Exciting News from DEF2017

DEF2017 was a fitting celebration of DEF’s five year milestone! We have proven that DEF provides a unique value that serves a demand – the demand for innovation in national security.  Spanning ranks, industries, and geography, DEF is the center of the national security innovation network.


DEF’s Growth

DEF began online, in what was and still is an active online forum for our members to discuss new ideas and find partners. This spawned our first 3-day annual conference in Chicago in 2013.  That first conference catalyzed members to host their own regional events in Annapolis and Hampton Roads. In 2014, we started the annual innovation competition and grassroot Agoras, both of which has grown steadily ever since.

Most recently, we launched the DEF Cloud Advisory – a mechanism to leverage our network of incredibly passionate and talented innovators to self-organize, collaborate, and provide input to projects for senior leaders including the former USD-P&R, the DIUx, and the DI


This weekend brought with it new advancements on DEF’s horizon:


  1. We proudly unveiled our new logo which connects our past with our present and future. We have held on to some of the original elements while also redefining our symbol in the modern style that reflects who and what we are. 


  1. We announced the DEF Firestarter project – a fellowship that strengthens the innovation community.  DEF will give up to $5,000 to between 1-5 innovation catalysts to take a year to study and improve upon our innovation ecosystem. These Firestarter Fellows will provide regular contributions to the DEF community, including regular updates on the DEF website and Dispatch, and will present their findings and projects at each annual conference.  The application window will be open from October 1st – November 17th.  Check our website next week for the blog article and the application page.


  1. We have recommitted to our members by providing even more value to our most active innovators. For those who truly leverage the DEF network already, DEF membership pays for itself and ensures our programs have greater impact than ever before. We are happy to report that DEF has received over $10,000 in membership fees since our announcement!


  1. Finally, this weekend we are pleased to announceed that Morgan Plummer will take over for Jim Perkins as DEF’s new President.  We celebrated Jim’s fearless and passionate leadership and welcome Morgan to DEF!

With each year, we’ve combined different mixtures of virtual/in-person, centralized/local, individual/network to inspire, connect, and empower. This year, we asked ourselves how might we do it again?

How might we inspire, connect, and empower a new cohort of national security innovators?

How might we spark new nodes of innovation across the network?

How might we serve the core principles of our founders?

DEF will strive to answer all three of these questions by reinvesting in our members. This is why we continue to create opportunities to support innovative people and their passion. In 2018, our newest programs will do just that.

Do you know someone who’d be interested in DEF’s mission and events? Invite them to sign up for the Dispatch!