The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is considering setting up a nonprofit manager for its new prototype AI Acquisition Business Model, according to a request for information (RFI) posted August 29.

The JAIC is partnering with the Army Contracting Command Rock Island on the RFI. The JAIC’s AI Acquisition Business Model would leverage Other Transactional Authorities (OTA) to deliver AI capabilities through “meaningful market research/front-end collaboration and optimal teaming arrangements of both traditional and non-traditional companies for AI product procurement.” Additionally, the JAIC said it would like to explore the possibilities of using its new model to “enable agile AI acquisition processes to the DoD at scale.”

The goals of the prototype JAIC AI Acquisition Business Model are to:

  • “Maximize outreach to non-traditional (e.g.., small business) industry and academic partners.
  • Create an acquisition model that is utilized by the Services and DoD agencies.
  • Maximize use of automated processes (e.g., online portal for requirements definition, collaboration, source selection, and performance monitoring).
  • Facilitate integration and transition to acquisition programs of record (using agile and DevSecOps practices).
  • Increase use of agile methods for training, tools, and policy development.
  • Maximize utilization of the JAIC’s Joint Common Foundation AI Development Platform.”

To achieve those goals, JAIC identified objectives that would be included in “the ideal acquisition approach for standardized development and procurement of AI technologies and products.” Key objectives are:

  • Streamline the award and execution process;
  • Ensure that the purchasing agency maintains the ability to transition from non-Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based contracts to FAR-based contracts;
  • Include a strong business user interface that is, among other things, transparent, decentralized, and supportive of collaboration;
  • Imbed a capability to vet participation in the model while maintaining a low barrier of entry for maximum outreach;
  • Establish metrics and methods for measuring project success;
  • Provide tools and practices the government can leverage to construct a robust training capability that maximizes use of AI solutions;
  • Ensure and promote implementation and scalability of AI solutions after prototypes prove successful; and
  • Ensure adoption, implementation, and oversight of responsible AI, including the DoD AI Ethical Principles.

JAIC also noted that it doesn’t “intend to create (but have not ruled out creating) a new consortium; instead, we are interested in finding ways to leverage existing capabilities under a single umbrella.”

In addition to seeking broader feedback on its goals and objectives, JAIC also provided a lengthy list of questions for industry experts to answer. Submissions are due no later than Sept. 16.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.