DoD Enters Into $106 Million Contract for AI Environment

 In Intelligence, Defense, Sea, Forces & Capabilities, Environment, Information

The Defense Department is begin­ning work on a self-con­tained envi­ron­ment where coders can test and val­i­date arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence to be used by the mil­i­tary as a whole.

The Defense Information Systems Agency, along with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), award­ed a $106 mil­lion con­tract Wednesday to build the Joint Common Foundation Artificial Intelligence (JCF).

“JCF will pro­vide an AI devel­op­ment envi­ron­ment to test, val­i­date, and field AI capa­bil­i­ties at scale across the Department of Defense,” said JAIC spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson in a state­ment. “The impact of the JCF will come from enterprise-wide access to AI tools and data for AI devel­op­ers across the depart­ment and its part­ners that will help syn­chro­nize AI projects, reduce devel­op­ment redun­dan­cy, and enable the broad deploy­ment of AI-enabled solu­tions to the tac­ti­cal edge where front line oper­a­tors can ben­e­fit from these capa­bil­i­ties.”

The con­tract went to Deloitte Consulting in a sys­tems engi­neer­ing, tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion prime inte­gra­tor task order. The per­for­mance period will start on Aug. 17 and last for one year. From there DoD has the option to award follow-on work each year for the next three years at $31 mil­lion each.

As the prime vendor, Deloitte will oper­ate as the lead inte­gra­tor of all con­tract acti­vates to pro­vide, oper­ate, main­tain, secure and enhance JCF.

According to the JAIC web­site, JCF will reduce tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers to DoD-wide adop­tion of AI by pro­vid­ing a test bed for tech­nol­o­gy. It will also accel­er­ate secu­ri­ty assess­ments of AI pro­duces, encour­age effi­cien­cies and mit­i­gate risk by pro­vid­ing a cyber-hard­ened envi­ron­ment.

“We are design­ing the JCF to ingest data that is secure, nor­mal­ized, cat­e­go­rized, and stored for max­i­mum reuse and shar­ing,” Denise Hodge, infor­ma­tion sys­tems secu­ri­ty man­ag­er at JAIC, said in March. “We are also pur­su­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships to cap­i­tal­ize on the great work that has already taken place across the U.S. mil­i­tary as well as the advances made by our indus­try and aca­d­e­m­ic part­ners. Cybersecurity is the thread that binds the enter­prise cloud togeth­er.”

JAIC is still coming into its own as an orga­ni­za­tion that is trying to make AI per­me­ate through­out the depart­ment.

The DoD Inspector General, the RAND Corporation and the National Security Commission on AI all had cri­tiques for the orga­ni­za­tion in the recent past.

JAIC acting Director Nand Mulchandani dis­missed con­cerns ear­li­er this summer, how­ev­er.

“Things are moving so fast,” Mulchandani told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday. “A lot of the reports focused on the early days of the JAIC — stand­ing it up, what the issues are essen­tial­ly for AI across the DoD. Ironically, it turns out that most or all of the issues were already addressed by the time the report came out. Even while the report was being writ­ten we had addressed a couple of those issues. We wel­come the report, but things are moving so fast, and JAIC is chang­ing so fast, that many of them are no longer rel­e­vant.”

Federal News Network source|articles

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