DHS launches hiring push for new AI Corps

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The department wants to hire 50 feds to focus on artificial intelligence.

The Homeland Security Department wants to bring on 50 new artificial intelligence experts this year as part of a hiring sprint the department announced Tuesday. 

The hires will form a new AI Corps for the department — modeled after the White House’s U.S. Digital Service and housed in the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer — that will work on AI projects across the agency.

“Now is the time for tech experts to make a real difference for our country and join the federal government,” said Eric Hysen, the department’s CIO and chief AI officer, in a statement. “We are recruiting faster than ever because the need is urgent.”

DHS says that it’s using recently announced flexible government hiring authorities for AI to speed up the process. 

The hiring push comes months after the White House debuted a wide-ranging executive order on AI, which included an array of directives for agencies both in terms of how they internally use and regulate the technology. Shoring up the government’s expertise on AI with new hires and training for existing feds is a focus that experts say is table stakes to success in other initiatives.

DHS says it wants candidates with expertise in product development and integration, as well as AI and machine learning tech. They’ll be hired remotely at the GS-15 level. Prior government experience isn’t required, nor is a government-style resume. 

The new team follows a DHS AI Task Force set up last spring, which has since been focused on cutting down on fentanyl trafficking, shoring up supply chain cybersecurity, protecting critical infrastructure and countering child exploitation.

Customs and Border Protection already uses a machine learning model to flag suspicious patterns in vehicle-crossings and cars in need of secondary reviews at entry ports, in an effort to cut down on fentanyl and other drugs, DHS says. Elsewhere in the agency, AI is being used to identify sexual exploitation victims and perpetrators and process images of disasters to deliver assistance to those affected. 

“As artificial intelligence becomes more powerful and more accessible than ever before, government needs the support and expertise of our country’s foremost AI experts to help ensure our continued ability to harness this technology responsibly, safeguard against its malicious use, and advance our critical homeland security mission,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement.

Both Mayorkas and Hysen were in Mountain View, California on Tuesday to launch the hiring push and generate interest alongside the DHS customer experience office, the department says.