Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
CORD 1109 or Zoom:

Speaker Information

Charlie Kawasaki, CISSP
PacStar (Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions)


To achieve and maintain warfighting overmatch the US DoD, our coalition partners and adversaries are racing to develop new generations of autonomous weapons systems and AI/ML based decision support systems. DoD planners expect these new technologies and warfighting tactics to increase decision-making speed, increase coordination across all domains (air, ground, sea, cyber, space), reduce the number of humans on the front lines, and improve the performance of weapons systems.

Next generations of all major US ground combat vehicle programs are under design with unmanned or optionally manned variants. These will be controlled and directed by new US DoD networks such as being developed by the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program, linking a global network of widespread sensors with commanders and warfighters, using AI/ML support in the cloud and in remote tactical settings. However, the US DoD is in its infancy in terms of technologies and development processes including validation and verification of these systems, calling into question the trustworthiness of these systems.

While the US DoD races forward with the development of AI-based solutions, it has put high level ethical frameworks in place to guide the development of these systems, though with substantial gaps largely unnoticed by the civilian population. In addition, significant work is underway at the U.N. and with numerous countries and humanitarian organizations to pursue bans on autonomous weapons outright or bans on certain aspects of autonomous weapons such as the automated targeting of humans.

This presentation will highlight select developments in US DoD autonomous weapons programs and networks and will provide a deep dive into US DoD AI ethics and developmental directives and their gaps. It will also cover current international advocacy efforts and comparisons is ethical frameworks and approaches.

Lastly, the presentation will outline several opportunities for researchers to engage in both technical and ethical advocacy efforts.

Speaker Bio

Charlie Kawasaki, CISSP (Charlie Kawasaki, CISSP | LinkedIn) has served as PacStar (Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions) CTO since 2004. He leads multiple innovation initiatives including development of cutting-edge tactical computing and networking systems used in-theater, on ground, air, and naval platforms including unmanned and robotic systems.

Charlie has over 40 years’ experience in cybersecurity, machine learning/AI, systems integration, software engineering, and network engineering. Prior to joining PacStar, Charlie provided his expertise to early stage technology companies, where he created dozens of software and networking-based products. Charlie served as CEO of RuleSpace, Inc., which created ML-based technology for Internet parental controls used by companies such as AOL, Yahoo, SBC, BellSouth, and Microsoft.

Charlie currently serves on the board of the Technology Association of Oregon, the OSU EECS Industry Advisory Board Executive Committee, the OSU ORTSOC advisory board and Mount Hood Community College Cybersecurity Advisory Board.  He also serves on boards and consults with multiple startup companies. He is a venture partner for Oregon Venture Fund.