DEF2019: DEF’s Annual National Conference

27-29 September, 2019
Spire Events, Washington DC

Early Bird Tickets are SOLD OUT
General Admission tickets are now available: 


Here is a sampling of the topics we will be covering this year at DEF2019:

  • Inclusion & Diversity in the Empowered Workforce
  • National Security Innovation Ecosystem “State of the Union”
  • Culture: from the Edge to the Core 
  • Leading in Organizations as a Junior Member
  • Attracting Talent into DoD and Government Service
  • Alternative Acquisitions: OTAs, SBIR, STTR, and Beyond 
  • Frameworks for Venture Capital and Small Business Engagement with the DoD and Government 
  • DevSecOps and Software Development in National Security 
  • Ethics & Implementation of Artificial Intelligence 
  • Implementing Agile and Scrum Practices in Government and DoD Contexts 
  • The Future of the Defense Industrial Base 
  • Applying Human-Centered Design and Design Thinking within the Bureaucracy
  • Case Studies in Innovation throughout the DoD: First-hand Stories of Success, Failure, and the Ongoing Good Fight 
  • Defining Victory (and therefore Defeat) for the Virtuous Insurgency 
  • And more!

Here is the nominal format for the weekend:

  • Friday 0900-1700
  • Saturday 0900-1700
    • Plenary Addresses (multiple) 
    • NatSec Innovation Ecosystem “State of the Union” 
    • Panels (multiple)
    • Lightning Talks (multiple)
    • Breakout Workshops
    • Breakfast and lunch served
    • Happy hour to follow 
  • Sunday 0900-1300
    • Panels (multiple) 
    • Lightning Talks (multiple)
    • Breakout Dialogues 
    • Closing Address 
    • Brunch served (did someone say, mimosas?)

      A formal agenda will be released soon. As we finalize the lineup, we are still accepting nominations for the most inspiring and engaging speakers for DEF2019! Who do you want to hear from? Use the link below to let us know.


      Theme: Engaged & Empowered

      The conference’s theme, “Engaged & Empowered,” will guide our formulation of the agenda and topics and unite the essence of the conference, while remaining general enough for the participants to explore many different tangents and facets. It ties closely to our core mission statement (Inspire, Connect, Empower) and the organization’s current evolution (referred to as “DEF 3.0”).

      Further, it carries on the logical next step from previous conferences: where first DEF inspired a movement and then connected people into a community, now we seek to focus on empowering that community to effect good change. No coincidence that this correlates with the national conference’s first meeting in the nation’s capitol–the seat of many forms of power from a national security perspective!

      DEF 2018 focused on “Ideas to Action”… this year we take the next step, engaging with the landscape and empowering ourselves and each other! If you know someone who would be great in the DEF 2019 line-up, please nominate them for consideration. This is a time-honored tradition of DEF national conferences–we want to hear from the DEF community!



      Early Bird tickets have sold out for DEF2019. We are now selling General Admission tickets, which include all three days worth of content, breakfasts/lunches at the conference, and happy hours both Friday and Saturday nights. This ticket is all-inclusive.

      Closer to the event, we will also make available Single Day Only tickets and Happy Hour Only tickets, to provide flexibility for those who have conflicts or are otherwise only able to attend one part of the conference or the other. Please note that while Single Day Only tickets include meals during the conference that day, they do not include the Happy Hour.

      If you have any questions, please let us know at All tickets are available at


      Looking for Other Ways to Get Involved?

      As a 501(c)(3) with an all-volunteer team, DEF events are only made possible through a combination of ticket sales, donations, hard work, and generous sponsors and partners. You can view our prospectus to read more about the DEF story and the sponsorship offerings we have for DEF 2019.


      Would you, or an organization you know, consider supporting this year’s annual conference?