The service already has, in varying stages of completion, unmanned vehicles in the air, under the sea and on the surface. The warfighting value for these platforms is clear, the Navy said.
"Traditionally in the Department of the Navy the focus is on the warfighting mission, and rightfully so, but maybe not so much on the support side," Bob Kozloski, deputy director of Task Force Innovation and deputy chief of the Office of Strategy and Innovation, told USNI News.
As for how AI and robotics fit into some of the operational support functions or even management:
"The DON could benefit from considering how to adapt recent private sector advances in fields such as machine learning, natural language processing, ontological engineering, and automated planning for naval applications," Kozloski said in a memo released by his office on June 5.
ONR director of research Lawrence Schuette told USNI News that the Navy’s top brass is signaling to more heavily leverage what the Office of Naval Research is already doing. He added that the Navy already has invested in some of the companies working on AI and robotics.
"A Google car drives well on a crowded busy street, but will it run off-road in shifting conditions with vehicle failures but yet must continue, which is really where the DoD environment’s going to go?" Schuette was quoted as saying by USNI News.
On Monday, the Navy’s crowdsourcing website, Hatch, began a 30-day campaign to solicit ideas from sailors, Kozloski said. The top ideas will be forwarded to a study group, which will analyze the ideas and report back to the Navy secretary by the end of the calendar year.