JADE Helm 15, Beta Testing Battlefield AI?

The most controversial military exercise to take place on US soil has kicked off this week and the controversy is already well underway. Initially announced in March JADE Helm 15  from the outset generated much publicity and consternation amongst Americans, especially Texans.

According to the publicly available information 1,200 troops will be involved, Special Forces troops Green Berets, Navy Seals and Air Force Special Ops troops. For the purpose of the exercise Texas, Utah and a southern portion of California have been designated as enemy territory. The actual objectives (eg capture the flag, eliminate the enemy) have been kept a tightly held secret.

Highpants-JadeHelm15Even though the exercise has only been underway for a couple of days there are already reports of worrying side effects. An unconfirmed report has claimed that the first casualty of JADE has died, a civilian shot while minding his own business (article at BeforItsNews). Other reports are suggesting that mobile and terrestrial communications systems are being effected in areas of JADE activity (article at AllNewsPipeline).

The fact that the training is occurring in rural and urban locations has caused many people much concern, it does on the surface make it seem as if the military is training for battles of a different kind. Many conspiracy theorists have even become concerned that this is a practice run for Martial Law in America. The exercises moto ‘To control the human domain’ certainly isn’t helping to quell conspiracy theories.

What is the Purpose of JADE Helm 15?

Putting conspiracy theory aside for a second the best clue as to the purpose of JADE Helm 15 is the JADE part of the name. JADE (JADE II is latest version) is a well-documented and long running development program designed to reduce the time it takes to make deadly battlefield decisions by taking out the slowest part, us.

Highpants-JADE-Helm-15-artificial-intelligenceLooking through military and DARPA documents you quickly realize JADE is NOT a secret program. The documents describe JADE (Joint Assistant for Development and Execution) as a battlefield software system that incorporates technology from BBN Technologies, Raytheon in conjunction with DARPA.

From the 2001 JADE documents ‘JADE (Joint Assistant for Deployment and Execution) is a knowledge-based mixed-initiative system that supports force deployment planning and management. JADE uses case-based and generative planning methods to support the development of large-scale, complex deployment plans in minimal time. JADE incorporates the technology of three tools: Prodigy-Analogy (a combined case-based and generative planner developed by Carnegie Mellon University); ForMAT (Force Management and Analysis Tool) that supports case-based force deployment planning developed by BBN Technologies); and PARKA (a highly-indexed knowledge based management system developed by the University of Maryland).

With JADE, a military planner can build a preliminary force deployment plan, including the Time Phased Force Deployment Data (TPFDD) in less than one hour. This speed in plan construction is possible because JADE supports the rapid retrieval and reuse of previous plan elements for use in the development of new plans. In addition, JADE employs an easy to use map-oriented drag and drop interface where force modules (FMs) from previous plans (cases) whose force capabilities and composition match the requirements of the current situation can be dragged from the case library and dropped onto a geographic destination. Plan modification and/or adaption is supported through remindings, e.g., each time that a force module is created or is copied into a plan (TPFDD) the user is automatically reminded of the need for geographical changes.’

What is JADE II?

JADE II was first tested in 2007 during the JADE II military exercises of that year. In this case however JADE was not in charge, most likely it was simply run in parallel to its human counterparts. Jade Helm 15 is the first time JADE has been given command hence the title JADE (at the) Helm 15.

The original JADE system still involved humans in most stages of the decision processes throughout the chain, JADE II however only requires a general military objective to be set and it will use all of its resources and smarts to execute that objective.

According to publicly available documents the original JADE system was able to reduce the kill chain (target acquisition, planning and execution) from many hours or days to under an hour. JADE II and the digital battlefield has cut that time from hours to seconds. Using predictive algorithms JADE II can even look at previous battle plans and behavioural data to plan ahead providing a Minority Report style preemptive strike against the enemy, potentially creating a negative kill chain time. Dead before you did it.

For JADE II to be able to achieve such stunning kill times the human administration in the kill chain has been removed and replaced by JADE’s AI, now its operation only requires the objective to be set. With no empathy, regret or emotion it simply executes, Skynet anyone.

In many ways JADE II is simply a logical extension of the digital battlefield technology the US military has been working on for decades. The final top layer of the system that brings together all of the data generated by the now digital weaponry on the battlefield. Now if JADE II stopped there not many people could really have a problem with it, it sort of seems logical.

Sadly this is not the case as you may have guessed from the JADE Helm 15 moto ‘To Control the Human Domain’. JADE is hungry for data, she can make use of almost any type of information that we generate in this modern world. From social media to government records JADE II can learn from it. Even more concerning is the Global Information Grid that JADE draws data from, this system can be loaded with every bit of data regarding your enemy or any person in the world for that matter. The system even has the ability to capture all live security camera feeds and communications.

NSA Utah Data Center

This is what is making so many people nervous about JADE Helm 15, if JADE is pointed inwards towards the people it is supposed to protect JADE becomes a social control mechanism instead of a military weapon. Which is what many people believe is happening now with JADE Helm 15. Consider this inward looking view combined with the NSA’s data collection practices and governments around the world legislating to enforce the collection of meta-data and we should probably be getting nervous about now.

What can JADE II do?

JADE II is considered to be a cognitive, intuitive, self-modifying AI system that can predict human behavior, build military plans to counter predicted behavior and identify enemy combatants based on their behavior. Apparently JADE II can even generate a holographic representation of the battlefield as it sees it. The latest updates to JADE II now allows JADE to send commands directly to drones, zero human involvement in identification, planning or execution of a kill plan.

JADE II Drone Controller
JADE II Drone Controller

JADE’s self-modifying talents aren’t limited to its code and data, it can also take over network bandwidth and reconfigure external networks. This appears to be happening already with many reports of inaccessible mobile networks and 911.

JADE isn’t limited to real-world war either, it can also take the battlefield to the digital world, defending against cyber-attacks and launching its own digital attacks.


Is it a coincidence that in the past couple of months so many tech celebrities have come out warning of the dangers of AI? Is it possible the message wasn’t intended for the general public but instead for the developers of Jade II?

There are no suggestions that JADE is a self-aware, yet, it may be intelligent and able to self-modify but the last bastion of intelligence hasn’t been reached. The day it does become self-aware however is the day its master become its slaves.

Is SkyNet about to go live? Remember after beta-testing (if all goes well) is go-live. If for some reason you don’t believe JADE is an issue don’t worry you will see it in action soon enough.

Reference: Global Information Grid Wikipedia
Reference: Global Information Network Architecture
Reference: Jade Helm 15 Conspiracy Theories Wikipedia
Reference: NSA Utah Data Center via BusinessInsider