WASHINGTON — The Defense Information Systems Agency awarded a $106 million contract to Deloitte Consulting to build the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub’s AI development platform, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Aug. 12.

The company will “design and build” the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s Joint Common Foundation, a capability that DoD AI leadership has stated will be integral in developing, testing and fielding AI capabilities. The contract has a one-year base period worth $31 million with three option years through August 2024.

Work is scheduled to start Aug. 17, according to Lt. Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, spokesperson for the JAIC.

“The Joint Common Foundation will provide an AI development environment to test, validate and field AI capabilities at scale across the Department of Defense,” Abrahamson said. “The impact of the JCF will come from enterprise‐wide access to AI tools and data for AI developers across the Department and its partners that will help synchronize AI projects, reduce development redundancy and enable the broad deployment of AI-enabled solutions to the tactical edge where front line operators can benefit from these capabilities.”

Deloitte will serve as the lead system integrator for all contractor solutions for the JCF, he said. It will “provide, operate, maintain, secure and enhance the JCF with platforms and tools that can be shared and distributed to end-users across the Department of Defense enterprise,” according to the press release.

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is the DoD’s lead organization on accelerating AI adoption across the department. The center has undertaken several projects since being stood up in 2018, including predictive maintenance and disaster relief work. Its portfolio continues to expand, this year taking on its first lethality project—known as the joint warfighting initiative—and entering the information warfare fight as well. The JAIC also awarded a five-year contract potentially worth up to $800 million to Booz Allen Hamilton in May for work related to the joint war fighting initiative.

The award of the JCF contract is an important step as the JAIC continues to mature. For the center, “the end state is an AI development environment that will accelerate the testing, validation and fielding of AI capabilities across the U.S. military,” Abrahamson 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.

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