Space Force Issues Temporary Ban on Generative AI Solutions

According to a Space Force memo dated September 29, Space Force Guardians are temporarily forbidden from using government data in generative AI solutions without prior official approval.

IBM describes Generative AI as programs “that can generate high-quality text, images, and other content based on the data they were trained on”—platforms such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Ask Sage, a model designed for government work by the Department of the Air Force’s former chief software officer Nicolas M. Chaillan.

In an interview with Air & Space Forces Magazine, Nicholas Chaillan, former Air Force chief software officer, was critical of Space Force’s move, explaining, “When people are banned from using government equipment and you’re banned from using your device (to access these platforms), it’s going to push people to use their personal device. People have created personal accounts on the platform, which creates more risk. All you’re doing when you do things like this, is the creation of more shadow IT and more cyber risk.”

Chaillan further claims that Ask Sage was developed on government clouds to fulfill cyber security prerequisites. Approximately 500 Guardians used the platform, with no reported security problems over the past six months, and there are 10,000 Ask Sage users throughout the Department of Defense.

Space Force says the temporary pause will be used to evaluate the best path forward, aligning this capability into the USSF mission that protects the data of our service and Guardians.

The issue becomes the same one at the center of global AI use. On one hand, those concerned want to take a step back and plan a logical and safe path forward, and on the other hand, Chaillan and others believe that delays will result in losing ground against China. Beijing has aspirations to lead in harnessing the power of generative artificial intelligence across military applications, reshaping the future of warfare.

To date, the Pentagon is silent about potentially building its own GenAI/LLM model, but recently announced the establishment of Task Force Lima, led by the DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office. This task force’s mission is to advance national security through GenAI in diverse areas of defense.

As to the temporary ban, the CTIO will accelerate the formulation and issuance of specific USSF guidance, possibly within 30 days of the memo.

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