Identify AI-driven solutions to optimize building design across disciplines, codes, and site conditions to win part of a $250,000 prize pool.


The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), in partnership with the U.S. Navy Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC), and the Program Executive Office Industrial Infrastructure (PEO II), will run a virtual pitch event to identify AI-driven solutions to expedite and enhance building design and cost modeling across disciplines, codes, and site conditions.

A team of subject matter experts will evaluate applicants and select up to the top 15 companies as finalists for participation in the virtual Pitch Day in July 2024. A total of $250,000 in awards will be awarded to the top performing company/companies.


In line with the imperative for technological advancement in maritime operations, the Department of Defense emphasizes the pivotal role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in enhancing Naval Science and Technology (S&T). The integration of AI across diverse naval domains, from battle management aids to AI-driven materials and assured networks, underscores the significance of leveraging AI as a multifaceted tool (DoD, 2024). Initial applications of AI are anticipated to revolutionize design processes and optimize operational efficiency across various sectors, a trend observed in other industries. The maritime industry presents ripe opportunities for AI-driven advancements, notably in predictive analytics and energy efficiency optimization, with Machine Learning (ML) and Operations Research (OR) emerging as pivotal in automating heuristic learning (Aylak, 2022). However, addressing these challenges is imperative against the backdrop of declining maritime shipbuilding capabilities and capacity in the United States. The need for modernization and industrial revitalization is underscored by the disparity in efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to international counterparts, necessitating urgent action to regain competitive footing and ensure maritime superiority in the 21st century (Del Toro, 2024).

Problem Statement

The DoD’s current building design process combines individual expertise with expert systems for calculations and optimization of building elements, yet falls short in utilizing diverse design options efficiently. The desired solution aims to enable real-time adjustments across multiple disciplines—foundation, architecture, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering—by considering factors like local codes, site conditions, and historical designs to expedite design exploration, develop optimized design solutions in terms of cost, schedule, and performance, and produce more accurate cost models. Leveraging AI, this approach seeks to rapidly generate and evaluate multiple design options, allowing for iterative changes throughout development while ensuring compliance with relevant standards and regulations.

Key Dates

  • May 16, 2024: Solicitation Release - IdeaScale,, NSIN website,

  • May 29, 2024: “Ask Me Anything” Session at 1pm EDT

  • June 19, 2024: Solicitation Closes & Down-selection Begins

  • June 26, 2024: Down-selection Ends & Finalists Announced

  • June 28, 2024: Pitch Rehearsal

  • July 2, 2024: Virtual Pitch Event

  • July 12, 2024: Winner Announced

Benefits of Participating

  • $250,000 in awards to the top performing company/companies
  • Exposure to leaders across multiple branches of the DoD
  • Potential for follow-on opportunities such as Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and others


  • U.S. Owned and Operated Companies
  • CAGE code required for submission. To register or renew your entity or check your entity status, navigate to to get started.
  • Early-Mid Stage Ventures (i.e., little to no DoD contracts, equal to or earlier than Series A); OR non-traditional defense contractors, as defined in the 2023 DoD Other Transactions Guide
  • Ability to showcase the solution’s capabilities by July 2024

Submit Now

Participants must submit solutions for the AI Infrastructure Challenge via the Ideascale link below.

Submit Now

Judging Criteria:

Applications and Pitches will be judged on six major criteria:

Technical: Soundness, technical merit, innovation of proposed approach, and feasibility of the proposed solution.

Team: Qualifications of proposed principals, support staff, and consultants.

Commercialization: Solution is viable in non-defense markets.

Quality of Pitch: Pitch presents a clear and concise overview of the technology, demonstrates how the technology solves one or more of the defined problem areas, and effectively answers questions from strategic advisors.

Operational Effectiveness: Proposed solution aligns with listed features.

Price: Price of proposed solution is feasible for adoption and scalable by capability.

Technical Capabilities List:

Required Capabilities

1. If the proposed solution will process CUI or NNPI data, all cloud services used must be at IL4/5 with DISA Provisional Authorization and a valid ATO. Prototypes for this pilot do not use CUI data, but all cloud services used must be at IL4/5 with DISA Provisional Authorization.

2. AI-Driven Design and Cost Model Generation:

  • Automated generation capability of multiple design solutions from parameter and constraint inputs.
  • Integration capability of current and historical building data, codes, standards, and computations into the design generation process.
  • Rapid iteration and adjustment capability of design options based on feedback and changing requirements.
  • Real-time development of facility construction and lifecycle maintenance cost projections for each design option.

3. Multidisciplinary Integration:

  • Integration of valid and relevant building disciplines including foundation, architecture, structural, mechanical, and electrical.
  • Seamless coordination and synchronization of building elements across multiple disciplines in near and real-time.

4. Adaptability to Local Codes and Standards:

  • Incorporation of applicable codes, standards, and regulations into the design process and framework.
  • Dynamic adjustment of design parameters to comply with multitude of current and evolving regulatory requirements.

5. Performance Optimization:

  • Algorithm enhancements to achieve optimum building design from efficiency, cost, schedule, and performance measures.
  • Comprehensive evaluation of design solutions against specified performance criteria and objectives.

