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Odyssey Featured Program

Pivot Space Domain Awareness (SDA) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Sandbox

AI & Machine Learning IllustrationThe Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Autonomy Portfolio provides a government-team enterprise AI and Autonomy center of excellence. AI talent is rare, expensive, and difficult to develop and retain, and in the DoD these challenges are often compounded by an absence of shared development infrastructure, arduous paths to solution delivery, unclear problem definitions, and inaccessible, unannotated data. Under present conditions, the enterprise is unlikely to successfully acquire and mature government-team technical talent if each program is expected to do so independently.

The AI and Autonomy Portfolio solves this problem in the space enterprise by concentrating talent to achieve network effects in hiring and retention through a combination of shared digital infrastructure, reduced solution development and deployment friction, and compelling, approachable problems. This approach is demonstrably successful.

Over the past four years, the AI and Autonomy team—Zach Gazak, Ryan Swindle, Matthew Phelps, Jeremy Case, and Kimmy Chang—supported by SSC/SZGA and the Pivot Space Domain Awareness (SDA) AI and Autonomy Sandbox, has matured into a department-leading AI and Autonomy solution center, and has deployed several novel AI-backed solutions to real-world SDA challenges.

Simultaneously, the role of this organization has grown to include technical advice to numerous external programs, including the MIT AI Accelerator, DAF Digital University, and the AFRL Synthetic Cognition Technologies technical area.

The portfolio comprises three mutually enabling technical lines of effort:

  • Machine Intelligence for Space Superiority (MISS): Envision, design, develop, and deliver full-stack AI solutions to targeted SDA sensing, perception, control, and exploitation challenges. Examples include high-sensitivity space object detection for breakups, novel deep space object identification using hyperspectral imagery perception, and autonomous resolved imagery exploitation for real-time sensemaking.
  • Mission-driven Autonomous Collaborative Heterogeneous Network Architecture (MACHINA): Design, develop, and deliver an enterprise-ready, decentralized, autonomous sensor Command and Control (C2) solution. MACHINA is primarily supported by the Global Sensor Watch program, for which it is the principal technology investment made in pursuit of global, autonomous SDA. Continued support also fulfills the SSC/SZG DOTS ATD transition commitment.
  • Digital Infrastructure for Data and Analytics (DIDA): Design, develop, deploy, and support software to solve targeted digital infrastructure deficiencies in the space domain. Examples include DEUS Ex for enterprise DevSecOps risk reduction, SensorCapsule for GEODSS and Delta 2 sensor data connectivity to UDL, and AMIGOS.

The AI and Autonomy portfolio is government-led, with Advisory & Assistance Services (A&AS) AI, autonomy, and astronomical imaging and instrumentation Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) organized around a team lead that reports to the SSC/SZGA Portfolio Manager. In addition to the more traditional Program Management Organization (PMO) support, these SMEs ideate, design, prototype, and sometimes deliver full solutions to SDA challenges. This approach is comparatively management-intensive, requiring the government to retain recognizance of technical matters that are more commonly delegated to performance contractors. To scale successful prototypes and accomplish large-scale projects, Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) are formed with performance contractors, who provide technical labor and materiel under collaborative A&AS guidance. Program management activities, ranging from Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) support through weekly technical execution management, are performed by the empowered government technical team, creating a self-sufficient team that can articulate and pursue a unified vision across the acquisition lifecycle.

The success of this approach contrasts sharply with the challenges encountered department-wide in the acquisition of AI and autonomy technology solutions and serves as an exemplar for future acquisitions.

Justin Fletcher
A&AS Support to SSC/SZGA

Coming in October: The Odyssey Core Values Award!

Odyssey is excited to introduce our very first corporate Core Values Award. We’ve developed this opportunity as a way to celebrate the people who live our values every day by exemplifying Odyssey’s three core values: Respect, Commitment, and Ambition. Keep a look out for more info to come!