MoD signs £9m deal to expand AI and automation

The ministry – which established its Automation Garage about five years ago – is to work with supplier Capgemini to help grow its use of technology, including cognitive and machine learning tools

The Ministry of Defence has signed a multimillion-pound deal to support an expansion of the use of automation and artificial intelligence across the Armed Forces and the wider sector.

Last month the ministry entered into a two-year engagement with Capgemini, worth an estimated £9.2m, including VAT. The firm will support the operation of the Automation Garage, which was created about five years ago with the remit of enabling the use of robotic process automation (RPA) in the military and MoD. The initiative is run by Defence Business Services (DBS), a government unit which delivers a wide range of  IT, HR and other back-office services for the Armed Forces and the supporting civil service operations.

Via the Capgemini agreement, DBS hopes to “build upon the existing automation and digitalisation capabilities across defence”, according to the text of the contract.

This includes an ambition to “support the delivery of hyper automation technologies – including machine learning and cognitive [and] AI tools and individual automations through the lifecycle”.

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The contract is also hoped to enable progress on various current workstreams being delivered by the Automation Garage, encompassing work focused on: “technology platforms; automation delivery and live services; public-facing services on; benefits; user-centred design; learning and development; technical policy; support; and communications and engagement”.

An ultimate objective of the engagement will be to “make automation and digitisation benefits-driven”.

The contract stipulates that the MoD already has several preferred automation technologies including tools from RPA specialist Blue Prism and Microsoft’s Power Platform software. Others may be added to this roster “as the [MoD’s] strategy develops” over the next two years.

As well as assisting with the delivery of technology, Capgemini will be expected to “provide upskilling and knowledge transfer in automation” to civil service staff working on the Automation Garage project. Another objective will be to “help create a showcase for automation and digitalisation” and “demonstrate longer-term potential for automation” by offering up case studies and supporting communications initiatives.

The deal is due to conclude on 8 May 2026, but can be extended by a further 12 months at the MoD’s discretion.

Sam Trendall

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