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U.S. Army unveils new AI/ML and wearables contracts for innovative small businesses

Published: 01/06/2023
Radiation Sensor Wearables

By Daniel Smoot, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army seeks cutting-edge small-business technologies to develop and deliver critical artificial intelligence/machine learning and wearables solutions to Soldiers.

The Army Applied SBIR Program recently released two Phase I contract opportunities — one of which is the program’s first AI/ML open-topic solicitation, which will award up to $150,000 over a three-month period for small businesses to develop Trusted AI and Autonomy.

The Army Applied SBIR Program created this Small Business Innovation Research contract opportunity to not only attract non-traditional businesses unfamiliar with the program but also to broaden the defense industrial base.

This fuels increased interest from several stakeholders while providing awarded companies the opportunity to collaborate with different organizations.

They also match the Army’s modernization and sustainment efforts as well as the Department of Defense’s focus on providing U.S. warfighters new science and technology capabilities in the field.

Meanwhile, the other Army Applied SBIR Program solicitation will award up to $250,000 over six months to small businesses developing wearables solutions.

Proposal responses must fall within the scope of each respective solicitation:

  • AI/ML for Trusted AI and Autonomy: The AI/ML solicitation is an open topic and must address six core requirements. This includes synthetic data generation, automated detection and prevention, and automated data labels. Businesses should also focus on biometric authentication, natural language analysis and supply chain resilience.
  • Wearable Radiation Sensors: This solicitation seeks to develop a wearable radiation detection sensor that will reduce the size, weight and power requirements of present technologies, while also improving Soldiers’ operational maneuverability across the Army.

“Trusted AI and Autonomy technologies could help the Army streamline several tactical processes,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “We must also ensure Soldiers’ safety and capabilities through compact wearable solutions.”

Once the Army Applied SBIR Program evaluates and selects small businesses, the new Army SBIR Contracting Center of Excellence makes it easier and faster for companies to do business with the Army. The contracting COE awards, administers and closes out all Phase I and Phase II contracts under one centralized office.

The contracting COE also streamlines contracting processes to not only help the Army rapidly respond to emerging needs, but also to quickly fund small businesses developing and delivering technologies across the Army enterprise.

“The Army SBIR Program works directly with Army customers and transition partners to tackle critical Army needs,” Willis said. “We need to make sure Soldiers have the most advanced technological and strategic capabilities. Through the Army SBIR contracting COE, Soldiers will have access to these novel solutions faster than ever.”

The pre-release period for the new solicitations is from December 15, 2022, to January 9, 2023. During this time, businesses can submit questions through email, or on the Defense SBIR|STTR Innovation Portal. Qualified companies can submit proposals starting January 10, 2023, through January 31, 2023, at noon Eastern Standard Time. Full proposal packages must be submitted through the DSIP Portal.

The Army Applied SBIR Program provides a valuable opportunity for small businesses to engage with technical, acquisition and operational subject matter experts. These experts offer insight into technology needs, while also guiding them through the Army research and development ecosystem.

Small businesses team up with technical points of contact that serve as resources as they mature their technologies for transition into Army acquisition programs. The program’s flexibility and timeliness also maximize the initial cash flow for small businesses, while minimizing the time to contract.

The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on an ad-hoc basis to respond to Soldiers’ current and anticipated technology needs. For a list of open topics and eligibility information, visit

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology gives the American Soldier a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. It also leverages its technological capabilities to meet current and future Army needs. For more information, visit

Radiation Sensor Wearables

U.S. Army unveils new AI/ML and wearables contracts for innovative small businesses

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