The Defense Innovation Unit is building a talent-on-demand app for service members with digital experience to be matched with jobs they can apply their skills to.
“Gig Eagle” is like an Uber for talent, as Sarah Pearson, contractor and commercial artificial intelligence commercial executive for DIU, described it. The military has members across different components, from enlisted members to reserves and the National Guard, that give them time to spend in the private sector when they are not on active duty. Those different experiences they gain while outside of the military can now be used through Gig Eagle, said Pearson, who served in the Navy before working in the Silicon Valley.
“We are creating a gig economy for the Department of Defense,” Pearson said during an AI Week SNG Live panel. “You could think about it almost like an Uber but for the DOD.”
But, instead of connecting riders with cars, the DOD can connect commanders and program managers with shorter-term needs with military personnel ready to work on assignments within their skillset.
The DOD has a very regimented way of assigning roles to service members. Sometimes, that leads to putting those with cyber or tech skills in non-technical roles. It’s an opportunity wasted in the eyes of senior leadership that has struggled to retain technical members who often have greater opportunities in the private sector.
“We are ultimately trying to connect a highly technical highly skilled workforce within the department,” Pearson said.
Gig Eagle is a new way to address that, especially for part-time service members who have full-time day jobs. Pearson noted an example of a reservist who works at a venture capital fund, and when the time comes to put their uniform, they can bring that financial experience with them.
DIU is not the only one working on this. The Army has been testing new ways to retain talent and have a more modern management system that rewards digital skills.