Longtime intelligence analyst Brian Drake is the new science and technology director of artificial intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Drake works with the DIA’s Future Capabilities and Innovation Office, and he also leads an initiative to test the effectiveness of different applications of artificial intelligence at solving mission problems.
Drake takes a unique approach to AI applications. Rather than solution development thinking, or forcing AI capabilities onto mission problems, Drake’s office first identifies specific problems and then sees if tailored solutions involving AI can be created. Drake spoke at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference in August to discuss plans for his new role, and stated: “We want to identify a problem. We want to understand what the particulars of that problem are…and then to see whether or not AI is appropriate.”
Since his arrival at the DIA, Drake has spent time working on the SABLE SPEAR program, an artificial intelligence machine learning environment that gathers data from public sources to geolocate illegal activity and combat the opioid crisis. The initiative targets the synthetic opioid market, and exemplifies Drake’s approach by first identifying a problem: Fentanyl kills 24,000 Americans every year. It then applied a specific data analytics effort to address that mission problem.
Drake is the president and CEO of the Defense Intelligence Memorial Foundation and has served in numerous strategic planning and intelligence roles in the Department of Defense. He is a graduate of Mercer University and earned a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from Georgetown University.