The Defense Department is seeking tech experts to help manage its Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), the cornerstone of the department’s efforts to develop A.I. technologies and share them with other defense agencies.
The JAIC is seeking “highly technical” contract personnel from up to two small businesses to provide software architecture, operations and systems analysis, technical writing, and subject matter expertise, according to an April 23 request for information.
The turnaround time on this opportunity is short: small businesses have only until April 30 to submit a response.
There is an immediate need for 18-40 contract personnel in fiscal year 2020, all of whom will be required to hold a Top Secret security clearance. Interim security clearances are available.
The JAIC needs contractors with expertise in what’s known as cognitive and human engineering, the practice of developing intelligent systems in close collaboration with users — in this case, Pentagon analysts and military personnel, according to the attached notice. It also requires engineers with expertise in information security to protect the center’s systems and data from theft or tampering by U.S. adversaries.
DOD officials established the center in June 2018 to “scale AI’s impact across DoD through a common foundation that enables decentralized development and experimentation,” according to its website. The JAIC also facilitates collaboration with researchers in industry and academia, and disseminate norms and standards around the use of A.I. The center is set to receive $290 million in total funding in fiscal 2021, according to the president’s budget request.
The notice specifies that the present acquisition is for program management and technical support for the JAIC. It is not a contract for A.I. R&D related to the JAIC’s core mission areas. Due to organizational conflict of interest requirements, organizations cannot compete for this opportunity and for future R&D engagements.
Interested parties areadvised not to respond to the notice with questions about future contracting opportunities at the risk of being barred from future procurements, according to the RFI that said, “Any contractors that contact the JAIC as a result of this posting or to inquire about any other contracting opportunities may be precluded from participating in subsequent RFP/RFQ’s.”
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