DoD Taps Startups for Latest AI Project

Jeff Brody

The Department of Defense is expanding opportunities for startups to enter the defense contracting market. Rcently, DoD hosted an industry day where nontraditional companies pitched new artificial intelligence tools to support the military, National Defense Magazine reported Tuesday. The National Security Innovation Network within the Pentagon led the event at 10 Hudson Yards in New York City in support of the agency’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. 

Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. Shanahan, director of JAIC and 2019 Wash100 Award winner, said the event highlighted DoD’s interest in working with startups and efforts to cut acquisition-related bureaucratic red tape. He noted the Pentagon held the industry event outside Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley as both areas have most major companies and contractors.

Greg Ingram, director of business development at Massachusetts-based startup Forge.AI, said DoD is making an effort to work with nontraditional companies. Forge.AI is among the companies that proposed their technology to DoD officials during the New York event, which included Kyndi, Virtualitics, Slingshot Aerospace, Omelas and EpiSys Science.

“Everything I heard today has some applicability to what we’re trying to do in the department and the Joint AI Center,” Shanahan told National Defense. “This was the beginning of I would say many, many engagements where it really shows a level of collaboration and integration with a much broader community.”

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