The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint AI Center (JAIC) is soliciting help from industry to figure out what ways the center can use AI to automate the procurement process. The JAIC will have acquisition authority beginning in fiscal year 2022, and the solicitation will look to help make that process easier.

In anticipation of that increased authority, the JAIC is looking for an automated, AI-powered end-to-end contracting solution that “includes AI abilities in order to transform and accelerate contracting and associated acquisition business processes,” the solicitation says.

“DoD business operations often rely on outdated technology or manually intensive, error-prone, costly, and slow processes, resulting in a wealth of unexploited data resources, wasted labor hours, and gross inefficiencies,” the solicitation states. “The goal of embedding AI technology into the solution is to reduce inefficiencies from manual, laborious, data-centric tasks, simplifying workflows, and improving the accuracy of repetitive tasks throughout the contract life cycle.”

Specifically, the JAIC is looking for a solution that is able to leverage AI to streamline the procurement and contracting process, automate any possible procurement and contracting processes, and discover new models and solutions that may have DoD applications.

Currently, the JAIC has observed a gap in capabilities between its burgeoning acquisition authorities and its ability to easily work through the procurement process. The ideal solution would create efficiencies in the agency’s regulatory processes, contract award lead time, data analytics, performance management, and audit compliance.

“There is no Joint DoD common infrastructure and platform that would enable collaboration and execution of contracts with partners across the DoD,” the solicitation states. “Our users have to build infrastructure platforms from scratch when a need arises, which leads to limited economies of scale, constant integration problems, and higher cybersecurity risk. The end state solution must consider possible scalability across the DoD given this constraint.”

The solicitation and award contract will take place in three phases. The first phase finished on Oct. 4 and consisted of a discovery phase. From that first phase, the JAIC will select proposals and organizations to come in for a 45 minute “get to the point” pitch. The final phase of the process will result in the government selecting multiple proposals for a $50,000 prototype award. Any subsequent or larger awards can be awarded depending on prototype milestones and whether the prototype exceeds government expectations.

The JAIC is looking to implement a beta solution by March 15, 2022.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.