DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Active
No
Status
Open
Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.
AF242-D021

Topic

Trusted, Generative AI for Acquisition Process Acceleration

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for a research topic titled "Trusted, Generative AI for Acquisition Process Acceleration". The objective of this effort is to improve operational efficacy and enable better strategic positioning through the development of a customizable, AI-assisted software tool for acquisition processes. The tool should automate repetitive tasks, standardize document preparation, attain DoD Authorization to Operate (ATO) at sufficient security levels, and have a scalable and modular architecture. It should also speed up the acquisition process, track critical timeline events, and have user-friendly interfaces. This is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, meaning no Phase I awards will be made. Phase II will involve further development of the technical approach and conducting relevant demonstrations. Phase III will focus on commercialization and transitioning the technology to government and civilian users. The technology keywords include Trusted AI, Generative AI, natural language processing, and workflow automation. The solicitation is open until June 12, 2024. For more information, visit the solicitation link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

 

OBJECTIVE: AFRL faces the challenge of current acquisition and contracting methods being rooted in manual processes and failing to deliver at the speed of need as a result of misalignment, errors, and inconsistencies. To keep up with the rapidly changing technological landscape and new threat dynamics, streamlined, AI-assisted acquisition processes are essential. The objective of this effort is to improve operational efficacy to enable better strategic positioning via a customizable, AI-assisted software tool.

 

DESCRIPTION: A trusted, vetted AI-assisted, automated acquisition workflow for FAR contracting should include the following aspects to meet the stated objective: (1) must include automation of repetitive tasks reserving human resources for decisional and/or complex tasks; (2) must be able to attain DoD Authorization to Operate (ATO) at sufficient security levels to meet contracting needs (Controlled Unclassified Information/Impact Level-5); (3) must standardize document preparation with built-in compliance for regulatory requirements to reduce errors and inconsistencies in acquisition document preparation; (4) must have scalable, modular architecture and be customizable to meet the growing demands of multiple organizations with unique needs; (5) must quantifiably speed up the acquisition process by reducing time-to acceptance, by reducing rework rate, and by reducing overall person-hours spent in pre-contracting document preparation; (6) must track critical timeline events and allow for workflow interruption/reprioritization; and (7) must include simple, user-friendly, adaptable interfaces for program managers, contracting officers/buyers, and management.

 

PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement. This includes determining, insofar as possible, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of ideas appearing to have commercial potential. It must have validated the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential AF stakeholder. The offeror should have defined a clear, immediately actionable plan with the proposed solution and the AF customer. The feasibility demonstration should have; (1) Demonstrated a Phase I-like/prototype software tool that uses customizable, trusted AI; (2) Identified the prime potential AF end user(s) for the non-Defense commercial offering to solve the AF need, i.e., how it has been modified; (3) Demonstrated ability to attain DoD ATO on similar products; and (4) Described if/how the demonstration can be used by other DoD or Governmental customers.

 

PHASE II: Under the phase II effort, the awardee(s)shall sufficiently develop the technical approach, product, or process in order to conduct a two relevant demonstrations using distinct contracting action types. Identification of business model modifications required to further improve product or process relevance to improve efficiency, compliance, and consistency should be documented. These Phase II awards are intended to provide a path to commercialization, not the final step for the proposed solution.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The awardee(s) can expect to pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for transitioning expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Direct access with end users and government customers will be provided with opportunities to receive Phase III awards for providing the government additional research & development, or direct procurement of products and services developed in coordination with the program.

