WASHINGTON — Under a new deal, LMI and MORSE Corp will furnish a range of data management and analytic services to help scale artificial intelligence across the Department of Defense.

The companies this week said they were awarded a basic ordering agreement for the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s Data Readiness Artificial Intelligence Development program, which aims to have vast amounts of Defense Department data ready for AI applications.

It was not immediately clear if any other teams were selected for the contract, worth up to $241 million, according to MORSE.

Kristen Cheman, a vice president of digital and analytical solutions, said in a March 14 statement LMI is “well equipped and ready to help the DoD JAIC deliver efficient data-readiness through our partnerships within the AI software industry, our academic partnerships within the LMI Research Institute, and our staff of over 500 data engineers, data scientists, and developers.”

The Data Readiness Artificial Intelligence Development initiative spans “the entire AI data preparation lifecycle, from data ingestion, through labeling, right up to before model training begin,” according to the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. A request for proposals and a five-year work statement were unveiled last year.

“AI systems are beginning to transform our approach to national security, but they cannot meet their potential without quality data and agile data systems that enable organizations to rapidly develop AI,” Christian Borden, MORSE’s chief engineer for JAIC programs, said in a statement March 15. “We look forward to helping the JAIC and Department of Defense users develop and deploy purpose-built systems that manage their data in an ethical, automated, and impactful manner so their solutions accelerate the implementation of AI and can be scaled to have a department-wide impact.”

Almost 400 industry questions were submitted in response to an earlier draft RFP. A notice on a government contracting website later said a “high number of proposals” were received.

The new agreement will put LMI and MORSE in close contact with the military services as uses for artificial intelligence are further identified and worked through. Both were also chosen for a $249 million multiple-award JAIC test-and-evaluation blanket purchase agreement earlier this year.

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center was established in 2018 and is overseen by the chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, or CDAO, a new Pentagon position stood up to better align data, analytics, digital solutions and AI efforts.

This article was updated March 16 to include information about MORSE. The original article only mentioned LMI.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.