What FSOs Should Know About AI

The launch of the ChatGPT chatbot system in November 2022 came with a mixed bag of reactions across industries, from excitement to distress and everything in between. Even though artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been around for decades, the recent events really brought to light the true capabilities of the technology, along with a wide range of concerns.

Many professionals worry that AI and machine learning (ML) technology will ultimately displace certain jobs, like customer service, content creation, data analysis, and, ironically — even software programming. There are also, of course, the matters of AI security challenges. Naturally, we are concerned with how an intelligent tool can be weaponized for harm or mismanage our data.

On the positive side, AI will bring enormous opportunities for businesses to improve what they offer and how they offer it, and defense contractors will be no exception. It’ll also impact how government agencies set compliance standards, administer security clearances, and modernize their technology systems. 

Therefore, Facility Security Officers (FSOs) should equip themselves with all there is to know about AI technology. Luckily, we are here to cover how AI will affect industrial security day-to-day operations, advance our defense and security industry, and ways FSOs can prepare for these upcoming digital transformations. 

AI Will Enable Contractors to Streamline Processes and Discover Valuable Insights

When evaluating how AI will impact the industrial security space, defense contracting, and clearance world, it’s essential first to understand the purpose and functions of the technology. Whether used in sales, customer service, IT operations, or security management, AI automates workflows and analyzes information. It’s like having extra personnel on staff to handle tasks for you but without the HR costs. 

For instance, many businesses use AI chatbots on their website to automate communications by engaging visitors, answering questions, and generating sales leads. It’s also common for enterprise software, like customer relationship management (CRM) or IT asset management systems, to have built-in AI assistants to help users identify high-priority tasks or advise users on ways they can improve performance. 

Alternatively, we see cybersecurity companies deploy ML technology in their network monitoring and threat detection tools. In this case, AI analyzes event and activity data from various network sources to identify anomalies, then initiates security incident management procedures. 

Potential AI Use Cases in Industrial Security

  • Running employee background checks: Could AI analyze information online and within central data systems to confirm credentials or find risks?     
  • Monitoring premise security: Could AI conduct surveillance by tracking events and visitor activity to spot potential threats? 
  • Generating government bid proposals: Could AI automatically pull information requested by an RFP and convert it into a written proposal? 
  • Reporting foreign travel: Could AI track the travel of cleared personnel abroad and automatically report it to FSOs per SEAD 3 requirements?

AI Advancements in the Contracting Industry

Even with the potential use cases for applying AI in industrial security and government contracting, the federal government has already seen the value it can offer. It’s why the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has recommended doubling AI research funding to $32 billion by 2026. 

In one case, for instance, the National Background Investigation Service (NBIS) is looking into how ML can reduce the backlog of clearance applications with AI automation. Ideally, investigators would do this through deep listening on the web and an advanced algorithm that could filter the large data pool to identify risky clearance candidates. Products like Radiance Open Source Intelligence (OS-INT) and Internet Intelligence (NET-INT) are already available for these functions. 

The Department of Defense (DoD) has also shown interest in deploying AI technology for operational and combat use cases — prompting plenty of opportunities for defense contractors. In fact, they’ve already deployed AI for things like predicting mechanical failures of military vehicles and providing imagery on a battlefield. They’re even looking into developing technology to make tactical recommendations during an engagement.  

Finally and arguably most appealing is AI analytics for federal contract procurement. Rather than manually browsing the thousands of requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for information (RFI), procurement officers can receive recommendations on opportunities that fit their profile attributes and experience. The currently available products for these capabilities can also automatically initiate conversations with partner contractors.       

How These Advancements Affect the FSO

AI advancements are contracting trends that will provide ample opportunity for FSOs. In one sense, we’ll likely see an increase in companies specializing in AI expanding their market capabilities by applying their proprietary technology to procurement, national security, and military use cases. By moving into the federal space, FSOs will be in high demand and become more essential to meet requirements for the DoD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).    

For those already in a facility security leadership position, AI will simplify the day-to-day tasks of an FSO. Remember, the primary use is workflow automation. So if an AI tool can monitor the facility, manage cleared personnel, and generate reports for them, FSOs can do more in less time while reducing the risks of errors common with manual completion. 

How FSOs Can Prepare for AI Security Challenges and Opportunities

Digital modernization within industrial security is an exciting time that contractors should not fear but embrace. Here are some ways for FSOs to prepare for AI deployment in their organization:  

Develop a Transformation Strategy

Evolving past legacy systems to the modern day, innovative solutions should not be done blindly. Despite primarily managing industrial security operations, an FSO still has a role in determining where a contractor can apply AI and ML technology to help support organizational goals. Provide input and coordinate with IT and business leaders to produce a clear, step-by-step plan for sunsetting outgoing technology and deploying AI so that it doesn’t break the bank or disrupt production.     

Properly Vett Software Vendors 

There are a lot of new players in the AI software space — some selling to contractors, government agencies, or both. Do your diligence for all the providers you’re considering. FSOs will become significant beneficiaries of AI solutions, so ask all the tough questions on product features, security risks, and platform usability to ensure they suit your needs. 
Additionally, as third-party security risks are a prominent cause of today’s data breaches, evaluate the developer’s security program to confirm that it meets your standards and compliance requirements.

Coordinate with Cybersecurity Teams

Whether you have an internal security operations team or outsource to a managed security service provider (MSSP), cybersecurity becomes more challenging without proper network and asset visibility. Work with your security teams so they can evaluate your AI vendors, catalog the tools you use, and ensure they don’t compromise your organization’s security posture.     

Stay Current with Government AI Policy Updates

The 2020 executive order 13960 prompted requirements by government agencies to identify AI use cases and share information with key stakeholders. This likely will be the first of many policy updates relating to the technology. 

As we discover best practices and find technology flaws, there’s no doubt that federal agencies will continuously generate AI policy guidelines regarding software configuration or uses. FSOs must stay up-to-date on these regulatory updates as part of their role as compliance managers.    

Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve with MathCraft

Every industry is navigating the AI space, hoping to put it to best use in a secure and efficient matter. Government agencies and defense contractors already see how the technology maximizes efficiency and puts complex tasks on autopilot. The time is now to digitally transform security operations through AI tools and MathCraft’s integrated modern technology.   

Contact us today to learn how our industrial-security software suite gives FSOs an easy-to-use solution to manage their on-premise security operations, automate security processes, secure sensitive data, and oversee cleared personnel across all facility-security operations.