DOD Takes Additional Step to Unify and Accelerate AI Acquisition

Published: September 07, 2022

Federal Market AnalysisArtificial Intelligence/Machine LearningContracting TrendsDEFENSEOther Transaction Agreements (OTAs)

DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office issues the draft for the Tradewind Solutions Marketplace concept, a centralized location with vetted industry video entries for data, analytics, digital and AI/ML solutions.

One of the goals of DOD’s former Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) was to streamline the rapid procurement and delivery of AI capabilities and solutions to the department. Accordinly, the JAIC, in conjunction with the Army Contracting Command and the Indiana Innovation Institute, initiated the Tradewind initiative in February 2021.

Acknowledging the typical burden of DOD’s standard acquisition regulations and culture, Tradewind provides a collaborative platform among industry, academia and government to quickly acquire AI solutions to potentially meet DOD needs and challenges. According to the site’s announcement, “The ultimate goal is to achieve rapid procurement (30-90 days) and successful delivery (using modern software acquisition strategies).” DOD’s new Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO), which integrated the JAIC and several other offices earlier this year, now manages Tradewind.  

Currently, the Tradewind site achieves its mission through three key components:

  • A managed service that interfaces with DOD to understand its needs and challenges that can be solved by AI.
  • The Test and Evaluation Services Blanket Purchase Agreement (T&E BPA) for test technology and tools in AI and autonomy applications. The BPA includes a range of T&E services including the acquisition, development, integration and support of AI tools and services into targeted environments.
  • An online marketplace to announce AI opportunities to industry and collaborate with partners and key AI tech vendors.

Recently, DOD introduced its latest venture in AI acquisition, the Tradewind Solutions Marketplace, which is anticipated to join the Tradewind ecosystem. The CDAO envisions the Marketplace as a single location for vetted vendor video pitches and solutions in data, analytics, digital and AI/ML capabilities. Once a submitted video meets DOD assessments and is placed in the Marketplace, the solution is readily awardable via an Other Transaction Agreement or other contract mechanism. The rapid acquisition process helps to meet government research and innovative efforts with minimal obstacles.

According to the Marketplace’s draft, the platform will initially focus on the following strategic areas:

  • Improving situational awareness and decision-making
  • Increasing safety of operating equipment
  • Implementing predictive maintenance and supply
  • Streamlining business processes
  • Assuring cybersecurity
  • Discovering Blue Sky Technology Applications

The draft proceeds to outline the anticipated format, requirements and assessments for video solution submissions. The CDAO is seeking public feedback on the draft through September 30th.The Tradewind Solutions Marketplace is anticipated to “go live” in the first quarter of FY 2023.

For additional insight to DOD’s AI priorities and initiatives, refer to Deltek’s Federal Artificial Intelligence Landscape, 2023 report.