The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) has launched a National Service Portfolio to create new opportunities for national security service for those who might not otherwise participate in national security innovation. The new portfolio’s programs will focus on building models of service that account for generational and cultural differences between the military, academic, and venture communities, and that provide flexible pathways to official service within the Department of Defense (DoD). Together, these models and pathways aim to grow and diversify participation in national security service.
NSIN’s National Service Portfolio programs include:
The X-Force program is an unparalleled opportunity for university students to serve their country through collaboration with the United States military to address real-world challenges that require both technical and entrepreneurial expertise.
NSIN currently offers the X-Force Fellowship: a full-time, in-person, paid summer fellowship program, and X-Force Volunteer: a part-time, remote, volunteer opportunity.
During the X-Force Fellowship, Fellows embed with their military sponsors for three months and work to develop novel solution concepts that address sponsor problems, while participants in the X-Force Volunteer program collaborate remotely.
Past military problem topics include developing virtual reality training modules for the Air Force, improving internal communications for the Marine Corps, revolutionizing predictive maintenance for the Navy, and modernizing personnel and asset tracking for the Army.
At the conclusion of the program, participants have developed and demonstrated a prototype capability for their military sponsor.
The X-Force Capstone program is a partnership in which military commands sponsor projects and provide them to existing university capstones courses. The program is open to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Participants must possess a diverse set of skills ranging from mobile and web app development, data analysis and visualization, hardware prototyping, social media strategy, and technology scouting. Through the X-Force Capstone program, students get the opportunity to work on a mission-focused real-world project, participate in a professional development opportunity, and work directly with military and national security leaders. All project work is unclassified. Projects often include hardware design and prototyping, software development, data analysis and visualization, technology scouting, communications and marketing strategy, and policy research. Successful projects are well-scoped with an actual end state and achievable /deployable within three to four months. X-Force Capstone is currently a pilot program within the NSIN National Security Portfolio.
Despite a high level of interest in national security service among STEM students, the Department of Defense remains unable to recruit and hire top university talent due in part to bureaucratic recruitment and hiring processes. The NSIN Hirethon is designed to directly connect STEM students and recent graduates with an interest in civil service with DoD organizations looking to hire. By short-circuiting the traditional application and evaluation processes and timelines, NSIN will build the 21st century STEM workforce that DoD needs.
The Technology and National Security Fellowship (TNSF) is an opportunity for technologists and entrepreneurs to serve their country by embedding with key decision makers at the top levels of the U.S. Government to provide advice and emerging expertise for issues at the critical intersection of national security and technology.