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AI ENABLED COMMAND IN THE UNITED STATES: RHETORICAL CONTESTATION AND SOLVING THE PROBLEMS OF SPEED AND KNOWLEDGE IN WAR

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posted on 2024-05-10, 22:20 authored by Ian Jeffrey Reynolds

There is currently a great deal of momentum behind the integration of AI enabled technologies into the U.S. military. This includes desires to leverage the technology for purposes of command and control. These efforts are predicated on dreams of AI and machine learning empowering U.S. commanders to make better decisions at a faster pace. However, this ongoing incorporation of AI into military decision-making processes promises to delegate elements of decision-making away from humans, challenging long-standing military traditions emphasizing the heroic archetype of the decisive, intuitive, and audacious commander. As such, this dissertation seeks to address how, in the face of these competing perspectives, did the prospect of delegating decisions in war to ‘intelligent machines’ gain its current momentum? It argues that this puzzle is resolved through a focus on the emergence of particular visions of war in the post-WWII era, specifically related to the themes of speed and knowledge in U.S. military thought. Through the use of a combination of computational text analysis techniques and a genealogical approach, this dissertation uncovers shifts in how members of the U.S. defense architecture conceive of and prioritize speed and knowledge and their relationship to war. It illustrates that these changes serve as a form of rhetorical resources in debates over the merits of AI and its role in military decision-making, helping to lock down and formalize new meanings and practices related to modern command. These findings have important implications for how we analyze the relationship between military culture, technology, and the practices of war; thus, pointing to how imaginations of technology and war intersect with significant implications for how future conflicts will unfold.

History

Publisher

ProQuest

Language

English

Committee chair

Patrick T. Jackson

Committee member(s)

Derrick Cogburn; Charli Carpenter

Degree discipline

International Relations

Degree grantor

American University. School of International Service

Degree level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

Ph.D. in International Relations, American University, May 2024

Local identifier

Reynolds_american_0008E_12209.pdf

Media type

application/pdf

Pagination

458 pages

Submission ID

12209

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