The Department of the Air Force on Aug. 31 issued a broad agency announcement (BAA) on the development of next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to support the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative.
The service branch is allocating $99 million in funding for awards over five years. The Air Force is expected to announce multiple awards under this effort, with individual awards expected to range from $200,000 to $20 million for 48 months.
Work associated with the BAA will facilitate research and development, integration, testing, and evaluation of AI-based capabilities for distributed command and control, according to the BAA posted on Sam.gov.
It will focus on eight technical areas: command and control of AI systems to achieve mission-tailored AI; federated, composable autonomy and AI toolbox; advanced wargaming agents; interactive learning for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence; command and control complexity dominance; generative AI for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence; software-defined, distributed command and control; and tactical AI.
According to the BAA, AI has the potential to transform “the Department of the Air Force and Joint Force Command and Control capabilities across strategic, operational, and tactical levels by enabling decision makers to effectively assess the battlespace, rapidly explore, create, and select the best plan, and direct and monitor forces at pace and scale in a distributed setting.”
“By accelerating the research & development of novel AI-based and distributed capabilities to support [JADC2], the [Department of the Air Force] can achieve a strategic decision advantage, where AI becomes a key and prevalent component to future command and control systems,” the BAA reads.
However, the rise of AI-based software adoption brings new challenges, including the ability to effectively manage, monitor, and adapt deployed AI capabilities and effective command and control in a distributed and contested environment.
Therefore, in addition to the development and application of AI to command and control, the Department of the Air Force is interested in “new concepts and techniques for the battle management and orchestration of AI at pace and scale, how the use of AI by adversaries can be considered in the [command and control] planning and execution process and distributed and collaborative [command and control] to enable [command and control] anywhere and anyplace,” the BAA stated.
The BAA will be open until Aug. 30, 2028, with funding aligned toward fiscal year (FY) 2024 to 2028. Organizations interested in getting funding for work in FY2024 are advised to submit their white papers by Sept. 13.