate Professor and Chief Cyber AI Strategist, Auburn University Cyber Research Center (moderator)
We thoroughly enjoyed this full day of discussion, collaboration, and networking! It could not have been a success without the support and participation of our sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Thank you to everyone who made this event possible! 
Visit our Flickr page to see more photos from the event.


Selection of Media Coverage: 

"Despite Consensus with DOD, ODNI Moving Ahead with Its Own AI Principles" (by Jory Heckmen, Federal News Network)

"Pentagon's AI Shop Takes Venture Capital Approach to Funding Tech" (by Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne)

"The Intelligence Community is Developing its Own AI Ethics" (by Nathan Strout, C4ISRNET)

"No Really - What's AI" (by Raffael Marty, SecurityBoulevard.com )

"Intel Community Eyes AI Governance Framework" (by Brenda Marie Rivers, ExecutiveGov.com)

Event Sponsors

Caroline Henry

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