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The Department of Homeland Security will Use AI, Here’s How?

The Department of Homeland Security will Use AI, Here’s How?

With artificial intelligence becoming a household conversation starter across the country, it’s no wonder the technology has become a key part of operations for countless entities. It’s used in business, education, civic life, and elsewhere… including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. How is the US DHS using AI to promote the security of everyday Americans?

To fully understand the scope of their involvement with AI, it’s important to highlight the scope of the organization’s influence over other aspects of the federal government, including the following:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services 
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

Since all of these agencies fall under the purview of the DHS, it’s understandable that some of them would utilize AI to varying degrees. In 2024, the DHS issued an AI roadmap that explains how it will innovate with AI technology and machine learning to promote public well-being. AI is a bit of a controversial topic, and it brings with it no small number of concerns. However, the roadmap remains clear that the following will occur:

  • Responsibly leverage AI to advance Homeland Security missions while protecting individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties;
  • Promote Nationwide AI Safety and Security; and
  • Continue to lead in AI through strong cohesive partnerships

Essentially, you can boil this list down to the DHS finding ways to use AI without violating the constitutional protections afforded to citizens. It also hopes to build partnerships in the private sector to achieve this goal.

The roadmap also discusses some specific ways in which AI can be utilized by the DHS. They include the following:

  • Per the Executive Order, CISA completed an operational pilot using AI cybersecurity systems to detect and remediate vulnerabilities in critical United States Government software, systems, and networks.
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will use AI to enhance investigative processes focused on detecting fentanyl and increasing the efficiency of investigations related to combating child sexual exploitation.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deploy AI to help communities develop hazard mitigation plans that build resilience and minimize risks.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use AI to improve immigration officer training.

Since the DHS is part of the Executive Branch of the United States government, any initiatives involving AI must be approved by the President and other approved cabinet-level public servants.

It remains to be seen how AI will improve the efficiency of public safety programs. For now, it is vital that the government is as interested in using the technology to protect its citizenry as criminals are in leveraging these systems against it.

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