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US Space Force halts use of AI tools over data security concerns

The US Space Force has temporarily halted using web-based generative artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, for its workforce due to concerns related to data security.

A memo, dated September 29, directed towards Space Force personnel, referred to as “Guardians,” has issued a prohibition against the use of these AI tools, including large language models, on government computers.

This restriction will remain in place until these tools receive formal approval from the Space Force’s Chief Technology and Innovation Office.

It said the temporary ban was “due to data aggregation risks.”

Uses of generative AI, powered by large language models that ingest massive troves of past data to learn, have exploded in the past year, underpinning ever-evolving products such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT that can swiftly generate content like text, images, or video off of a simple prompt.

Lisa Costa, Space Force’s chief technology and innovation officer, said in the memo that the technology “will undoubtedly revolutionize our workforce and enhance Guardian’s ability to operate at speed.”

An Air Force spokesperson confirmed the temporary ban, which Bloomberg first reported.

“A strategic pause on the use of Generative AI and Large Language Models within the US Space Force has been implemented as we determine the best path forward to integrate these capabilities into Guardians’ roles and the USSF mission,” Air Force spokesperson Tanya Downsworth said in a statement.

“This is a temporary measure to protect the data of our service and Guardians,” she added.

Costa said in the memo that her office had formed a generative AI task force with other Pentagon offices to mull ways to use the technology in a “responsible and strategic manner.”

She added that more guidance on Space Force’s use of generative AI would be released in the next month.

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