DHS recruiting ‘AI Corps’ to fight fentanyl distribution, online child exploitation and cyberattacks

The Department of Homeland Security is recruiting dozens of artificial intelligence experts for an “AI Corps” that will use the blossoming tech to advance national security goals, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday.

The 50 experts will be part of a DHS initiative to leverage AI for a variety of efforts, including combating fentanyl distribution, online child exploitation and cyberattacks, according to Mayorkas. He announced the AI Corps alongside DHS Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen at a Mountain View, California, event as the House tried and failed to impeach the secretary.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday launched a hiring spree for 50 artificial intelligence experts as the House pursued a doomed impeachment case against him. (Getty Images)

“As artificial intelligence becomes more powerful and more accessible than ever before, government needs the support and expertise of our country’s foremost AI experts to help ensure our continued ability to harness this technology responsibly, safeguard against its malicious use, and advance our critical homeland security mission,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

DHS, which established an AI task force last year, has already been using the tech to aid in its missions. Customs and Border Protection, for example, has used a machine-learning model to track suspicious vehicles and passengers at the southern border, leading to 240 drug seizures, including fentanyl, according to DHS.

The Department of Homeland Security announced an initiative to hire AI experts to help use the rapidly evolving technology for agency efforts, including combating fentanyl distribution. (iStock)

The AI Corps would mark an even larger effort while ensuring “safe and secure use of AI,” DHS said. It’s also part of a government-wide push under an executive order President Biden issued in October to establish AI standards protecting Americans from security risks and to ensure its effective use in the government. 

Supporters of the executive order have said it’s a first step toward regulating AI and protecting citizens from potential online harm. But critics, including a coalition of 20 state attorneys general, have argued the executive order would centralize government control over the emerging tech and lead to potential censorship.

The Department of Homeland Security has used AI in efforts that have already proven to be successful, including its mission to track and combat fentanyl shipments. (Getty Images)

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“While there is serious debate as to the best approach to regulate AI, one thing is clear—the Biden administration cannot simply bypass congressional authority to act here,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes previously told Fox News. “Any regulation must comport with the Constitution, including only authorized executive action, as well as protecting against government censorship.”

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Megan Myers is an associate producer/writer with Fox News Digital Originals. 

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