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Military Services Turn to Bots to Automate Contractor Selection

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Military Services Turn to Bots to Automate Contractor Selection

The military services are turning to automation for help in ensuring they can get the best prices for goods and services from government contractors.

The Army is working to introduce algorithms that can quickly determine the fairness of vendor prices, a task that typically requires much manpower, Federal News Network reported Tuesday.

Rebecca Weirick, the deputy secretary of the Army for procurement, said the service uses “little robots” to crawl the web for pricing research. The technology can accomplish in minutes what a human analyst needs up to four months to complete.

The Air Force employs a similar web-crawling technique that reportedly reduces the time it takes to deliver pricing estimates by 85 percent.

Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for contracting, said the technology could eliminate the need for contracting officials and vendors to haggle over historical pricing.

The Navy is also shortening its acquisition timeline but is using a process that is less reliant on robots and artificial intelligence.

 According to Navy procurement official Cindy Shaver, the service allowed Boeing to not submit detailed cost data for its F/A-18 fighter, which the company has been selling to the military for decades. 

Outside of the military services, the Defense Logistics Agency has also adopted robotic process automation to improve productivity in employee onboarding, demand planning, coding of materials and the agency’s enterprise business system. 

According to a report from the Federal RPA Community of Practice, DLA has been saving more than 200,000 hours of work annually since 2018 through automation. 

The report added that DLA’s program office is working to increase its RPA adoption to implement intelligent automation and AI tools

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: AI Air Force Army artificial intelligence automation Cameron Holt Cindy Shaver Defense & Intelligence Federal News Network Federal RPA Community of Practice government contracting military service Navy Rebecca Weirick robotic process automation RPA web crawler