X-Force Fellows are university students embedded with military commands for applied national security problem-solving. There are more than 35 new DoD customers included in this year’s Fellowship.

The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a Department of Defense (DoD) program, launched today the 2021 cohort for the X-Force Fellows program, an opportunity for university students to support military commands directly by solving some of our nation’s most challenging national security issues.

In its third year, the 2021 cohort runs through August and comprises a mix of full and part-time, paid and volunteers representing 88 universities, including students from 11 of NSIN’s 15 university partners and four returning Fellows from the 2020 program. The 2021 X-Force Fellows stats:

  • Full-time, in-person, paid summer Fellows: 237
  • Part-time, remote, volunteer Fellows: 46

Throughout the 2021 program, X-Force Fellows will support Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps customers with 99 full-time projects and 18 part-time national security projects. Each aims to develop prototype capabilities to solve real-world problems that call upon the students’ technical and entrepreneurial skills. Notably, the program has added more than 35 new DoD customers this year, which significantly broadens the scope of issues Fellows will experience throughout the cohort.

“The NSIN team is excited to welcome a new set of problem solvers to the third and most ambitious iteration of the X-Force Fellowship yet,” said NSIN program manager Pamela Sharma. “These fellows represent the next generation of the national security community. A community that will benefit from their diverse perspectives over the course of 11-weeks while the X-Force Fellows collaborate with our defense customers. If past years are any indication, this unique program allows Fellows to have an outsized impact on mission-focused national security challenges.”

At the end of the program, DoD customers receive a demonstration of the capability developed by their Fellows with guidance for further development and iteration.

Throughout the program, participants share their experiences in blog posts and communication channel updates. You can follow their progress and get in touch with our participants here on the NSIN UNUM platform: https://unum.nsin.us/x-force-summer-2021-cohort.


About X-Force

The NSIN X-Force program is an unparalleled opportunity for university students to serve their country through collaboration with the U.S. military to address real-world challenges that require both technical and entrepreneurial expertise. The NSIN X-Force Fellowship has two pathways to service - a full-time, paid opportunity and a part-time, unpaid opportunity. Whether one chooses to pursue the full-time, paid, in-person option, or the part-time, unpaid, remote option, there is invaluable work alongside DoD problem sponsors.

About NSIN

NSIN changes the way the Department of Defense solves problems. NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities.


For more information contact media@nsin.us.