Finding and retaining cybersecurity experts is tough enough, but add in artificial intelligence (AI) expertise and it can be very difficult, but it appears the Department of Homeland Security is moving quickly as they just hired the first 10 members of its “AI Corps.”

This is the first round in DHS’ sprint to recruit 50 AI technology experts.

The new hires will play pivotal roles responsibly leveraging AI across strategic mission areas, including fortifying critical infrastructure, countering fentanyl trafficking, combatting online child sexual exploitation and abuse, delivering immigration services, and enhancing cybersecurity.

The AI Corps brings a range of professional backgrounds to DHS, including from the private sector and academia. The 10 inaugural AI Corps hires are technology experts with backgrounds in AI and machine learning (ML), data science, data engineering, program and product management, software engineering, cybersecurity, and the safe, responsible use of these technologies. Their collective experience and commitment to public service exemplify the high caliber of candidates the Department continues to attract. The hires are:

Sadaf Asrar was an AI Technology expert for the National Center for Education Statistics, responsible for analyzing performance results from the Nation’s Report Card to deepen our understanding of what students know and can do in the United States.

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Zach Fasnacht previously a senior manager of product management at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and prior to that a Lead AI/ML product manager at Allstate Insurance, and a digital projects coordinator at the Library of Congress.

Pramod Gadde was a machine learning lead and founder of several healthcare-related startups, including Confidante, that used conversational AI to address the gaps in mental healthcare.

Sean Harvey former group product manager at Google where he served as the lead on YouTube’s Trust and Safety team focused on global elections and combatting misinformation.

Jenny Kim was principal product manager at McKinsey & Company, leading development of machine learning and advanced analytics solutions for U.S. defense and healthcare clients.

Babatunde Oguntade served at the senior principal data scientist at CACI International where he supported agencies such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command.

Christine Palmer served as chief technology officer of the U.S. Naval Observatory, directly responsible for critical network operations, cybersecurity, and software development.

Stephen Quirolgico has over 25 years of government, industry, and academic research and development experience in areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, networking, and cybersecurity.

Raquel Romano joins with a wealth of private and public sector experience – most recently as senior director of engineering at Fora and previously engineering lead at the United States Digital Service.

Robin L. Rosenberger was the director of interagency IT, data, and analytics initiatives in the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

“Our Department is at the forefront of the federal government in harnessing AI’s potential to achieve the mission. To advance our leadership, we have been recruiting AI talent from around the country, drawing skilled professionals to public service,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We are excited to onboard our first group of AI experts to begin the work of our new AI Corps.”

DHS also announced the appointment of Michael Boyce as the first Director of the DHS AI Corps. Boyce, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), helped write the section on federal use of generative AI in the President’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.

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