DHS Makes First AI Corps Hires to Enhance Federal AI Capabilities

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced its first 10 hires for the newly formed AI Corps, as detailed in a release exclusively shared with Axios.

Why It Matters

U.S. officials emphasize the need for more expertise to determine the best ways to safely leverage artificial intelligence tools within the federal government.

The AI Corps Initiative

The new 50-person AI Corps, modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, will explore AI applications across DHS’s portfolio, including:

  • Countering fentanyl trafficking
  • Combating online child sexual exploitation
  • Enhancing cybersecurity

Key Quote

“The interest in it has been phenomenal,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Axios. “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.”

New AI Corps Members

According to a press release, the following individuals are joining DHS’s AI Corps:

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

Between the Lines

Competition for these roles has been intense. Mayorkas previously mentioned in April that over 3,000 applications were received for the 50 positions.

The selected members come from diverse backgrounds, including current government employees, Big Tech, startups, and the research community.

Hiring Practices and Future Moves

New flexible hiring practices for AI-related jobs have enabled DHS to compete with private sector roles and fast-track AI Corps hires.

“Things move more rapidly, and so we’re moving more rapidly, as well, to meet the moment,” Mayorkas added.

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