The National Security Agency Launches AI Security Center
Update: 29 september 2023
The National Security Agency (NSA) has announced the establishment of an artificial intelligence security center, acknowledging the growing importance of AI capabilities within the U.S. defense and intelligence systems. The center will be incorporated into the NSA’s existing Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, where it collaborates with both private industry and international partners to enhance the security of the U.S. defense-industrial base against threats linked to China and Russia.
Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, the outgoing director of the NSA, stressed the significance of the United States’ advantage in AI and cautioned against taking it for granted. Nakasone specifically highlighted the threat posed by Beijing. When asked about potential attempts by Russia or China to influence the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, Nakasone stated that they have not observed any such activity so far and emphasized the need to work with partners and allies to deter such efforts.
Regarding the use of AI for threat analysis and alerts, Nakasone reminded the audience that while AI assists in these processes, human decision-making remains crucial. The establishment of the AI security center follows an NSA study that identified securing AI models from theft and sabotage as a significant national security challenge, especially considering the potential for both positive and negative transformation associated with generative AI technologies.
The AI security center will serve as the NSA’s focal point for leveraging foreign intelligence insights, contributing to the development of best practices, guidelines, evaluation methodologies, and risk frameworks for both AI security and the secure development and adoption of AI within national security systems and the defense industrial base. It will collaborate closely with U.S. industry, national labs, academia, the Department of Defense, and international partners.
Nakasone will soon be succeeded by Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh as the leader of both the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command. This role encompasses both cyber-defense and offense, as well as the collection of signals intelligence through telecommunications surveillance.