6. Real-Time Collaboration and Feedback:

  • Collaboration tools and capabilities that enable seamless collaboration among team members and stakeholders involved in the design process.
  • Real-time visualization and simulation capabilities to assess design options and implications.

Desired Capabilities:

1. Predictive Analysis:

  • Robust predictive modeling capabilities to ensure optimum building under a large knowledge base of use cases and conditions.
  • Comprehensive analysis of potential risks and uncertainties linked to design decisions and aligned to targeted objectives.

2. Historical Design Analysis:

  • Utilization of historical building designs and use cases to inform, educate, and inspire new and improved design solutions.
  • Incorporation of lessons learned and knowledge base from past projects to avoid and mitigate common pitfalls and optimize future designs.

3. Constructability Assessment:

  • Assessment of design feasibility and constructability to ensure practical implementation of proposed solutions.
  • Integration with construction planning and scheduling tools to streamline the construction process.

4. Sustainability and Resilience Consideration:

  • Integration of sustainability methodologies into the design process to minimize environmental impact and enhance resilience.
  • Evaluation of energy efficiency, material usage, and lifecycle considerations in design optimization.

5. Scalability and Performance Efficiency:

  • Scalable architecture to effectively manage large-scale building projects and complex design scenarios.
  • Optimization of computational resources to enable efficient processing and performance of the design platform.

6. User-Friendly Interface:

  • Intuitive user interface and experience (UI/UX) for seamless interaction with the design platform.
  • Visualization tools to aid teams and stakeholders in understanding and evaluating design alternatives effectively.

7. Documentation and Reporting:

  • Generation of comprehensive design documentation and reports for legal and regulatory compliance, project documentation, and records management.
  • Automated documentation and reporting capabilities to streamline communication and document management processes.

8. Continuous Improvement and Learning:

  • AI /ML/Large Language Model (LLM) enhanced capabilities to continuously improve and optimize design algorithms and recommendations based on feedback and data analysis.
  • Integration with DoD-approved internal and external knowledge management systems to capture and leverage lessons learned from each design iteration and use case.

End-User: U.S. Navy

Pitch Deck Submission Requirements:

Teams will submit a pitch deck outlining their technology capabilities that addresses the required and desired features above. Pitch decks should meet the following format requirements:

  • Sized 16:9 (1920x1080 pixels)
  • Horizontal presentation
  • PDF file
  • Maximum 10 slides

About National Security Innovation Network

NSIN is a program office in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), nested within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). We are set up to collaborate with a wide variety of innovators to include universities, researchers, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups. We create opportunities for collaboration across communities and connect those that might not traditionally work in national security. Together, we help drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.

For more information or interview requests with Team NSIN, please contact us at


NAVFAC is the Naval Shore Facilities, Base Operating Support, and Expeditionary Engineering Systems Command that delivers life-cycle technical and acquisition solutions aligned to Fleet and Marine Corps priorities.

About PEO II

Program Executive Officer for Industrial Infrastructure (PEO II) is the executive responsible for cost, schedule, and performance of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP). SIOP, the Navy’s multi-decade effort to integrate facilities, utilities, and industrial plant equipment investments to meet nuclear fleet maintenance requirements at the Navy’s four public shipyards (Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA; Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Pearl Harbor, HI; Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA; and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME).

About NavalX Tech Bridge

NavalX Tech Bridges are the doorway to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps contracts for startups, small businesses, academia, and local experts. Our Tech Bridges have the connections and expertise to help nontraditional technologists navigate the Naval innovation ecosystem.

Intellectual Property Considerations: Applicants retain ownership of existing Intellectual Property (IP) submitted under this Challenge and agree that their submissions are their original work. Applicants are presumed to have sufficient rights to submit the submission. For any submission made to the Challenge, you grant NSIN and NAVFAC a limited license to use this IP for testing and evaluation for efforts specifically related to the Challenge. NSIN and NAVFAC will negotiate with individual competitors in the event additional usage, integration, or development is contemplated.

Other Transaction Authority: This NSIN Challenge public announcement is an open call to small businesses and non-traditional defense contractors seeking innovative, commercial technologies proposed to create new DoD solutions or potential new capabilities fulfilling requirements, closing capability gaps, or providing potential technological advancements, technologies fueled by commercial or strategic investment, but also concept demonstrations, pilots, and agile development activities improving commercial technologies, existing Government-owned capabilities, or concepts for broad Defense application(s). As such, the Government reserves the right to award a contract or an Other Transaction for any purpose, to include a prototype or research, under this public announcement. The Federal Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the applicant before award and is under no obligation to pursue such Other Transactions.

Satisfying Competition Requirements: This NSIN Challenge Open Call Announcement is considered to have potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects 10 USC 4022 and Research 10 USC 4021, Prizes for advanced technology achievements 10 USC 4025, and/or Prize Competitions 15 USC 3719. The public open call announcement made on the IdeaScale website is considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 4025(b), 15 USC 3719 (e) and 10 USC 4022 (b)(2). Accordingly, FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b).