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US Air Force Research Laboratory Awards Contract to SGS to Partner On AI-Enabled Resource Planning

SparkCognition Government Systems | April 7, 2021

According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, “New technologies will determine how future conflicts are fought and won.” While artificial intelligence (AI) stands to make a significant impact across various use cases, enhancing mission readiness and decision optimization is at the top of the list of priorities in the changing landscape of warfare. 

In our first blog post, we emphasized the need for leveraging AI to solve the readiness challenge that the US government and its allies face. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a contract with The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Through this contract, we’re excited to work with AFRL and AFWERX to leverage proven commercial technologies and AI expertise to enhance aspects of readiness, including manpower planning and decision optimization. You can read the full press release here.


Who Is AFRL and What Is SBIR?

AFRL’s mission is “leading the discovery, development, and delivery of warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces.” Since its founding in 1997, the organization has worked on notable projects including the Boeing X-37 reusable robotic spacecraft, Active Aeroelastic Wing Technology, and the Advanced Tactical Laser project, among many others. Its SBIR program was established by Congress with the goal of accelerating the identification of small businesses that could provide a solution to warfighters. The program is highly competitive and encourages small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development with the potential for commercialization.

As noted above, our contract through the SBIR program will involve exploring the uses of machine learning to enhance resource planning and decision optimization.

Resource Planning

Across all services and domains, national security leaders are expected to ensure our nation’s ability to act when needed in the most effective and efficient manner possible. That includes determining manpower requirements to meet the demands of Air Force missions, including maintaining full-time and part-time military personnel, officers, civilian employees, and contractors that manage each mission.

However, the processes for determining manpower requirements vary considerably across functions to ensure the needs of each mission are met. For context, distinctive processes have been developed for quantifying the needs for operational, maintenance, and non-maintenance agile combat support personnel. Maintaining manpower requirements is a labor-intensive process that involves vast quantities of data — more than human analysts are able to make sense of without error. Current methodologies, while comprehensive and technically sophisticated, are putting a significant burden on analysts and decision-makers to gather, manage, and interpret data rather than on leveraging it to deliver analysis and insights.

Machine learning can help personnel make effective, timely decisions by analyzing and assessing patterns within the data. Perhaps more importantly, machine learning can drive significant impact at scale by accelerating decision-making based on actionable insights extracted from expansive, disparate data sets. This data-driven approach requires less manual calibration and ultimately produces a higher level of confidence to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and scalability of manpower planning. Our AI-enabled decision optimization solution, built in the US, is a perfect fit for this use case to enhance warfighter readiness in the face of any conflict.

What’s Next?

Working directly with our Air Force customer, we will demonstrate our AI solution’s ability to improve manpower planning and decision optimization and look forward to expanding on new ways to support their efforts with the potential for commercialization. As the first full-spectrum AI company devoted entirely to government and national defense, we are confident in our AI solution’s ability to enhance readiness across a diverse set of missions, and we couldn’t be more excited to have USAF, AFRL, and AFWERX’s support through this project.

To learn more about how we enable mission readiness, visit our solutions page.



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