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 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
CTO, Alion Science and Technology
The passion and commitment of the members has further reassured me that we will indeed effect the lasting change needed to respond to the evolving threats and opportunities of our national security environment. I look forward to continuing to contribute to this movement.
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!
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.
US Air Force
Never underestimate the power of diverse groups with common goals. Someday, decades from now, you’ll look back at the major innovations of our lifetimes, and you’ll see the stories of DEF alums weaved into them. Why? Because we believe we can do it, we’re going to ACT on our beliefs, and if we fail - WHEN we fail - we’re going to do so in ways that will still raise the bar for those who succeed after us. Just you watch...or even better, come join us...
My first DEF was more than listening, thinking, and discussion. It was also developing relationships with people to continue the discourse throughout the year. It’s also a chance to get out of your comfort zone and listen to ideas from someone outside of your network. Anyone with a passion for their career or service needs to attend DEF and share the knowledge with their organization.
Defense Entrepreneurs Forum
Washington DC 20002