Mission & Vision

We inspire, connect and empower people committed to U.S. national security by convening events, forging partnerships and delivering tangible solutions. We do this in order to support and enable a culture of innovation in the national security community.


Ideas are the starting point for new projects and programs - we seek out and promote great ideas.


Relationships form the foundation of successful innovation efforts. Personal connections and trust are critical.


Having brought ideas and teams together, we help bring publications, pitches and programs into reality.

Get more with the Dispatch.


Casey Dean

Casey Dean

US Army

"My first DEF was more than listening, thinking, and discussion. It was also developing relationships with people to continue the discourse throughout the year. It’s also a chance to get out of your comfort zone and listen to ideas from someone outside of your network. Anyone with a passion for their career or service needs to attend DEF and share the knowledge with their organization."

Lise van Boxel

Lise van Boxel

St. John's College

"DEF is a great opportunity to meet highly intelligent, imaginative, and energetic people who are willing and able to vivify leadership in the military and in the United States more generally. If 100 people can change the nation and the world, you might find a significant number of them here!"

Dave Lyle

Dave Lyle

US Air Force

"Never underestimate the power of diverse groups with common goals. Someday, decades from now, you’ll look back at the major innovations of our lifetimes, and you’ll see the stories of DEF alums weaved into them. Why? Because we believe we can do it, we’re going to ACT on our beliefs, and if we fail - WHEN we fail - we’re going to do so in ways that will still raise the bar for those who succeed after us. Just you watch...or even better, come join us..."


You read the pitch, now join the people!

DEF 3.0

Fellow Innovators, Six months ago, the DEF board appointed me as the new Executive Director and I joined a dedicated group of volunteers on the National Leadership Team, which support projects like the annual conference, local Read more…

Questions? Ideas?

DEF is a team of passionate volunteers pursuing culture change around innovation in the national security community. We are always looking to connect with new members, partners and sponsors supportive of our mission!

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