DEF is an independent, not-for-profit group of emerging defense leaders that strive to solve national security problems from the bottom-up by exposing Defense professionals to the techniques and experiences of civilian innovators and social entrepreneurs.
“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” - John Emmerling
Office of the Secretary of Defense and Social Entrepreneur
At DEF I met a diverse group of young leaders who had dramatically different ideas, but who were united by patriotism, intellectual curiosity, and a passionate desire to improve the organizations they belong to and themselves. It was inspiring to see a group of emerging defense leaders for whom innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership were not buzz words, but deeply-held beliefs.
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!
Harvard Business School Student
DEF is the new incubator of innovative leaders across the national security establishment. It should become a rite of passage for future flag-level officers and a prestigious event for JOs to attend.
DEF is proof positive of the latent potential in the mission command philosophy. When we unleash the untapped creative potential at the edge of the military bureaucracy we generate creative and practical solutions to real world problems and incentivize a whole class of junior leaders who have the potential to mold our future force. DEF is on its way to become the absolute center of innovation for the future force. This is absolutely one of the most innovative programs I have been involved with in twenty years of military service!
I came to DEF 2014 after a major failure in my life, an unsure 25 year old with an idea in a cardboard box. I got a tremendous opportunity to meet a wide range of people and learn an extraordinary amount in just three days. I was also able to get a rough plan for not only my idea but my professional future. I can’t thank Ben and the DEF board enough and can’t wait for next year.
Defense Entrepreneurs Forum
Washington DC 20002