Bring DEF your toughest, stickiest problems, and we’ll fire up the DEF Community to tackle them through our new national program offering: Hopper!

Are you a DEF member with a boss who could use DEF’s expertise and radically different approach to problem-solving? Are you a senior national security official who wants fresh perspectives from the DEF network?



**Please note that the application may not be accessible from .mil and .gov domains.**


DEF’s innovation consultancy has been restructured and reinvigorated! Hopper seeks to channel the power of the DEF network into tangible solutions for clients. The program name, Hopper, is an homage to the legendary Rear Admiral, Dr. Grace Hopper. Rear Admiral Hopper, who was known as “Admiral of the Cyber Sea,” was a remarkable woman who rose to the challenges of programming the DoD’s first computers. She dedicated her life and career to keeping the United States on the cutting edge of high technology, underpinned by her belief that maintaining the status quo was not sufficient when it came to national security imperatives.


What is Hopper?

Hopper is DEF’s innovation consultancy for the national security community.

Like Admiral Hopper, DEF does not believe our national security enterprise can continue operating the way we always have. Hopper brings the expertise of DEF’s national security expert network together with cutting edge approaches to refine complex problems, integrate expert perspectives and analysis, and develop recommended solutions, plans, and/or policies for Hopper project sponsors.

How Does Hopper Work?

A DEF member or problem sponsor from within the national security enterprise brings a discrete challenge to the Hopper Team, provides a synopsis of the challenge, commits to support as the problem owner for the project’s duration, and identifies the desired product (briefing, report, prototype, or implementation plan). If the proposal is selected as a Hopper project, the Hopper Team will conduct an ideation session with the problem owner(s), working together to identify experts to consult from across the DEF community and facilitate a series of exercises that address all aspects of the problem. These facilitated activities can occur virtually or in-person, depending on the project’s requirements and problem owner’s proximity to sponsors and collaborators. From these efforts, the Hopper Team will work with appropriate DEF members to develop the final product and present the findings to the sponsor.

Have more questions? Contact the Hopper Team.


About the Hopper Team:

Eric Heller
Eric is a technology strategist working in the private sector.
Previously, he served for over 15 years in the Department of Defense working on critical regional and functional issues, culminating as a senior intelligence officer. His assignments included leading large analytic teams supporting senior government and military leaders, strategic planning and evaluation, as well as support to military operations and partner engagement.
Eric is passionate about helping to develop and deploy technologies to maximize individuals’ and teams’ potential to discover new insights. He loves to build integrated and adaptive teams to address complex problems, particularly in time-sensitive and high-consequence environments.

David Schiff
David is a former Navy submarine and aircraft carrier officer who now serves as a Navy acquisition professional, specializing in program and financial management and logistics at the Navy’s shipbuilding headquarters, NAVSEA. He is currently in a rotational fellowship program through which he has been involved in defense innovation, digital transformation, and other efforts to help accelerate capability development and acquisition processes to outpace America’s adversaries. David is passionate about creatively solving complex problems, improving processes, helping people collaborate more effectively and efficiently, and working with smart, motivated, engaged people with a sense of humor – part of the reason he joined DEF!