Students learn about the value of artificial intelligence and federated learning and the need for increased diversity in the national security space

ARLINGTON, Va. – Today, students at Morehouse College, the historically black liberal arts college based in Atlanta, participated in the first national security lecture that is part of a series hosted by Giant Oak, Inc. and Cornerstone Government Affairs. Guest lecturers Gary M. Shiffman, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Giant Oak and Consilient, and Charles A. Carithers, principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs, led a discussion that provided an overview of U.S. national security and explained how the government can utilize artificial intelligence and federated learning technology to increase effectiveness and efficiency in its national security efforts. The mission of the lecture series is to advocate for a more diverse technology and national security workforce by educating students about career opportunities in these sectors.

While the U.S. is growing increasingly diverse, the national security and technology sectors do not necessarily reflect the ethnic makeup of the nation. For example, U.S. census data states that Black Americans make up 13.4% of the U.S. population, but the National Security Diversity and Inclusion Workforce Act of 2017 reveals that Black Americans only represent 6% of the Foreign Service. A recent NatSecGirlSquad survey interviewed members of the national security community. In the demographic breakdown of respondents, 83% of the survey participants were white while only 3% were Black. 

“Cornerstone recognizes that diversity in our national security arena makes us safer, and the national security workforce should be reflective of what America looks like,” said Carithers. “This lecture series will serve as a primer on the threats and national security and foreign policy challenges facing the U.S. homeland and our interests abroad. We will discuss how we, as a nation, address these hard problems and why these issues should matter to the men of Morehouse, especially those preparing for careers in the national security sector.”

Carithers is a 2005 graduate of Morehouse College and has since served in the Intelligence Community. Carithers also teaches a graduate-level course on Congress and U.S. national security policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

As a professor of behavioral science and national security at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Gary Shiffman is passionate about inspiring and educating the next generation and encouraging diversity and inclusion at universities and the workplace. “Artificial intelligence and federated learning are revolutionizing the world by allowing government entities to collaborate in preserving national security. We need students entering the workforce from every ethnic background to know about the growing opportunities at the intersection of technology and national security,” said Shiffman, who is also the author of The Economics of Violence: How Behavioral Science Can Transform our View of Crime, Insurgency, and Terrorism (Cambridge University Press, March 2020). 

Shiffman and Carithers argued that as machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies are increasingly used for national security, the technology industry and the nation’s security depend upon citizens from every ethnicity taking their unique talents into the workforce. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Diversity in Tech Report claims Black employees hold only 7% of the jobs in the technology industry. Recent diversity reports from top technology companies demonstrate that the ethnic breakdown of those holding jobs in the technology industry is also not representative of the U.S. population as a whole. For example, Google reported Black employees make up about 5.5% of their total workforce, and Facebook reported that Black employees held 1.7% of the company’s technical roles.

Morehouse College students who watched today’s presentation were able to dialogue with Shiffman and Carithers through a live question and answer session on social media. The lecture series, entitled National Security: A Primer on Safeguarding our Nation, will continue biweekly through the conclusion of Morehouse College’s spring semester. Shiffman and Carithers will continue insightful discussions with students about the future of artificial intelligence, federated learning, and the value of diversity in the national security workforce. 

“Diversity in national security strengthens our country’s ability to safeguard all Americans at home and abroad. This lecture series provides a strong foundation for Morehouse students who will eventually become leaders in the national security area,” said Kendrick T. Brown, Ph.D., Morehouse College provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

Georgia ranks 12th nationally among the top states employing citizens in the technology industry, largely due to the number of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Morehouse College. 

A recording of today’s presentation can be viewed here

For more information about Giant Oak, please visit giantoak.com or email info@giantoak.com. For more information about Cornerstone Government Affairs Group, please visit cgagroup.com.

About Giant Oak

At Giant Oak, we build trusted tools at the frontiers of behavioral science and artificial intelligence that enable you to make both rapid and informed decisions in an increasingly dynamic security environment. Giant Oak Search Technology (GOST®) makes screening easy. GOST® is an open-source search and triage tool that builds a custom internet domain and organizes information to detect suspicious behavior. GOST® re-indexes the open and deep webs to return publicly available electronic information (PAEI) in prioritized results relevant to the user’s requirements. By deploying machine-learning algorithms to refine search results and generate analytic scores, entities are sorted by relevance and threat level. For more information, visit www.giantoak.com.

About Cornerstone Government Affairs Group

Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc. is a full-service, bipartisan public affairs firm with more than 100 professionals in 13 offices across the country. Through its federal and state government relations, strategic communications, and business consulting/strategic advisory brands, Cornerstone represents a diverse group of clients from myriad industries and sectors and maintains expertise in a wide range of issue areas, including agriculture, cybersecurity, defense, education, energy, health, homeland security, international affairs, tax policy, telecommunications, and transportation and infrastructure. For more information, please visit Cornerstone’s website at www.cgagroup.com.