DSTL partners with U.S. on ML support for armed forces

It has announced a partnership with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to jointly develop, train, and deploy machine learning (ML) algorithms for the armed forces of both nations.

In the words of the UK organisation, the research is intended to “support adjacent collaborating US and UK brigades with enduring wide-area situational awareness”.

The picture above was taken at a dual in-person and virtual demonstration – hosted jointly at DSTL’s site near Salisbury and AFRL’s Information Directorate in Rome, New York – on Monday, 18 October 2021.

It sought to showcase the ability to share data and algorithms through a common development and deployment platform.


The demo involved five automated ML workflows for training and retraining models based on mission needs.

Specifically, it combined the UK’s Model Cards – to enable a commander to quickly understand, explore, and select appropriate machine learning (ML) models to deploy in mission – and the U.S. StreamlinedML – a government-owned, extensible open platform to quickly build ML workflows, train and evaluate ML models, and deploy them regardless of the source or ML software stack use. The idea is to be able to use “best of breed ML technology”, whether from commercial, academia or government sources.

“The October 18 event demonstrated how the UK and US can integrate AI technology to create the first end-to-end machine learning research, development, and deployment ecosystem, enabling rapid data sharing, algorithm development, evaluation, and deployment,” said Dr Lee M Seversky, AFRL lead for the demonstration and the US Project Agreement. “AI will play a critical role in accelerating decision making to meet the pace and scale of the future battlespace.”


It was the first of a series of events to be hosted by the joint and international signatories of the Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (AAIC) Partnership Agreement.

“This collaboration with AFRL and the US services is crucial to drive the very latest AI technology into military operations and innovative research in both nations,” said DSTL’s Todd Robinson, who leads the UK element to the project. “The demonstration is just the first step toward our ambition of deploying novel AI that can learn in the field into an experimental trial environment, something that hasn’t been done before and is only possible due to this collaboration.”

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