New head of SparkCognition government unit says DOD can't be treated 'as a side business'

By Marjorie Censer / June 25, 2020 at 1:33 PM

The newly named head of SparkCognition Government Systems, established to provide artificial intelligence for the public sector, says he's focused on building needed infrastructure for the new business.

In an interview with Inside Defense this week, Logan Jones, who previously was vice president of Boeing's innovation cell HorizonX, said that what drew him to SparkCognition was that it's one of the few artificial intelligence companies "actually focused on helping national security and defense."

SparkCognition in May announced the new subsidiary and rolled out a high-profile board of advisers that includes former Pentagon officials Michèle Flournoy and Bob Work.

The company said its government systems business will be able to tailor its products for the public sector to cost-effectively improve critical functions.

Jones said developing SparkCognition Government Systems as a separate business is necessary.

"I think to be that trusted partner over the long run with DOD you have to become a company that focuses on DOD. You can't treat it as a side business," he said. "There is a government acquisition process, there's levels of trust that you have to get behind -- you can't do that by just doing it halfway."

Jones said he's considering multiple approaches for the business, from selling directly to the military to also working with prime contractors.

SGS still needs to set up needed infrastructure, from contract vehicles to hiring, according to Jones. Some SparkCognition employees will join SGS, he said, but the exact number isn't yet set.