In support of Executive Order 13859, “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence,” and The National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan: 2019 Update, NITRD worked with Federal agencies to establish a process to accurately account for AI R&D investments, given that R&D in AI intersects with multiple PCAs. (Table 1, footnote 4, gives examples of distinctions between AI and other PCAs.)

The FY2020 budget request set a baseline for reporting and tracking AI R&D investments, consistent with the AI Executive Order. Because of the difference in the reporting process and AI scope newly defined last year, the AI investments reported in the NITRD Supplement to The President’s FY2021 Budget are only comparable to other NITRD-reported AI investments.

Table 1 shows two types of AI investments—those under the AI PCA and those with primary emphases in areas other than AI, which are reported in other PCAs. The FY2021 funding level shown for AI in Table 1 indicates both the nondefense Federal programs directly related to AI ($912 million) and the AI-related efforts reported in the other PCAs ($590.5 million). Together, these total a Federal FY2021 nondefense budget request in AI of $1.5 billion, a 34.4 percent increase over the FY2020 enacted investments and a 54.3 percent increase over the FY2020 budget request.

For more information on the Federal role in maintaining American leadership in AI, please see Artificial Intelligence for the American People.

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Chart 1: Federal budget for nondefense AI R&D, FYs 2020-2021


Budget ($ in Millions)

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Chart 2: Nondefense AI R&D FY21 Budget Request by Agency


Budget ($ in Millions)

*Other: DOI, NIJ, NOAA, Treasury/FCEN

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Table 1. Agency Budgets by PCA for AI R&D,¹ FYs 2019–2021

FY2019 Budget Actuals, FY2020 Budgets Enacted & Supplemental,1 and FY2021 Budget Request ($ in millions)


Agency²³ Fiscal Year AI⁴ CHuman CNPS CSP EdW EHCS HCIA IRAS LSDMA LSN SPSQ Totals⁵
TOTALS 5 FY19 Actual 627.7 78.5 37.6 26.8 16.7 37.2 49.4 107.6 110.8 8.9 13.5  1,114.6
TOTALS 5 FY20 Enacted 654.9 85.0 39.1 29.2 18.3 50.4 71.4 61.2 85.5 9.1 13.9  1,118.3
TOTALS 5 FY20 Supplemental 5.6 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 1.3 0.1 0.0  8.6
TOTALS5 FY21 Request 912.0 83.8 43.4 43.2 29.5 64.4 99.9 72.0 115.4 18.9 20.1  1,502.5

AI Budget Table 1 Notes

1. DOD and DARPA AI R&D investments are not publicly available.

2. FY2020 supplemental estimates, reported by NOAA and NSF, are based on funding from the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

3. For full names of agency subcomponents (departments and offices), see the Abbreviations list

4. (1) Examples of AI R&D investments reported under the AI PCA are R&D on general methods for machine vision; (primarily) machine learning; cybersecurity challenges unique to AI, e.g., ability to exploit flaws in an AI system’s goals; algorithms for computational linguistics; and neuromorphic computing architectures or chips optimized for neural nets. (2) Examples of AI investments reported in other PCAs are R&D on robots (reported for IRAS); the data analysis and management ecosystem (reported for LSDMA); broad issues of human-machine interaction (reported for CHuman) and cybersecurity research (reported for CSP); and general neuromorphic computing (reported for EHCS).

5. Totals might not sum exactly due to rounding.