Google’s former CEO is working with a former U.S. Defense Department official to create an online program that would train Americans to code for the government, as first reported by OneZero.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) — an independent advisory commission to the Department of Defense — recommended establishing the Digital Service Academy to operate like a military institution where students would learn about technology.
Like other service academies, students would not pay tuition or room and board, but would be required to serve in the government after completing their degree.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is NSCAI’s chairman. The commission was established in 2018 to advise the DOD on the development of artificial intelligence for use in the military.
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, who served Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in that position from 2014 to 2017, is vice chairman of NSCAI.
“The United States government must fundamentally reimagine the way it recruits and builds a digital workforce,” a memo from NSCAI’s July meeting said. It noted that the academy’s creation would be one aspect of a wider plan to enhance technological efforts in the U.S. military.
“The United States Digital Service Academy’s mission is to develop, educate, train and inspire digital technology leaders and innovators and imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and service to the United States of America in order to prepare them to lead in service to our nation,” the memo states.
It is unclear if DOD would consider the proposal or how long it would take to start a new program.
According to a New York Times report analyzing Schmidt’s work since he left Google, “few” of his proposals to the Pentagon have been adopted.
Since stepping down as Google’s CEO, Schmidt has taken board positions on two committees that advise the DOD on technology, specifically the use of artificial intelligence.
At the request of then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Schmidt agreed to serve as the head of the Defense Innovation Board in 2016 — another civilian board that advises the secretary of defense.