JAIC Mission Initiative in the Spotlight: Joint Information Warfare

  • By: The JAIC

Over the summer, the JAIC’s Cyber mission initiative transitioned to a broader mission set under the umbrella of Joint Information Warfare, expanding their lines of effort beyond cyber to include electronic warfare and information operations. The Joint Information Warfare mission initiative aims to improve the ability of the Department of Defense to integrate AI-enabled solutions and promote the use of data to support future operations in the information environment. To do this, the Joint Information Warfare team will utilize lessons learned from its early engagement in cyber initiatives and apply it to other areas of the information environment.

The 16th Air Force defines information warfare as “the employment of military capabilities in and through the information environment to deliberately affect adversary human and system behavior and preserve friendly freedom of action during cooperation, competition, and conflict. While any capability can be used to create an informational effect, the principal Air Force capabilities integrated and applied to achieve desired effects in the information environment are cyberspace operations; electronic warfare; information operations; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.”

Ultimately, the Joint Information Warfare mission initiative is looking to accelerate AI’s adoption into this space to assist the services, combatant commands, and the DoD’s enterprise by:

  • Rapidly developing and deploying AI/ML systems and analytics
  • Reducing the technical and cost-related barriers to AI/ML adoption in the domain
  • Prototyping and establishing candidate core data sets for developing new algorithms
  • Leading and collaborating in the development and publishing of data sharing and standardization policy, processes, and capabilities
Data forms the foundation of any technical environment, and given the speed of action in the information warfare space - timely, relevant, and useable data is critical. The Joint Information Warfare mission initiative is working diligently to transform the disparate data currently collected by the DoD into operationally applicable information for use by the Joint Force. Equally as important are the ethical considerations of the data used in creating Information Warfare tools, tactics, techniques and procedures. As capability development accelerates, the pace of engagement cycles compress, resulting in the more pronounced effects, which occur increasingly rapidly in a very responsive environment.

In August 2020, Joint Information Warfare welcomed a new Director – Colonel Pete Tortorici, USAF. “Our vision mirrors the JAIC’s vision and mission. We seek to transform information warfare through the adoption and integration of AI. Our goal is to identify the areas within each of our lines of effort where AI can achieve mission impact at scale. Over the last year our team has worked hard to address cyber capability gaps within the Joint community which AI can address,” said Tortorici.

Col Tortorici identifies Joint Information Warfare’s greatest challenge as the large scope of the mission space. Cyber, information operations, and electronic warfare each represent large Departmental disciplines. “Clearly understanding the needs of each community, and more importantly, identifying where AI can have mission impact is critical to our success,” he stated.

Internally, like any growing organization, obtaining and retaining talent is a top priority for Joint Information Warfare. Col Tortorici seeks the best and brightest to serve as change agents within the information warfare enterprise. “The standup of both information operations and electronic warfare lines of effort requires forward thinkers with the willingness to not only address the technical and architectural challenges of the DoD, but understand and navigate through current and emergent acquisition processes,” Col Tortorici explained.

Looking ahead, Joint Information Warfare will continue to partner with the Joint community, combatant commands, and services to develop a comprehensive, responsive, and flexible strategy to address critical needs across the Department’s information warfare landscape. Stay tuned to the “AI in Defense Blog” to learn more about the Joint Information Warfare mission initiative and its progress.