 

REFERENCES:

https://dl.dod.cyber.mil/wp-content/uploads/cloud/pdf/DoD_Cloud_Authorization_Process.pdf;

 

KEYWORDS: Trusted AI; Generative AI; natural language processing; workflow automation

Similar Opportunities

DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning (AI/ML) Focused Open Topic
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) Focused Open Topic. The purpose of this open topic is to bring potentially valuable small business innovations to the Army and expand the relevance of the Army SBIR program to firms who do not normally compete for SBIR awards. The topic accepts both Phase I and Direct to Phase II submissions. Phase I proposals are accepted for a cost up to $250,000 for a 6-month period of performance, while Direct to Phase II proposals are accepted for a cost up to $2,000,000 for a 24-month period of performance. The research areas of focus include synthetic data generation, data validation and verification, AI risk mitigation, large language models, retrieval augmented generation, and collaborative AI technologies. Phase I submissions require a 5-page technical volume, an 8-slide commercialization plan, and a statement of work outlining deliverables. Phase II submissions require a 10-page technical volume, a 5-page feasibility documentation, an 8-slide commercialization plan, and a statement of work. During Phase II, firms must produce prototype solutions that are practical and feasible to operate in edge and austere environments. Phase III focuses on the maturation of the technology to TRL 6/7 and the production of prototypes to support further development and commercialization. The Army will evaluate each product in a realistic field environment and provide solutions to stakeholders for further evaluation. The submission deadline is March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the [solicitation link](https://www.sbir.gov/node/2651299).
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) Advanced Capability Development Open Topic
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) Advanced Capability Development Open Topic. The Space Development Agency (SDA) is looking for novel architecture concepts, systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable leap-ahead improvements for future tranches of currently planned PWSA capability layers or address other emerging warfighter needs. The research areas include trusted AI and autonomy, advanced computing and software, integrated sensing and cyber, hypersonics, microelectronics, integrated network systems-of-systems, space technology, renewable energy generation and storage, advanced infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing. The solicitation is open for Phase II proposals only, and proposers must demonstrate the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of their projects. The research will be conducted in multiple themes, including integrating commercial sensing to the transport layer, developing optical inter-satellite link (OISL) technology and industrial base, cybersecurity, networking, in-space processing, increasing power for spacecraft bus, generic BMC3 hardware and middleware solutions, seamless multi-level security (MLS), and high-performance clocks for space. The Phase III applications of this research include providing low earth orbit communication systems and space-based processing for the distribution of overhead sensor data. The proposal submission deadline is March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation notice on grants.gov or the SDA website.
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - AI-Enhanced TPS Development and Sustainment
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "AI-Enhanced TPS Development and Sustainment" as part of their SBIR program. The objective of this project is to develop an organic capability for field-level maintenance and repair of weapon system electronics, reducing supply chain latency and screening electronic components for No Evidence of Failure (NEOF) at the source. The goal is to achieve faster weapon system repairs, shorter component Turn-Around-Times (TAT), high equipment Operational Availability (Ao), and high unit readiness at lower life-cycle costs. The project will apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) to improve the development, operation, and sustainment of Test Program Sets (TPS) for electronic components of weapon systems. Phase I proposals are accepted with a budget of up to $250,000 for a 6-month period of performance. Phase II will involve TPS hardware and software prototype development, critical design, test, integration, verification, validation, and acceptance. Phase III will focus on dual-use applications such as sensor integration in mobile platforms with AI-assisted guided diagnostics. The project has potential applications across all Army commodities, ground, air, missile, and C5ISR. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the [SBIR topic link](https://www.sbir.gov/node/2651293) or the [solicitation agency website](https://www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/).
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - xTechScalable AI
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "xTechScalable AI" as part of the SBIR program. The Army branch is specifically interested in novel and disruptive concepts and technology solutions that can address the vulnerabilities of current machine learning pipelines and models. The goal is to develop comprehensive security models capable of defending against universal AI threat vectors. The Army is prioritizing proposals that focus on systematic testing and evaluation methods, trusted and secure validation and verification strategies, continuous monitoring capabilities, improved transparency and assurance of code and data, and improved telemetry capabilities. The Army will use the xTechScalable AI prize competition to identify small businesses that meet the criteria for award, and only winners of the competition will be eligible to submit a proposal under this topic. The project will have three phases: Phase I involves submitting a Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposal, Phase II involves producing prototype solutions for evaluation by soldiers, and Phase III involves completing the maturation of the technology and producing prototypes for further development and commercialization. The deadline for proposal submission is March 31, 2025. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the solicitation agency's website at [solicitation_agency_url].