Department of Homeland Security starts its “AI Corps”

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the first 10 hires for its newly established AI Corps, according to an exclusive release shared with Axios.

U.S. officials have highlighted the need for more expertise in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools within the federal government. The 50-person AI Corps, modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, will explore ways to utilize AI across DHS’s operations, including countering fentanyl trafficking, combating online child sexual exploitation, and enhancing cybersecurity.

“The interest in it has been phenomenal,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Axios on Monday. “We need that expertise to really fuel our interest in leading the federal government in the safe and responsible deployment of AI to advance our mission.”

According to the release, the following individuals have been selected to join DHS’s AI Corps:

1. Sadaf Asrar: Former AI tech expert for the National Center for Education Statistics.
2. Zach Fasnacht: Previously a senior product manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
3. Pramod Gadde: Founder of several healthcare-related startups, including AI startup Confidante.
4. Sean Harvey: Former lead for YouTube’s trust and safety team focused on global elections and misinformation.
5. Jenny Kim: Principal product manager at McKinsey & Co. and an alumna of the DHS Digital Service.
6. Babatunde Oguntade: Senior principal data scientist at CACI International, supporting agencies like the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
7. Christine Palmer: Former chief technology officer of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
8. Dr. Stephen Quirolgico: Worked on advanced technology projects at DHS, NIST, and DARPA.
9. Raquel Romano: Senior director of engineering at Fora and a U.S. Digital Services alumnus.
10. Robin Rosenberger: Director in the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office.

The competition for these roles has been intense. Secretary Mayorkas previously mentioned in April that the department received over 3,000 applications for the 50 available spots. The selected members come from diverse backgrounds, including roles within the U.S. government, Big Tech companies, startups, and the research community.

New flexible hiring practices for AI-related jobs have enabled DHS to compete with private sector roles and expedite the hiring process. “Things move more rapidly, and so we’re moving more rapidly, as well, to meet the moment,” Mayorkas added.

 

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