Booz Allen Hamilton wins five-year, $885 million AI contract with Pentagon

06 August 2018 3 min. read

Management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has been awarded a five-year, $885 million contract to help the Department of Defense and intelligence community implement productivity-enhancing AI technology.

According to research and consulting firm Gartner, artificial intelligence augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value in 2021. The technology will also recover 6.2 billion hours in worker productivity, automating mundane tasks and freeing up workers to do higher-level work. Similarly to the private sector, the US government and military are investing in artificial intelligence to gain a competitive edge, unlock productivity, and keep abreast of geopolitical rivals China and Russia.

In line with this, management and technology consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton has been awarded a five-year, $885 million contract to provide an Enterprise Machine Learning Analytics and Persistent Services (eMaps) solution to the US Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence community. Booz Allen’s AI solutions will help the DoD analyze and process huge volumes of data in areas like national security and health care.

“The high volume, variety, and velocity of intelligence acquired across the U.S. government cannot be harnessed by people alone,” commented Booz Allen’s Executive Vice President Judi Dotson. “Our team of expert data scientists and engineers will apply cutting-edge solutions to deliver integrated eMAPS support to unlock the value of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, which will give warfighters positioned around the world the tools they need to drive U.S. national security forward.”Booz Allen Hamilton wins five-year, $885 million AI contract with PentagonIn conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Booz Allen Senior Vice President Josh Sullivan said that neural network AI systems that mimic the human brain can watch 12-15 drone video feeds at the same time, identifying and labeling strategic objects like cars and weapons. This basic and routine work is currently done by human soldiers.

Sullivan further said that AI could also save time for military doctors by analyzing and highlighting heart imaging, freeing them up to spend more time with patients. Pilot projects are already underway at the DoD that are leveraging AI to find new ways to treat brain injuries and identify heart disease.

The sizeable contract with the government-focused consultancy is the latest effort of the DoD to upgrade its artificial intelligence capabilities. The Pentagon recently established the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) to serve as a collaboration point for industry and academia, attract top AI talent to the department, and to accelerate its work in AI.

In June, Google said it would not renew its contract with the DoD on Project Maven – where the tech giant was developing an AI algorithm to help the military more efficiently sift through huge volumes of drone video surveillance. The announcement came after a large backlash from Google employees, with thousands signing an internal letter questioning the firm’s involvement in the ‘business of war.’

Josh Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal that all AI projects go through a review process at Booz Allen to make sure that they meet the firm’s standards and values.