X-Force – Igniting Change in Action

In a world where national security challenges evolve with increasing complexity, the need for innovative solutions has never been greater. The X-Force Fellowship program, conceived by the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), stands at the forefront of this mission, providing a unique platform for technologists and entrepreneurs to apply their skills toward solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. military.

Key Takeaways

  • Unique Dual Pathways for Engagement: The X-Force Fellowship program offers two distinct pathways for participation: a full-time, paid opportunity and a part-time, unpaid option.
  • Open to a Diverse Skill Set: The program is specifically designed to attract U.S. citizens from undergraduate and graduate levels who possess a wide range of skills, including mobile and web app development, data analysis and visualization, hardware prototyping, and more.
  • End-to-End Involvement with Tangible Outcomes: X-Force fellows engage in tackling real-world military problems, guided by military sponsors and Action Officers.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Post-Fellowship Engagement: A standout feature of the X-Force Fellowship is its stance on intellectual property, allowing participants to retain ownership of the innovations developed during the program. This empowers fellows to explore commercialization while also encouraging the transition of solutions to military sponsors for national security enhancement.

A Dual Path to Making a Difference

X-Force Fellowship Recruiting

The X-Force Fellowship offers two distinct pathways for participants: a full-time, paid opportunity and a part-time, unpaid option. This flexibility ensures that regardless of one’s current life situation, there is a way to contribute meaningfully.

Whether participants choose to work in person with Department of Defense (DoD) problem sponsors or remotely, the program is designed to ensure that their work is not just valuable but invaluable to national security.

Who Joins X-Force?

Who Joins X-Force

The program is open to U.S. citizens at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It attracts a diverse pool of participants with skills in various fields of technology.

These participants are innovators who work on mission-focused projects, gain professional development, and collaborate with military and national security leaders.

What’s the Experience Like?

X-Force fellows find themselves tackling real-world military problems that require both technical and entrepreneurial expertise. The program mandates that military sponsors provide an Action Officer to guide fellows weekly, ensuring that the solutions developed are both practical and innovative.

For those in the full-time program, regular access to military bases and facilities is provided to deepen their understanding and effectiveness. At the program’s conclusion, fellows demonstrate the capabilities they’ve developed, with the expectation that these solutions will continue to be refined and utilized by their sponsors.

This end-to-end involvement not only provides a tangible outcome but also a roadmap for how participants can continue to impact national security beyond the program.

Who Makes the Cut? Unveiling the Ideal X-Force Fellow

X-Force Fellowship program

Eligibility for the X-Force Fellowship is broad, welcoming undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates with technical or entrepreneurial expertise. The program particularly seeks individuals who have demonstrated the ability to work self-directed, signaling a preference for applicants who can innovate and lead projects to fruition.

The ideal X-Force candidate is someone who, though may not have extensive experience working with the military, brings a fresh perspective, technical skillset, project-based work experience, entrepreneurial mindset, and demonstrated leadership ability to the table.

Dive In or Dip Your Toes?

The X-Force runs from early June to mid-August, with full-time fellows expected to work 40 hours per week, receiving a stipend and a budget for project-related expenses. Part-time fellows, while unpaid, commit 5-10 hours per week, working remotely to contribute to their team’s efforts.

One of the most empowering aspects of the X-Force Fellowship is its stance on intellectual property: all innovations developed during the program belong to the participants, though they are encouraged to transition these solutions to their military sponsors, ensuring a pathway for real-world application and impact.


Can international students studying in the U.S. apply for the X-Force Fellowship?

No, the X-Force Fellowship is exclusively open to U.S. citizens. This includes both undergraduate and graduate students who meet the program’s eligibility criteria.

What kind of support do part-time fellows receive to ensure their success?

While part-time fellows do not receive financial compensation, they are provided with comprehensive support including access to military sponsors, guidance from an Action Officer, and collaboration tools for remote work. This ensures they can contribute effectively to their projects.

Are there any specific fields of study or majors that the program prioritizes?

The X-Force Fellowship values diversity in skills and backgrounds and, hence does not prioritize specific fields of study. Participants from a wide range of disciplines including engineering, computer science, and more, are encouraged to apply, provided they have the technical or entrepreneurial expertise relevant to the project needs.

How does the X-Force Fellowship match fellows with military sponsors?

Fellows are matched with military sponsors based on the alignment of their skills and expertise with the specific needs of real-world national security problems posed by the sponsors. This ensures a productive and impactful collaboration.

What happens if a project developed during the fellowship has commercial potential?

Fellows retain the intellectual property rights to their work and are encouraged to explore commercialization. However, they are also encouraged to consider the benefits of transitioning their solutions to their military sponsors for national security purposes.

Is there a community or network for X-Force alumni post fellowship?

Yes, X-Force alumni become part of an ongoing community where they can share insights, and opportunities, and continue to engage with national security challenges. This network provides a platform for ongoing collaboration and impact beyond the duration of the fellowship.

Bottom Line

The X-Force Fellowship is more than just a program; it’s a movement toward integrating cutting-edge technology and entrepreneurial thinking into the fabric of national security. By offering a platform for talented individuals to apply their skills in meaningful ways, X-Force is not just igniting change; it’s fueling a new era of innovation and collaboration in the service of national defense.

As application periods commence and cohorts are meticulously selected, each participant, alongside their respective sponsors and projects, plays a pivotal role in contributing to a grander vision—a future that is not only secure but also significantly empowered by technology. This collective effort echoes the foundational principles also seen in Coast Guard Boot Camp, where discipline, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of excellence are paramount.