‘ChatGPT, plan my top-secret mission’

‘ChatGPT, plan my top-secret mission’

Users of top-secret IT systems may soon have access to generative artificial intelligence tools to draft documents, write code, and analyze information.

Microsoft will announce later today the availability of GPT-4 in the Azure Government Top Secret cloud. The tech giant has been working for about 18 months on this effort, which includes the first instance of ChatGPT made specifically for classified U.S.-government workloads. 

The news that Azure OpenAI Service is being added to the top-secret cloud will be announced this afternoon at the first-AI Expo for National Competitiveness, an event hosted by the Special Competitive Studies Project, a tech- and security-focused think tank.

“We are going to have GPT-4 in an isolated environment for the first time,” Bill Chappell, Microsoft’s chief technology officer for Strategic Missions and Technologies, told Nextgov/FCW in an interview. “We’ve only done that for the U.S. government—and that’s a big deal. They will have their own private instance of this capability isolated from the rest of the world.”

The model will be available via classified cloud-based systems, but physically unconnected to the public internet. End users on DOD’s classified network will be able tap the generative AI toolkit for a variety of uses, but they will not have the ability to train the model itself on new information and data because the model is air-gapped. 

Chappell says he anticipates the benefits of the generative AI offering to include improved productivity, as well as more high-tech applications. Part of the motivation behind the effort is to give users on classified systems access to the same AI-powered tools that are available to users in non-classified government settings and in the corporate world.

“More mundane use cases are going to be huge to have across the [Azure Government Top Secret] cloud,” Chappell said.

The announcement doesn’t mean that classified users can immediately delegate document drafting chores to AI. Defense officials still need to sign off on the functionality before it can go live in classified U.S. government systems.

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