DHS’s New “AI Corps” Will Advance President Biden’s Executive Order on AI and Ensure Responsible Use of this Powerful Technology
Secretary Mayorkas to Host Recruitment Event in Mountain View, CA
WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (CAIO) Eric Hysen announced the Department’s first-ever hiring sprint to recruit 50 Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology experts in 2024. The new DHS “AI Corps” is modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, building teams that will help better leverage this new technology responsibly across strategic areas of the homeland security enterprise including efforts to counter fentanyl, combat child sexual exploitation and abuse, deliver immigration services, secure travel, fortify our critical infrastructure, and enhance our cybersecurity.
The AI Corps will bolster the DHS workforce with experts in AI and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, models, and applications who will support policy initiatives to ensure the safe and secure use of AI, while protecting privacy and civil rights and civil liberties.
Using the Office of Personnel Management’s new flexible hiring authorities for AI-related jobs, DHS has worked to streamline and expedite the federal hiring process to ensure qualified candidates receive offers as quickly as possible.
“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 N. Mayorkas. “Our new AI Corps initiative will make it easier to bring these talented, experienced, creative men and women into public service quickly. The DHS AI Corps will enable the Department of Homeland Security to keep up with the pace of innovation as we enhance our work combating fentanyl traffickers, rescuing victims of child sexual exploitation, countering cyberattacks, assessing disaster damage, and much more.”
The DHS AI Corps AI Technology experts will be part of the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer and will work on a variety of projects across the Department advancing AI innovation and use. They will provide expertise in AI/ML, data science, data engineering, program management, product management, software engineering, cybersecurity, and safe, secure, and responsible use of these technologies.
Secretary Mayorkas and CIO Hysen will launch the hiring effort at an event in Mountain View, CA. The event is designed to generate interest in AI career opportunities within the Department. Leaders from the Department and DHS agencies and offices will demonstrate to technologists from industry their use of AI to support their missions. Leaders from the DHS Office of Customer Experience, launched in 2022, will discuss their approach to using AI to improve service deliver; representatives of Homeland Security Investigations will showcase the role machine learning plays in countering online child sexual exploitation and abuse; Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will present on ways AI can enhance immigration and citizenship services; and FEMA officials will present on ways new technology can more quickly deliver disaster and humanitarian relief.
“Now is the time for tech experts to make a real difference for our country and join the federal government,” said Chief Information Officer and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer Eric Hysen. “Modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, the AI Corps will deploy teams of AI technology experts across DHS to solve problems and modernize the delivery of services to the public. We are recruiting faster than ever because the need is urgent. More Americans interact with DHS every day than any other federal agency, so the better and faster we can deploy responsible AI, the more it can positively impact the American people. We are prioritizing recruiting talent who are technologically proficient and eager to leverage recent innovations in AI to transform the way people interact with the government.”
AI is already delivering significant value across DHS missions. For example:
Fentanyl Interdiction: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses a ML model to identify potentially suspicious patterns in vehicle-crossing history. CBP recently used the model to flag a car for secondary review at a port of entry, which yielded the discovery of over 75 kilograms of drugs hidden in the automobile. Last year alone, machine learning models that help CBP Officers determine which suspicious vehicles and passengers to refer to secondary screening have led to 240 seizures, which included thousands of pounds of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
Combatting Online Child Sex Abuse: Last year, Homeland Security Investigation completed Operation Renewed Hope, which focused on protecting children from sexual abuse online. Through new AI technology, DHS identified more than 300 previously unknown victims of sexual exploitation and identified perpetrators thanks in part to a ML model that enhanced older images to provide investigators with new leads.
Assessing Disaster Damage: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses AI to assess damage to homes, buildings, and other property after a disaster more efficiently. Using ML, FEMA’s analysts are able to process images in days, as opposed to weeks, and provide disaster assistance to survivors that much faster.
Last year, DHS established the Department’s first AI Task Force and named CIO Hysen its first Chief AI Officer. The Task Force is working across the DHS mission to identify areas where AI can improve its work. For instance, it is working to enhance the integrity of our supply chains and the broader trade environment by helping deploy AI to improve cargo screening, the identification of imported goods produced with forced labor, and risk management. The Task Force is also charged with using AI to better detect fentanyl shipments, identify and interdict the flow of precursor chemicals around the world, and disrupt key nodes in criminal networks.
DHS’s work on AI is part of a whole-of-government effort to address this emerging technology. In October, President Biden issued an Executive Order, “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” which directed DHS to promote the adoption of AI safety standards globally, protect U.S. networks and critical infrastructure, reduce the risks that AI can be used to create weapons of mass destruction, combat AI-related intellectual property theft, and help the United States attract and retain skilled talent, among other missions.
To learn more about how DHS uses AI technologies to protect the homeland, visit Artificial Intelligence at DHS.