DOD lands major contract for war-fighting AI

The Defense Department used one of the General Services Administration's government wide contracts to get AI for future warfighting capabilities.

The Defense Department's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) tapped Booz Allen Hamilton for a five-year, $800 million contract to develop AI for warfighting operations.

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced the contract award on May 18, saying DOD used its Alliant 2 government wide acquisition contract for the award.

In a "transformational shift," said the announcement, DOD will embed AI into decision-making and data analysis across its operations. The contract, it said, also aligns with the White House's Executive Order on AI that looks to leverage the technology to tackle unique challenges across government.

"The Joint Warfighting mission initiative will provide the Joint Force with AI-enabled solutions vital to improving operational effectiveness in all domains," said Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the DoD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in the joint May 18 GSA/DOD statement. "This contract will be an important element as the JAIC increasingly focuses on fielding AI-enabled capabilities that meet the needs of the warfighter and decision-makers at every level," he said.

According to the statement, task orders from the contract for products and services will include data labeling, data management and conditioning, as well as move AI into new and existing DOD programs.

According to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, the contract shows the importance of pairing the agency's Federal Acquisition Service and its Technology Transformation Service and TTS' Centers of Excellence to drive new capabilities for its federal customers.

"This award represents an important step in the JAIC's delivery of AI solutions across the Department of Defense," she said. "I'm thrilled that the merger of TTS and FAS in 2017 continues to reap benefits for our customers."

TTS Director Anil Cheriyan said the contract shows that the CoE and JAIC "continue to learn from each other and identify lessons that can be shared broadly across the federal space."

This article was first published on FCW, a partner site of Defense Systems. 

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