Homeland Security is hiring AI experts

Homeland Security is hiring AI experts

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking artificial intelligence experts to help harness AI to advance its mission.

These recruitment efforts come a day after House Republicans narrowly failed to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, claiming he refused to enforce immigration law and had therefore “breached the public trust”. This is being seen by the GOP as a failure to deliver on a key promise to their key voters.

This same day, Mayorkas, along with Eric Hysen, DHS chief information officer, ventured to Silicon Valley to recruit AI experts for the department. Hysen also serves as Homeland Security’s chief artificial intelligence officer.

“We want to lead the federal government in harnessing AI to advance our mission,” Mayorkas said at the event in Mountain View, California, adding that using AI ethically and responsibly is paramount. “It is incredibly important that we build confidence in how we are using AI.”

The hires will be known as the AI Corps, modeled after the U.S. Digital Service, a technology unit housed within the Executive Office of the President (EOP).

The agency is looking to recruit 50 employees in this space over the next year. Mayorkas emphasized at the event that they are open to remote employees, a sentiment reiterated on a DHS hiring page.

In an official press release, Mayorkas says that the AI Corps will work “on a variety projects.”

“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,” reads the statement.

The key areas and roles that AI will likely be utilized by Homeland Security were further listed on the official hiring page:

  • Enhance border security

  • Make air travel easier and safer

  • Combat online child exploitation

  • Enhance customer service

  • Support disaster survivors

  • Defend against cyber threats

  • Lead AI research, development, and deployment

  • Combat the malicious use of AI

For each mission, different AI-based skills are in demand, including machine vision, facial comparison, facial recognition, natural language processing, and research and development. Haysen added in a statement that the AI team will be deployed “to solve problems and modernize the delivery of services to the public.”

“We are recruiting faster than ever because the need is urgent,” he said.

At the event, Mayorkas acknowledged that AI is a polarizing matter within politics. However, he praised the potential of AI, saying, “There is an underlying impatience on my part to demonstrate [that the] government can do everything the private sector can.”

Government and legal bodies are grappling with the proliferation of AI, whether that comes to tackling an epidemic of deepfakes or even the case that saw legislation written by ChatGPT was enacted by a country’s lawmakers. Cities like New York have, too, announced that their own plans for advancing AI, signaling newfound territory for authorities to consider.

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Meera Navlakha

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