The Department of Defense (DoD) wants information on how to support and expand its artificial intelligence (AI) workforce, according to a request for information (RFI) posted Oct. 14 on


Specifically, the Army Contracting Command-Rock Island and the Chief Digital and AI Office (CDAO) – the lead for the Department of Defense’s AI work – want to identify sources that could provide staffing support for its AI, machine learning (ML), and data science workforce.


“As the DOD expands its workforce in the AI workspace, it must maintain a qualified and experienced workforce that can match industry innovations both in speed and execution,” the RFI says.


The department is asking for industry input on incentives the government can offer to ensure positions are filled quickly and attract top talent, and ways the government can create an environment for top-performing, and technical personnel.


In addition, the RFI is exploring options for the DoD’s AI Talent (AIT) 2.0 Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA). The AIT Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) were awarded back in 2020 to bring experts in AI, ML, and data science into the department.


According to the RFI, the labor pool initially established for the first round of AIT awards did not provide enough scope to support all DoD AI activities. AIT 2.0 would use a BOA, which will allow DoD agencies to ask for any position within the task scopes of the agreement.


In addition, the old contract had a $7.5 million call order ceiling under the current BPA, which “has significantly impaired AIT’s ability to support larger agency orders and limits many existing orders,” the RFI states.


The proposed solution is that this next round of AIT contracts will not have a limit on call order amounts, however, orders could be rejected if it exceeds the BOA’s ceiling. The RFI also suggested that AIT 2.0 be fully decentralized from the award, and only need the CDAO to determine the scope before being used by external agencies.


“The government’s goal is to potentially award not to ‘staffing companies’ but to companies that have real experience in the field of AI and can better recruit personnel based on an agency’s mission and needs,” the RFI says.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.