The General Services Administration expects that its new partnership with the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center will ultimately lead to significant benefits for civilian agencies.
The GSA is working with JAIC, which was established last year to speed up AI adoption across the Pentagon, to accelerate the center’s process by adding AI into acquisition work, which GSA officials said they hope to turn around and offer civilian government.
“We’re able to utilize a lot of that educational material [and] best practices that they’re getting and scale it up, standardize it in a sense so it can be spread among civilian agencies,” said Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi, acquisition lead at the GSA Centers of Excellence, speaking Dec. 5 at the GovernmentCIO AI and RPA in Government conference. "All of the AI that we’re procuring for them, we’re also hoping to procure for ourselves,” Ghaffari-Tabrizi added.
One frustration with the acquisition process is the time it takes from the start of the project to the end. By adding AI into the JAIC’s acquisition process, the goal is to deliver capabilities to support the war fighter quicker.
“Technology changes so rapidly that there needs to be a way in the acquisition space to speed that up,” said Michelle McNellis, acquisition lead at the GSA Centers of Excellence.
McNellis said that the two groups are currently just in the beginning stages and “strategizing internally."
The work between the GSA and DoD is a significant step, Ghaffari-Tabrizi said, because the pair are moving beyond AI processes and shifting the discussion to developing tools. He also said that looking at AI for acquisition professionals is a new, but important, approach.
“We’re so busy trying to satisfy the mission of our project teams that we haven’t been able to have the opportunity to step back and look at what do we need to continue working to support our team members," Ghaffari-Tabrizi said.
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.