Young professionals in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields volunteered their summer to serve the Department of Defense (DoD) as members of the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN)’s inaugural Tech Squad. The inaugural squad applied their skills to tech-oriented, real-world government projects and displayed their application solutions for DoD problem sponsors last week at the final demo day.
“The Tech Squad Demo Day was an impressive reveal of how we continuously improve, strengthen, and advance our military partners while creating pathways to serve for our nation’s brightest,” said NSIN National Service Portfolio Director Karen Fray. “Tech Squad’s volunteers created exceptional solutions for national security problems such as creating functional user interfaces (UI), developing predictable maintenance platforms, and leveraging machine learning (ML) for automating tedious and repetitive tasks.”
The NSIN Tech Squad is a remote, part-time, voluntary service opportunity that connects early-career STEM professionals with the DoD to collaboratively solve tech-oriented national security problems. During the final demo day presentations, DoD problem sponsors expressed interest in working together to further develop some of the Tech Squad’s national security solutions.
“[The volunteers] gave perfect insight to how [to] best secure data within the DoD network. We are very thankful to have their help in building the ML model and hope they continue to work with us,” said AJ Scott, a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) problem sponsor at the San Jose Innovation Unit.
In June, members of the Tech Squad started meeting one-on-one with DoD leaders to learn how to apply their commercial sector experience to the Pentagon. As part-time volunteers, the team balanced their regular job duties while developing technical solutions for DoD problem sponsors.
“DoD innovators from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Air Force Futures, San Jose Innovation Unit (USMC), and Grand Forks Air Force Base identified overlapping interests and efforts, calling for follow-up conversations to explore opportunities for collaboration between their teams,” said NSIN Program Manager Farid Nemri.
Throughout the summer, Tech Squad worked on seven DoD projects including:
- building mobile apps for the U.S. Army to communicate and share information with service members across the globe;
- developing a software solution for the U.S. Marines by deploying data analytics and machine learning to predict supply-chain demand; and
- creating algorithms for the U.S. Air Force for routine certifications that will save service members thousands of hours each year.
“I chose to serve in Tech Squad because I love solving problems that can impact many people,” explained Sam Obe, a Tech Squad volunteer with the U.S. Army’s 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade. “With Tech Squad, I believe I will [be] able to accomplish my goal while helping the DoD develop modern tech solutions. In addition, I hope to get some more development experience which will help further my career in the tech industry.”
To learn more about opportunities at the DoD and to develop your defense innovation tech skills, with the flexibility to maintain your current job, visit NSIN Tech Squad. Interested applicants may submit information now through the end of December. If you’re a DoD organization interested in sponsoring a problem for the Tech Squad, start a conversation with the NSIN team here.
NSIN is changing the way the Department of Defense solves problems. NSIN is building a diverse network from academia, entrepreneurial innovators and the defense community to leverage our nation’s greatest asset- people. NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, Va., and has 11 regional offices in commercial innovation hubs throughout the U.S.