JAIC looks to fix errors in Army’s financial accounting systems

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The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is helping the Army field AI to have machines independently solve complex accounting errors — a first for the Department of Defense’s backend AI efforts — the department announced in a blog post Thursday.

The JAIC’s Business Process Transformation Mission Initiative team partnered with the Defense Innovation Unit to bring cognitive automation to the Army’s sprawling financial systems. The machine learning systems the JAIC is helping to field will be paired with robotic process automation (RPA) technology to match transactions that have been miscoded or have some other error.

JAIC estimates that quickly resolving unmatched accounting errors through cognitive technology will cut through a year-long backlog and resolve “billions of dollars” in mistakes.

“We’re hoping to prove that auto-ML software capability will be effective in interfacing with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software, providing an additional level of complexity for resolving challenges with DoD financial data,” Rachael Martin, mission director for the JAIC’s business process transformation team, said in the post.

RPA can help eliminate mundane tasks but alone is often too rigid to solve the complex type of problems JAIC and DIU have been trying to solve.

“While regular automation follows logical, well-defined workflows, intelligent or cognitive automation is able to take irregular, complex financial information and data, make decisions, and apply judgments and solutions to a high level of accuracy or confidence without having to have a human in the loop,” Martin said.

DIU was brought in to help the JAIC work with private industry on developing the advanced models needed to identify and correct errors. Vertosoft and Summit2Sea were selected as vendors to support the project, according to the post.

“As AI companies move from Robotic Process Automation to machine learning, the DoD can leverage these solutions to make their financial systems more efficient providing program manager support on this effort,” Jeff Klugman, director of DIU’s AI portfolio, said in the post. “We expect these vendors to supply working prototypes for field trials with the goal of saving the DoD labor hours per year in finding and correcting unmatched transactions.”

The Army has been working for some time to modernize its massive financial IT systems. The department recently migrated one of its financial data and management systems to the cloud far ahead of schedule.

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Army, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud migration, Department of Defense (DOD), DIU (formerly DIUx), Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), machine learning
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