Press Release
    Observing USMC’s AI-Readiness to Deliver Performance at the Speed of Relevance
    By: Lt. Col. Charon Camarasa, Health and Business Transformation, JAIC, U.S. Army Operations Research  |  

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA – To accelerate the adoption of automation in administrative processes , USMC Manpower & Reserve Affairs (M&RA) engaged in a strategic partnership with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) Business Process Transformation team to stand up a 60-day Tiger Team in late April 2021 to observe USMC’s current AI Readiness Posture.

The JAIC’s mission is to assist the services in moving further along the digital maturity curve, and to help amplify data-driven senior leader decision-making of talent and force management.

The team composition includes members from the JAIC’s Health & Business Transformation Mission Initiative, the Manpower Studies & Analysis branch (MPA) under Manpower Plans and Policy (MP) Division, alongside Manpower Information Systems (MI) Division. The combined team embarked on the 60-day AI-readiness posture assessment. To begin the assessment, the team developed a problem statement, lines of effort, milestones, and an operational maturity AI analysis matrix, identifying the current state, future state, and necessary steps to achieve mature AI in this area.

To review USMC’s in-house AI proficiency, the JAIC staff analyzed the cradle-to-grave process of the first Enhanced Shipping Model (ESM). The model is owned and built by M&RA OR analysts who pioneered the effort after the publication of the USMC Commandant's Planning Guidance in July 2019.

“The ESM improves the enlisted accession shipping methodology through a pull supply chain method similar to those used by industry partners like FedEx and United Airlines,” said Maj. Alex Ryan, an MPA OR analyst and developer of the first-time build model. Once the model is approved and deployed, it has the potential to reduce the average time Marines are awaiting training by over 50 percent. The results will lead to significant efficiencies and increase readiness by placing more Marines faster across the fleet or supporting establishment.

The success of the ESM and other in-house developed projects by MPA OR analysts emphasizes the importance of developing and retaining personnel with appropriate training and experience in AI and data science as well as providing appropriate data science toolsets to analysts, accelerating AI adoption servicewide.

“USMC OR analysts use advanced analytics, data science, simulations, statistical models, optimization, machine learning, and predictive analytics to help commanders make data-driven decisions,” said Maj.Robert Jankowski, counterpart to Ryan, who contributed to the model with his expertise and talent.

The ability to produce and retain AI specialized talent within each respective service branch is a prerequisite to success in adopting the use of AI across the DoD.

The JAIC & M&RA team will continue the collaborative efforts to help the USMC make solid progress in their journey to adopt AI across the enterprise.

“From the JAIC’s perspective, the partnership with the Marine Corps is absolutely essential. The JAIC and the Marines share some common trait characteristics. We are both nimble, agile and focused on capability delivery,” said Bryan Lane, deputy director of the JAIC’s Health & Business Transformation Mission Initiative.

The M&RA AI readiness assessment is scheduled for completion in mid-June. Findings from the Tiger Team’s analysis will aid stakeholders in implementing the best long-term solutions for unmatched success, scalability, and seamless integration of AI.

The JAIC plans to continue long-term partnerships and develop products to support AI integration and AI maturity servicewide. “We want to understand how the JAIC can provide critical enablers to help accelerate AI within the Marine Corps and use that as an example for others to follow,” added Lane.