The U.S. national strategy on AI is defined through legislation and Executive Orders.  The National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (NAII) was established by the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 (NAIIA) (DIVISION E, SEC. 5001) – bipartisan legislation enacted on January 1, 2021 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. The main purposes of the Initiative are to ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI R&D; lead the world in the development and use of trustworthy AI systems in public and private sectors; prepare the present and future US workforce for the integration of artificial intelligence systems across all sectors of the economy and society; and coordinate ongoing AI activities across all Federal agencies, to ensure that each informs the work of the others.

In support of the Initiative, the NAIIA directs the President, acting through the NAII Office, interagency committee (Select Committee on AI) and agency heads, to sustain consistent support for AI R&D, support AI education and workforce training programs, support interdisciplinary AI research and education programs, plan and coordinate Federal interagency AI activities, conduct outreach to diverse stakeholders, leverage existing Federal investments to advance Initiative objectives, support a network of interdisciplinary AI research institutes; and support opportunities for international cooperation with strategic allies on R&D, assessment, and resources for trustworthy AI systems.

The National AI Initiative builds upon a number of deliverables resulting from the 2019 Executive Order 13859, Maintaining American Leadership in AI, including a growth in AI R&D investments, the establishment of the first seven National AI Research Institutes, work on AI technical standards, OMB guidance for the regulation of AI in the private sector, and new international AI alliances.

Governing the use of AI by the Federal government is the AI in Government Act of 2020 (DIVISION U, TITLE I) and Executive Order 13960, Promoting the Use of Trustworthy AI in the Federal Government.  The AI in Government Act of 2020 (DIVISION U, TITLE I) codifies into law the GSA AI Center of Excellence, which was launched in 2019.  It further calls on the Office of Management and Budget to provide guidance for agency use of AI, and for the Office of Personnel Management to update the occupational series for AI for Federal employees.

Executive Order 13960 establishes principles for the use of AI in the Federal Government, establishes a common policy for implementing the principles, directs agencies to catalogue their AI use cases, and calls on General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Personnel Management to enhance AI implementation expertise at the agencies.

The National AI Initiative provides an overarching framework to strengthen and coordinate AI research, development, demonstration, and education activities across all U.S. Departments and Agencies, in cooperation with academia, industry, non-profits, and civil society organizations.