DHS establishes AI Safety and Security Board to protect critical infrastructure

The Department of Homeland Security announced the establishment of the Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board (the Board). The Board will advise the Secretary, the critical infrastructure community, other private sector stakeholders, and the broader public on the safe and secure development and deployment of AI technology in nation’s critical infrastructure.

AI Safety Security Board

The Board will develop recommendations to help critical infrastructure stakeholders, such as transportation service providers, pipeline and power grid operators, and internet service providers, more responsibly leverage AI technologies. It will also develop recommendations to prevent and prepare for AI-related disruptions to critical services that impact national or economic security, public health, or safety.

President Biden directed Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas to establish the Board, which includes 22 representatives from a range of sectors, including software and hardware companies, critical infrastructure operators, public officials, the civil rights community, and academia.

DHS is responsible for the overall security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure, which hundreds of millions of Americans rely on every day to light their homes, conduct business, exchange information, and put food on the table. Critical infrastructure encompasses sixteen sectors of American industry, including our defense, energy, agriculture, transportation, and internet technology sectors.

The Board will advise DHS on ensuring the safe and responsible deployment of AI technology in these sectors in the years to come, and it will look to address threats posed by this technology to these vital services.

“Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology that can advance our national interests in unprecedented ways. At the same time, it presents real risks— risks that we can mitigate by adopting best practices and taking other studied, concrete actions,” said Secretary Mayorkas.

“I am grateful that such accomplished leaders are dedicating their time and expertise to the Board to help ensure our nation’s critical infrastructure—the vital services upon which Americans rely every day—effectively guards against the risks and realizes the enormous potential of this transformative technology,” Mayorkas continued.

Secretary Mayorkas selected these experts to develop cross-sector approaches to pressing issues surrounding the benefits and risks of this emerging technology. It will convene for the first time in Early May with subsequent meetings planned quarterly.

At the outset, the Board will:

  • provide the Secretary and the critical infrastructure community with actionable recommendations to ensure the safe adoption of AI technology in the essential services Americans depend upon every day, and
  • create a forum for DHS, the critical infrastructure community, and AI leaders to share information on the security risks presented by AI.

The Board will help DHS stay ahead of evolving threats posed by hostile nation-state actors and reinforce our national security by helping to deter and prevent those threats. The DHS Homeland Threat Assessment of 2024 warns the public of the threat AI-assisted tools pose to our economic security and critical infrastructure, including how these technologies “have the potential to enable larger scale, faster, efficient, and more evasive cyber attacks—against targets, including pipelines, railways, and other US critical infrastructure.” It also concludes that nation states, including the People’s Republic of China, are developing “other AI technologies that could undermine U.S. cyber defenses, including generative AI programs that support malicious activity such as malware attacks.”

“As one of the world’s leading developers and deployers of AI tools and services, AWS supports fostering the safe, secure, and responsible development of AI technology. We appreciate the opportunity to serve as an inaugural member of the Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security Board, and we are committed to continued collaboration with policymakers, industry, researchers, critical infrastructure providers, and the AI community to advance the responsible and secure use of AI,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services.

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, said, “AI must be as safe, secure, and responsible as it is revolutionary. This collective effort underscores the importance of deploying AI innovations in a manner that safeguards our nation’s critical infrastructure. I look forward to working with Secretary Mayorkas and other members of the Board to strengthen American resilience in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape.”

“Artificial intelligence is a game-changing technology that is making businesses smarter, stronger, and safer. AI’s ability to analyze threat information at scale can help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, an imperative that I look forward to advancing as a member of the AI Safety and Security Board,” said Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM.

The launch of the Board is a keystone of wide-ranging efforts within DHS to respond to the rapid emergence of AI technology. In March 2024, DHS debuted its first “Artificial Intelligence Roadmap,” which details the Department’s 2024 plans to 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 partnership.

The Department’s latest efforts follow President Biden’s Executive Order (EO), “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” signed in October 2023. In the EO, the President directed Secretary Mayorkas to establish the AI Safety and Security Board to support the responsible development of AI.

The President also directed DHS to promote the adoption of AI safety standards globally, protect U.S. networks and critical infrastructure, reduce the risks that AI can be used to create weapons of mass destruction, combat AI-related intellectual property theft, and help the United States attract and retain skilled talent, among other missions.

To accelerate the deployment of AI and machine learning technologies throughout the Department, Secretary Mayorkas announced in February the Department’s first-ever hiring sprint to recruit 50 experts to better leverage these technologies across strategic areas of the homeland security enterprise. These include efforts to counter fentanyl, combat child sexual exploitation and abuse, deliver immigration services, secure travel, fortify our critical infrastructure, and enhance our cybersecurity. DHS has received over 4,000 applications to date and is in the process of reviewing and hiring AI technologists to support mission-enhancing initiatives.

In April 2023, DHS established the Department’s first AI Task Force and named Eric Hysen its first Chief AI Officer. The Task Force’s focus is on DHS’s entire mission space. For example, it is working to enhance the integrity of our supply chains and the broader trade environment by helping deploy AI to improve cargo screening, the identification of imported goods produced with forced labor, and risk management. Secretary Mayorkas also charged the Task Force with using AI to better detect fentanyl shipments, identify and interdict the flow of precursor chemicals around the world, and disrupt key nodes in criminal networks.

The inaugural members of the Board are:

  • Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI;
  • Dario Amodei, CEO and Co-Founder, Anthropic;
  • Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines;
  • Rumman Chowdhury, Ph.D., CEO, Humane Intelligence;
  • Alexandra Reeve Givens, President and CEO, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Bruce Harrell, Mayor of Seattle, Washington; Chair, Technology and Innovation Committee, United States Conference of Mayors;
  • Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law;
  • Vicki Hollub, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum;
  • Jensen Huang, President and CEO, NVIDIA;
  • Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM;
  • Fei-Fei Li, Ph.D., Co-Director, Stanford Human-centered Artificial Intelligence Institute;
  • Wes Moore, Governor of Maryland;
  • Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft;
  • Shantanu Narayen, Chair and CEO, Adobe;
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet;
  • Arati Prabhakar, Ph.D., Assistant to the President for Science and Technology; Director, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO, Cisco; Chair, Business Roundtable;
  • Adam Selipsky, CEO, Amazon Web Services;
  • Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CEO, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD);
  • Nicol Turner Lee, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution;
  • Kathy Warden, Chair, CEO and President, Northrop Grumman; and
  • Maya Wiley, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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