Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Government , Industry Specific

US DOD Seeks Commercial Partner for AI Governance Overhaul

Defense Department Issues Open Call for Private Sector AI Governance Partner
US DOD Seeks Commercial Partner for AI Governance Overhaul
The Department of Defense's Chief Digital and AI Office published an open call for a commercial partner to assist in enhancing AI governance. (Image: Shutterstock)

The U.S. Department of Defense is on the hunt for a commercial partner to help bolster its artificial intelligence governance processes as the department ramps up AI deployment.

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Defense earlier this month published an open call "to attract and identify a partner" capable of assisting the Chief Digital and AI Office in the implementation of enhanced departmentwide AI governance processes. The department wants assistance in identifying where new mechanisms need to be built into existing processes "and to develop a road map for advising components on doing so."

The open call comes as the DOD significantly expands its deployment of advanced AI systems across components, driven by its 2023 data, analytics and AI adoption strategy that calls for the acceleration of AI technologies throughout the department. DOD identified at least 685 AI projects in an initial inventory conducted a year before the release of its AI adoption strategy.

CDAO also publicly released a Responsible AI toolkit in 2023 as part of the department's responsible AI strategy and implementation pathway. The toolkit details 64 lines of effort required to operationalize the department's AI ethical principles.

The vendor would work with the CDAO's Responsible AI division - Defense's primary technical adviser on the responsible implementation of AI systems - to develop technical tools, guidance and new governance mechanisms for the entire department. DOD wants candidates who have previous experience assisting large organizations in establishing technology governance processes and who can conduct large-scale evaluations across its components to help "develop recommendations for a path forward."

The open call states that DOD "already has many robust governance processes" but says the CDAO's Responsible AI division "seeks to map those existing mechanisms" with new strategies to properly identify and mitigate AI risks across the department.

Vendors have until Sunday to apply to the effort the department is calling its AI Governance Evaluation and Implementation Project. DOD said the goal is in part to establish a foundational understanding of its own AI governance landscape and to develop a comprehensive approach for advising department components on appropriate AI governance processes.

DOD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The open call says the agency will first launch a pilot implementation plan to assess outcomes and eventually develop "a comprehensive framework for advising diverse components on AI governance mechanisms."

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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