A hacking competition held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in August showed that automated cyber defenses are needed to protect Pentagon networks, the agency’s deputy director said Monday at ASC16. “What was clear after that competition is that cyber effects won’t be counted in months or days anymore … it’s going to be down to minutes and seconds,” Steven Walker said. “We’re not going to be able to defend our networks with lots and lots of people, we’re going to have to automate our defense and use machines to do that.” But Walker said he doesn’t believe humans will ever be taken completely out of the equation. He said DARPA is working on achieving a next, third wave of artificial intelligence that will allow machines to explain themselves to human users, increasing the possible levels of collaboration. “I think the future DOD, future warfighting, is going to look a lot more like less incredibly smart people working with more incredibly smart machines,” Walker said. “How those two things come together is going to define how we move forward.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.