The X-Force Fellowship is a summer internship program that provides undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates a chance to serve their country by solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. military.

The Fellowship is a full-time (40 hours per week), paid opportunity. Depending on COVID-19 and Department of Defense guidance, the 2022 fellowship may be in-person or virtual. Fellows will be notified if the fellowship will be completed in-person or virtually in early March 2022.

Applications for the Summer 2022 cohort open October 18, 2021, and will close at 11:59 p.m. on January 24, 2022.


The X-Force Fellowship program is open to U.S. citizens at the undergraduate and graduate level. Fellows possess a diverse set of skills ranging from mobile and web app development, data analysis and visualization, hardware prototyping, social media strategy, and technology scouting. Fellows get the opportunity to work on a mission-focused real-world project, participate in a professional development opportunity, work directly with military and national security leaders, and gain perspective as to how their skills and experience can have an outsized impact on national security.

Fellows are matched with a problem and military sponsor based on skill set, educational background, and interview feedback. Each problem will have a team of 2-3 fellows with complementary skill sets to ensure the creation of innovative and effective solutions.

Applications for the 2022 NSIN X-Force Fellowship are now closed.

Department of Defense Hosts

The X-Force program addresses real-world military problems that require technical and entrepreneurial expertise. During the program, military sponsors must supply an Action Officer to engage with their fellows on a weekly basis. For the in-person Fellowship program, hosts expect to provide fellows regular on-base access to facilities and personnel where appropriate and relevant.

By the end of the program, sponsors receive a demonstration of the capability developed by their fellows and are expected to continue development and iteration afterward.

The problem submission period for Department of Defense sponsors is now closed for the 2022 program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates are eligible to apply for the X-Force Fellowship. Top applicants must have demonstrated technical or entrepreneurial experience or expertise. Evidence of past self-directed work is strongly preferred.

Participants must be U.S. citizens.

Who is an ideal candidate for X-Force?

The X-Force program diversifies the national security innovation base by creating a new model of national security service. Minimal experience working with the military is not only acceptable but also preferred! Those applicants with prior military or government work experience will be evaluated and accepted by exception.

Successful applicants should anticipate an expectation of proficiency in both technical and entrepreneurial skills. Strong candidates will have a robust technical skillset, solid project-based work, an entrepreneurial mindset or experience, and demonstrated leadership ability.

What will participants be doing?

X-Force participants will engage with Department of Defense (DoD) partners for 10-weeks of applied problem-solving. Participants will work on problems sponsored by their DoD hosts potentially including:

  1. Technical (e.g. software development, data analytics, mechanical design/prototyping)
  2. Strategy (e.g. communications and social media strategy)
  3. Research (e.g. emerging technology scouting) projects.

Participants will be expected to deliver a prototype capability to their military sponsors by the end of the program.

Where will the program take place?

While the hope is to operate the 2022 fellowship in person, final determination will take into account COVID-19 considerations and the health and safety of our fellows. If the fellowship proceeds in person, fellows will be located on military installations or near their military problem sponsors, within commuting distance for weekly in-person engagement with their sponsors (e.g. a Fellow may be based in Research Triangle Park if collaborating with a sponsor on Fort Bragg).

Should the fellowship be completed virtually as with the 2020 and 2021 cohorts. Fellows will work remotely and collaborate with their team and military sponsor over Google Meets, phone, email, and Slack.

When will the program take place?

X-Force runs from June 6 - Aug. 12, 2022.

Is this program paid?

The full-time X-Force Fellows will be paid a stipend, and have a small budget for materials and other expenses related to the delivery of a product to their sponsor.

Who owns the intellectual property?

All intellectual property developed during the X-Force program belongs to the program participants. However, students are required to turn over a copy of their product to their DoD sponsors at the close of the fellowship.

Important Dates

OCT. 18, 2021: X-Force Application opens for both fellows and DoD sponsors

JAN. 21, 2022: Application closes for problem submissions from DoD sponsors.

JAN. 24, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.: X-Force Application closes for fellows.

FEB. 28, 2022: Notification of Fellow Acceptances (Ongoing through March 17, 2022)

JUN. 06, 2022: X-Force 2022 Cohort Kickoff

AUG. 12, 2022: X-Force 2022 Cohort Ends/Last Day

Questions about X-Force?

Please direct any questions to