The X-Force program is an opportunity for technologists and entrepreneurs to serve their country by solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the United States military.

NSIN currently offers two versions of the X-Force program:

  1. X-Force Fellowship: a full-time, in-person, paid summer fellowship program
  2. X-Force Remote: a part-time, remote, volunteer opportunity


The X-Force program is open to U.S. citizens at the undergraduate and graduate level. Participants 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.

In the pilot cohort during the summer of 2019, 43 students worked with 15 military problem sponsors to develop prototype capabilities that address real-world problem topics. Past participants came from Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, the University of Virginia, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of North Georgia, Florida Polytechnic University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Colorado Boulder, California State University, and the University of California San Diego.

The application period for the Summer Cohort 2020 is closed.


Participants interested in future opportunities can register interest here:

Register Interest


The X-Force program addresses real-world military problems that require technical and entrepreneurial expertise. During the program, military sponsors must supply an Action Officer to engage with their fellows on a weekly basis. For the in-person Fellowship program, hosts expect to provide fellows regular on-base access to facilities and personnel where appropriate and relevant.

By the end of the program, sponsors receive a demonstration of the capability developed by their fellows and are expected to continue development and iteration afterwards.

2019 X-Force military sponsors:

  • 4th Fighter Wing
  • 20th Fighter Wing
  • 461st Air Control Wing
  • 66th Air Operations Squadron
  • Air Force Technical Applications Center
  • US Army Special Operations Command
  • 4th Psychological Operations Group
  • 3/75th Ranger Regiment
  • North Carolina National Guard
  • 2nd Marine Corps Logistics Group
  • US Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Information
  • Commander Naval Air Forces
  • Army Research Lab West
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • 7th Special Forces Group

2020 X-Force military sponsors (confirmed):

  • 11th Wing
  • Air University
  • Texas Military Department
  • 305 Air Mobility Wing
  • USMC 1st Recon Battalion
  • Fleet Readiness Center Southwest
  • Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
  • Marine Corps Air Station Yuma
  • 3/75th Ranger Regiment
  • 75th Fighter Squadron

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates are eligible to apply for the X-Force Fellowship. Top applicants must have demonstrated technical or entrepreneurial experience or expertise. Evidence of past self-directed work is strongly preferred.

Participants must be U.S. citizens.

Who is an ideal candidate for X-Force?

The X-Force program diversifies the national security innovation base by creating a new model of national security service. Minimal experience working with the military is not only acceptable, but preferred! Those applicants with prior military or government work experience will be evaluated and accepted by exception.

Successful applicants should anticipate an expectation of proficiency in both technical and entrepreneurial skills. Strong candidates will have a robust technical skillset, solid project-based work, an entrepreneurial mindset or experience, and demonstrated leadership ability.

What will participants be doing?

X-Force participants will engage with Department of Defense (DoD) partners for three to six months of applied problem solving. Participants will work on problems sponsored by their DoD hosts potentially including:

  1. Technical (e.g. software development, data analytics, mechanical design/prototyping)
  2. Strategy (e.g. communications and social media strategy)
  3. Research (e.g. emerging technology scouting) projects.

Participants will be expected to deliver a prototype capability to their military sponsors by the end of the program.

Where will the program take place?

X-Force Fellows will be located on military installations or near their military problem sponsors, within commuting distance for weekly in-person engagement with their sponsors (e.g. a Fellow may be based in Research Triangle Park if collaborating with a sponsor on Fort Bragg).

X-Force Remote participants will work remotely and collaborate with their team and military sponsor over Skype, phone, email, and Slack. Remote volunteers are expected to work 5-10 hours per week based on their availability.

When will the program take place?

X-Force runs from June 1st through August 31st, with specific start and end dates set by the participants and military sponsors. Fellows are expected to work 40 hours per week.

Is this program paid?

X-Force Fellows will be paid a stipend of around $2,500 per month and have a small budget for travel, materials, and other expenses related to the delivery of a product to their sponsor.

X-Force Remote volunteers are unpaid. These participants are required to sign a Volunteer Services Agreement.

Who owns the intellectual property?

All intellectual property developed during the X-Force program belongs to the program participants (ie. University fellows and volunteers). However, students are highly encouraged to turn their projects over to their sponsors at the end of the program for solution transition.

Important Dates

01 JAN, 2020: X-Force Application Opens

01 MAR, 2020: X-Force Application Closes

01 JUN, 2020: X-Force Cohort Begins

31 AUG, 2020: X-Force Cohort Ends


  • Department of Defense

Questions about X-Force?

Please direct any questions to