AIS Awarded $98.5 Million Contract

AIS has been awarded Artificial Intelligence-Based Endpoint Defense (ABED), a $98.5 million, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract focused on researching novel and innovative artificial intelligence (AI)-based techniques for enhancing the effectiveness and increasing the autonomy of cyber capabilities being developed by the Air Force and its partnering combatant commands. ABED will result in the delivery of cyber capabilities characterized by greater flexibility, wider applicability, increased precision, and better security. 

“ABED is an opportunity for AIS to integrate and transition unprecedented defenses against the primary attack vectors employed by our adversaries – most notably, embedding sophisticated attack code and data in digital files,” said Salvatore Paladino, Director of Cyber Operations Research and Development at AIS. “This work will leverage AI and machine learning (ML) techniques to reduce the amount of manpower and expertise required to operate cyber tools effectively, at scale, and at the pace of cyber. The solutions developed in ABED will provide a revolutionary advantage for the Air Force, its DoD partners, and commercial entities.” 

ABED is a SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) Phase III award. According to, the SBIR program is highly competitive and encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research and Development aimed at commercializing solutions. A Phase III SBIR effort focuses on work that derives from, extends, or completes capabilities developed under prior SBIR agreements and is funded by sources other than the SBIR program itself. This is the third SBIR Phase III AIS has been awarded, and the second in the last 3 years. 

Work will be performed in Rome, New York, and is expected to be completed by September 30, 2028. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), also in Rome, is the contracting authority for the award. 

“This critical federal investment puts Central New York at the center of the transition into the new AI age right here in Rome, by investing in artificial intelligence to advance U.S. cyber capabilities and integrate new and unprecedented defenses against American adversaries. The contract will also bolster cyber jobs in the region, creating up to 10 jobs at AIS and securing 50 existing jobs for the next 5 years,” said Senator Schumer. “This major $98.5 million investment will not only strengthen our national security by harnessing the power of AI innovation – something I’ve been focusing on a lot recently in my new SAFE Innovation framework – but it will also provide a significant boost to the Upstate economy and channel the talents of Central NY’s world-class workforce for years to come.” 

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