The Ministry of the Armed Forces is advancing in the field of artificial intelligence

In 2017, the Ministry of the Armed Forces launched the ambitious ARTEMIS.IA program [ARchitecture de Traitement et d’Exploitation Massive de l’Information multi-Sources] In order to have a “sovereign” solution to store and process all the data you are likely to produce using AI [IA].

“Big data processing is the backbone of the new war. This is what will allow us to make the right decision. Also, we cannot rely on anyone,” summed up Florence Parley, then-Secretary of the Armed Forces.

After an initial competitive stage and the creation of an “ecosystem” consisting of small and medium-sized companies, young innovative companies and laboratories specializing in data processing and artificial intelligence, the Directorate General of Arms [DGA] This program has been entrusted to the tandem companies Thales and Atos, via their joint venture Athea, with Cap Gemini and Sopra Steria as subcontractors.

This second phase was to make possible the development of “demonstrators” for the six use cases planned by ARTEMIS.IA.

As a reminder, titled “Helping to Exploit Big and Heterogeneous Data,” the first should lead to an “exploitation tool that allows crossing structured and unstructured data” that allows for “multidimensional analyzes based on geographical, temporal, relational or statistical criteria.” The second relates to cybersecurity, with the ability to detect anomalies in “large amounts of recorded events” while the third relates to military health monitoring.

The fourth use case, called “technical and economic intelligence,” aims to make it easier to find and synthesize information in large blocks of data. Along the same lines, there is also talk of developing a “nautical situation development tool, making use of cross-referencing of different data sources” to have the ability to detect and identify “patterns of behaviour, including abnormal behaviours, and in predicting the future maritime situation”. Finally, the sixth area covered by ARTEMIS.IA is maintenance in operation [MCO]with the development of forecast analysis and fleet management system [véhicules, aéronefs].

Obviously, the demonstrators who have been tested by “operational users” over the past few months have been quite satisfied. This stimulated the Ministry of the Armed Forces to act.

Indeed, through a press release published on the evening of July 10, the DGA indicated that the ARTEMIS.IA project has just entered the manufacturing phase, with the planned deployment of a first operational platform for processing big data, achieving cascading benchmarks. Training and support for three years.

More precisely, this first application will relate to the exploitation of multi-source information for intelligence purposes. It will be delivered in 2023. “The contract also provides for the deployment of future capabilities that meet the peculiarities of other business areas, thus expanding the use of ARTEMIS.IA to all entities of the Ministry of the Armed Forces,” detailing the DGA, who will form this program more broadly, a technical reference base, highly secure and sovereign, and is likely to eventually narrate other government projects in the field of artificial intelligence. »

In fact, such a project must meet security requirements … As noted by former MP Fabien Gottivard, in a budget opinion published in October 2021, it must “take into account many of the defining characteristics of the defense world which are data protection, and pluralism. Networks and classification levels, need-to-know management, and access to algorithms and data, while responding to the problems of geographic distribution of data and users connected through military communications resources that are often constrained in terms of bandwidth and speed.”

In this view, Mr. Gouttefarde expressed concern that the Ministry of the Armed Forces was “in the process of designing a superior data analytics system that will only operate within 3 years at the earliest, i.e. at a time when all the technologies involved will have developed”.

On this point, the DGA rightly notes that ARTEMIS.IA is designed as a “modular platform”, which will allow it to “take advantage of future technological developments in big data and artificial intelligence” in order to always respond “better to the changing needs of the department”.

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