White House Executive Order on AI Gives Sweeping Mandate to DHS

Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press. Views expressed here are his own. Source: White House photo Co-published with Just Security. On Oct. 30, the Biden administration issued the “Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” The document is ambitious, covering a broad range of risks that AI poses – including the production of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, risks to cybersecurity, the generation of deepfakes, and privacy violations.  But while the Executive Order directs nearly the entire alphabet of federal agencies – from Agriculture to Veterans Affairs – to engage in various new activities, it can be read primarily as a national security order, giving important new responsibilities to the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and the Director of National Intelligence.  But it is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is perhaps given the most extensive to-do list. The Executive Order gives DHS a wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities related to AI, in addition to a variety of activities it is asked to collaborate on with other agencies: The DHS Secretary is tasked with leading “an assessment of potential risks related to the use of AI in critical infrastructure sectors involved, including ways in which deploying AI may make critical infrastructure systems more vulnerable to critical failures, physical attacks, and cyber attacks,” and is asked to translate the AI Risk Management Framework developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) into “relevant safety and security guidelines…White House Executive Order on AI Gives Sweeping Mandate to DHS