Hacking for Defense® is an academic course that will allow students to work on national security problems. The program will now be expanded as a result of a strategic collaboration between The Common Mission Project (CMP) and the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation (GKC) at Stanford University.
Hacking for Defense® (H4D) was created in 2016 at Stanford University by Steve Blank, Joe Felter, and Peter Newell. They created the class with the intention of introducing students to new forms of national service. Since its inception, it has been taught at more than 50 universities across the US. This collaboration will enable the class to expand to over 100 universities nationwide.
GKC supports the development of the pedagogy for H4D and is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). While CMP is a non-profit partner of innovation company BMNT Inc. and will be responsible for administering and expanding H4D.
H4D has successfully transformed how national security problems are solved by providing a strategic innovation capability to the United States, its partners, and its allies. Authorized by Congress, a course teaches students how to use entrepreneurial tools, including Blank’s Lean Startup methodology, to address real-world challenges. They’ve helped solve problems such as safely evacuating troops under fire, detecting and countering drones, and predicting cyber threats.
Similar programs are taught in the UK and Australia. In addition, H4D is the flagship program in a series of entrepreneurship courses which includes Hacking for Diplomacy, Hacking for Homeland Security, Hacking for Manufacturing, and Hacking for Climate, that is administered by CMP. The GKC also plans to support the growth of these similar H4D programs.
According to Alex Gallo, executive director of CMP, “This partnership will expand the impact of H4D through connecting the program to the objectives of strategic competition with China and Russia by developing and building the capabilities, emerging operating concepts, and talent required to work on these problems.”
While Gordian Knot Center director Joe Felter said, “We are excited to work closely with CMP to expand the impact of H4D. This more formal collaboration will bring H4D back to its founding at Stanford University; grow its connection to its original government sponsor, ONR; and increase the opportunity to engage other government agencies,” said Gordian Knot Center director Joe Felter.
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