The Technology and National Security Fellowship is an opportunity for technologists and entrepreneurs to serve their country by embedding with key decision-makers at the top levels of the U.S. Government.

Overview

The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Technology and National Security Fellowship (TNSF), a technology-centric fellowship program, appropriated through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and designed by NSIN, connects cleared STEM talent with key policymakers at the top levels of the U.S. Government to help inform decisions impacting national security. The Fellowship was initially established by authorization in FY 2020 Section 235 of the FY20 NDAA.


Hosts

Technology and National Security Fellows will provide technical expertise and insight to top-level policy makers within the Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress. Fellows placed in Congressional offices may have the opportunity to serve with members and staff in the Defense and Intelligence committees who hold jurisdiction across both chambers of Congress. . Fellows assigned to the Pentagon may have the opportunity to be placed in offices of participating Presidentially Appointed, Senate Confirmed officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, or other senior defense officials within the Military Services (Personal offices of Members of the HASC; SASC; HAC-D; SAC-D; HPSCI; and SSCI, or Committee Staff for HASC; SASC; HAC-D; SAC-D; HPSCI; and SSCI). Final placement of each Fellow will be determined based on their knowledge, skills and abilities, and host needs.


Ideal Candidates

In 2023, NSIN will select a limited number of fellows with STEM backgrounds and technical expertise to be embedded in the offices of key decision-makers at the Department of Defense or Congressional office. . TNSF Fellow applicants must possess an undergraduate or graduate degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field. Selected Fellows will hold a position at a comparable GS scale in accordance with the General Schedule (subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code) (Range starting at GS-10 and not more than the maximum rate of basic pay payable for a GS-13.)

Pay
  • Commensurate with education and experience, Fellows will receive a competitive salary within the GS-10-13 pay band, and benefits.
Candidate Eligibility Requirements

Selected Fellows must:

  • Participate in a background check that the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate for participation in the program, and
  • Meet the eligibility standards outlined below for the specific assignments as required by the National Defense Authorization Act.
Eligibility for DoD Assignment
  • U. S. Citizen; and
  • Recent or Imminent STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or graduate degree; or
  • Pending recipient of a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or graduate degree, focusing on STEM coursework not later than 180 days after the date on which the individual applies for participation in the TNSF program; or
  • An employee of the DoD possessing a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or graduate degree with a STEM focus.
Eligibility for Congressional Assignment
  • U. S. Citizen; and
  • Recent or Imminent STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or graduate degree; or
  • Pending recipient of a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or graduate degree, focusing on STEM coursework not later than 180 days after the date on which the individual applies for participation in the TNSF program; and
  • Provide at least three years of relevant work experience in a related science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field.

Prior TNSF Program Successes

Please download our program recap one-pagers to learn more about prior iterations of the NSIN TNSF program.


Important Dates for Mission Partners

  • Feb. 14 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Mission Partner Ask Me Anything Register Now
  • Feb. 14 - March 31: Mission Partner Application period
  • Feb. 14: TNSF Applications open for fellows
  • Mar. 31 at 11:59 p.m.: Mission Partner Application Close
  • Apr. 10: Commitment from DoD or Congressional Host Office
  • Apr. 14 at 11:59pm: TNSF application closes for fellows
  • Apr. 17 - May 19: Fellow interviewing and matching
  • Week of May 22: TNSF Fellow Selections made
  • May 29 - Mid September: hiring process, clearance process
  • Sep. 25: Target EOD of all fellows
  • Sept 25, 2023 - Sept 25, 2024: NSIN Technology & National Security Fellowship

Host Application

Please complete this form if you are interested in hosting a TNSF fellow for FY23/FY24. If you experience accessibility issues, please email: TNSF@nsin.mil.


Frequently Asked Questions

What level are the fellows?

  • Depending on the Fellow’s background (e.g. number of years of work experience, degrees), the fellows may be able start at a GS-10 to GS-13 level

What is my responsibility as a Mission Partner?

  • The Mission Partner is expected to lead and supervise the TNSF fellow from a day-to-day perspective and manage accountability for their work. We ask the NSIN Mission Partners to consider this an experiential learning opportunity that will introduce the Fellow to new ways of solving problems in National Security. Selected NSIN Mission Partners should also provide mentoring, coaching, and developing the Fellow in their area of expertise. Fellows should be given meaningful and impactful projects they can accomplish throughout the Fellowship in the form of a curated work plan created in collaboration with NSIN. We ask that Mission partners provide feedback quarterly and for the Fellow’s end-of-year performance review. We also request that feedback is communicated to the NSIN TNSF Program Director as needed on any performance concerns.

What Does NSIN Provide for TNSF?

  • NSIN will be responsible for facilitating administrative-related tasks such as hiring, providing benefits, time and attendance, and processing a security clearance in conjunction with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), Research and Engineering (R&E), and Washington Headquarters Services (WHS).

Who pays for travel or training?

  • Mission Partners will be responsible for any travel expenses for the Fellow. The Fellow can apply for a Government Travel Card (GTC), and can operate under a cross-organization line of accounting to the respective government host office so you can easily fund any work-related conferences or training opportunities.

What IT support should the Mission Partner provide the Fellow?

  • NSIN will provide the Fellow with a government-issued laptop and sponsor their CAC. Mission Partners may prefer to issue the Fellow a host agency-specific laptop, which is the responsibility of the Mission Partner to assign and track.

What security clearance level will the Fellow have?

  • Fellows can have a Secret or Top Secret (TS) clearance as determined by the Mission Partner requirements. Please note that TS clearance can take upwards of six months or longer to obtain, and the Fellowship is only one year.

Who is the Fellow’s supervisor?

  • NSIN maintains supervisor, administrative, and programmatic support of the Fellow, including actions such as time and attendance. However, NSIN will work closely with the Mission Partner to ensure the Fellow accurately reports deliverables and outputs. Mission Partners will also provide feedback for the Fellow’s mid-year and end-of-year performance reviews.

Who is responsible for Onboarding and Out-Processing?

  • The Fellow is an Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment OUSD, Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E) billet. Onboarding and Out-processing with the Fellow will occur with all three parties: OUSD R&E, NSIN, and the Mission Partner. Each host office is responsible for onboarding and out-processing checklists and processes. NSIN will intercede as much as possible to help guide the process.

Does the Fellow get PTO and Sick Leave?

  • Yes, the Fellow is a government employee and will accrue annual and sick leave equivalent to full-time employees with less than three years of service: Annual Leave (opm.gov).

If I find a job for my Fellow before their one-year fellowship ends, can I hire them?

  • Yes! We know that hiring actions can take some time and would prefer that Fellows complete their one-year assignment. If this opportunity presents itself, please connect with the TNSF Program Director to discuss a possible timeline.

Can the TNSF Fellow be extended beyond a year?

  • No. The TNSF fellow occupies a one-year temporary billet with no extension.

If the TNSF Fellow leaves before completing their year, will NSIN provide another fellow to fill their slot?

  • Any vacancies created during the Fellowship will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Do TNSF Fellows have to sign an NDA?

  • TNSF Fellows sign an SF-312 NDA as part of their Security Clearance, and no others form requirements are necessary for work with the government office as a federal employee. If an additional need for a particular form from the host Mission Partner is required, this is outside their hiring office’s requirements and communicated to the TSNF Program Manager.

Does a Mission Partner review resumes and participate in the interviews in selecting the Fellow? Does the Mission Partner have a say in who is selected?

  • No, the selection process and matchmaking are NSIN-owned activities.

Questions about TNSF?

Please direct any questions to TNSF@nsin.mil