Stanford University Hoover Institution
Palo Alto, CA

DEF brings emerging defense leaders to Silicon Valley on November 12th!



America's heart of entrepreneurial innovation is Silicon Valley. When Secretary of Defense Dr. Ash Carter launched the DIUx in 2015, he made it clear that DoD has a lot to learn from the valley. The Defense Entrepreneurs Forum has been saying that for years, and so we are proud and incredibly excited to announce our inaugural #DEFxSV conference at Stanford University.

Showcasing the keen insights of emerging leaders--both in and out of the military--you will be able to hear multiple TED talk-style conversations on these topics and participate in lively breakout sessions with the presenters and fellow attendees. An established defense leader will also take the stage to give the benefit of their perspective and at the days end you'll be invited to a complimentary post-conference reception.

The Defense Entrepreneurs Forum is an organization that aims to inspire, connect, and empower open-minded emerging leaders to disrupt the national security status quo. In addition to an annual conference in Chicago, DEFx events are springing up around the globe to bring people together – to bridge those gaps. This fall’s DEFxSiliconValley, or DEFxSV for short, will be the first DEF event in this vibrant hub of innovation. Join us this November 12 th for a day of inspiration and camaraderie at the Hoover Institution, located on Stanford University’s iconic campus. Not just for those in the defense field, we welcome students, academia, entrepreneurs, and veterans of all stripes. You will leave with new ideas, new friends, and new tools for leading change.

Yet the purpose of this conference isn't limited to exchanging differing viewpoints, but to also find solutions, forge partnerships, and help develop skills that will foster a more innovative culture in the U.S. military. Throughout the day, during the hosted lunch, and at the post-conference reception attendees will have the unique chance to interact with a diverse group of practitioners and professionals from across services, industries, and backgrounds who all share a common passion and entrepreneurial spirit to tackle problems on a national scale.


Schedule of Events

0800-0900: Check-in. Coffee and light breakfast. Mingle.

0900-0910: Welcome and Intro by DEFxSV Coordinator Val Rivera

0910-0930: Kick-off Session: Background on the What, Why, and How of DEF – And the Future - Remarks by DEF founder Ben Kohlmann

0930-1015: Opening Panel: How Silicon Valley and Government Can Work Together - A panel discussion w/ veterans, entrepreneurs, VCs, technologists, and more.

1015-1030: Break

1030-1100: Discovery Activity – Who Are We?

1100-1200: Presentation of the Challenge Problems

1200-1300: Lunch and the Reciprocity Ring

1300-1500: Design-Thinking Breakout Sessions

1500-1600: Breakout Session Presentations.

1600-1630: Closing speaker (TBD)

1630-1730: Happy Hour.


Event Highlights

  • Opening remarks from DEF founder Ben Kohlmann
  • A high-energy TED meets Startup Weekend day


We truly hope that you will join us in our endeavor to spur greater defense innovation and strengthen grassroots connections across the many communities, corporations, organizations, and agencies that operate at the intersection of policy and defense thinking. After all, it's the strength of the idea that matters most...not the title of the thinker.

Are you ready to share your thoughts?


Interested in joining the planning team? Email our DEFx Director.

Interested in sponsoring DEFxSV? Email our Sponsorship Director.