USTRANSCOM’s Gen. McDew on Cyber Threats, AI, Machine Learning and Autonomous Systems


Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, chief of U.S. Transportation Command, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, outlined the dangers of cyber threats to logistics efforts under his command and how machine learning and artificial intelligence will pave the way for deployment of autonomous systems.

“… Both state and non-state actors conduct persistent probes and malicious cyber activities, seeking to erode the U.S. military advantage and alter existing international order. The logistics enterprise is more susceptible to these malicious activities than other military organizations based on our unique relationship with commercial partners.” 

Nevertheless, he added, US TRANSCOM made strides last year with collaborating with industry and the including cybersecurity training programs. He pointed to the participation of industry CEOs and the steps to modify existing Transportation Service Provider contracts to mandate compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s standards.

Turning to the future, Gen. McDew said machine learning and artificial intelligence will play key roles. Focusing on machine learning and AI will allow US TRANSCOM to pursue a future in autonomous systems – “trucks that drive themselves, ships that can navigate oceans without human inputs, and wide-body aircraft that can land on their own, he said.”

A transcript of Gen. McDew’s testimony is here.