The benefits of using artificial intelligence (AI) in the federal government are limitless. However, in order to implement AI initiatives that lead to benefits agencies must first have the right resources in place including having a strategic partner.
According to the American AI initiative, the executive order detailing the United States’ national strategy on AI, when agencies prioritize and fund AI projects it not only furthers public policy objectives but promotes scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security. And as Chad Cisco of DataRobot explained during a Tech Leadership Series segment hosted by the Government Matters Thought Leadership Network, resources including the right agency leaders – those that prioritize AI – and the right strategic partner help to make AI initiatives, and the benefits that come as a result, possible.
“What we find a lot of people say is that they don’t [think they have what they need], but most organizations – especially the U.S. Military – do have both the data and the infrastructure [needed] to identify really impactful use cases to leverage AI,” explained Cisco. “It’s just a matter of bringing in the right partner to help find the things that can be done today and [help the agency to] leverage the right enterprise platform, build it, train the team on it, and then help to continue managing it like any other project.”
With resources including the right strategic partner, AI — specifically in the area of defense — presents opportunities at the tip of spear. An example of this is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) work in partnership with the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Centers of Excellence in preparing for future warfare operations. However, it’s not just frontline initiatives that can benefit, it’s those behind the scenes as well. “There’s a tremendous amount of areas where we can use AI to help recruitment, retention, and also [overall] efficiency in terms of predictive maintenance or even demand forecasting,” explained Cisco.
The U.S. Army Office of Business Transformation (OBT), in partnership with DataRobot, demonstrates how AI can positively impact back-end operations. Together they created a complex machine learning intelligence supporting the Army Contracting Command. “We see data as a strategic asset and most recently, we’ve been reviewing the integration of data analytics across the Army,” explained Col. John Eric Richardson, Chief, Acquisition and Logistics Team, Office of Business Transformation, U.S. Army. “We’ve been [searching] for ways we can improve, and we found some areas where we could create some efficiencies.”
With the purpose of seeing contracts from end to end, the partnership between the Army OBT and DataRobot ultimately helps to streamline the contracting process while driving down costs and saving resources. According to Cisco, the most successful AI-driven projects are those that combine people within the agency that have the right domain expertise with a partner that can leverage this expertise and build off it.
The known benefits of AI in the federal government, and specifically within the DoD aren’t new. What’s more recent is the understanding that agencies can’t dive right into implementing AI, they need to be fully prepared. That’s where having the right leadership and having the right strategic partner — to help identify, plan, and implement AI initiatives – is just as important as the AI initiatives themselves.
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