SOCOM Launches $600M Cloud-Based A.I. Contract (Corrected)
(A June 8 version of this article stated the Global Analytics Platform is a recompete of a contract called eMAPS. Story is updated throughout to indicate SOCOM clarified in a June 15 announcement that eMAPS is not the incumbent contract.)
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The Defense Department’s covert operations wing plans to spend as much as $600 million to expand its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to support global intelligence gathering and analysis, according to a request for information released on June 5.
U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), is one of the Pentagon’s 11 unified combatant commands that is tasked with unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency operations, will seek one or more contractors to upgrade its cloud-based analytics platform, known as the Global Analytics Platform (GAP).
In its present form, the platform offers SOCOM analysts the ability to search through massive amounts of data stored in the intelligence community’s Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) environment built by Amazon Web Services Inc. The next stage of the program promises to “implement commercial best practices to sustain and further develop the GAP architecture” and conduct rapid development of new software applications, according to the RFI.
The GAP RFI consists of two lines of effort:
- Development and systems upgrades: Applying data science and artificial intelligence to improve workflows, and using innovating methods to develop new software applications to support SOCOM missions and personnel.
- Operational system maintenance and sustainment support: Sustaining the existing GAP IT environment’s microservices architecture, ensuring operational availability, while providing on-site technical experts at U.S.-based and global facilities.
SOCOM estimates the contract will have a ceiling value of $300 million to $600 million, and envisions awarding one or more indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with a five to ten-year period of performance.
SOCOM awarded a large-scale artificial intelligence contract in June 2018. The award to Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. is an $885 million contract to develop a common architecture for artificial intelligence known as Enterprise Machine Learning and Persistent Services (eMAPS). It remains the single largest unclassified A.I. contract ever awarded by the U.S. government.
Booz Allen’s current portfolio of Pentagon A.I. contracts could make it a front-runner for a GAP contract. The eMAPS contract has made the McLean, Va.-based systems integrator one of the federal government’s top artificial intelligence contractors, according to Bloomberg Government’s market definition, and has more than $547 million in obligations since fiscal 2016. Booz Allen also won a five-year, $800 million contract to support the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s Joint Warfighter program.
In response to questions from industry, SOCOM clarified in a June 15 update that the GAP RFI is not a recompete of eMAPS, which expires in June 2021. The GAP does have an incumbent contractor — a major defense contractor — according to the update, but SOCOM said it cannot at this time disclose the name.
The RFI directs interested vendors to submit a 15-page response detailing their capabilities corresponding to each line of effort, their experience with Agile software development, and their experience working with the C2S cloud environment. The deadline to submit responses to the RFI is July 30.
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