Identify innovative ways to assure communications during volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters and win part of a $75,000 prize pool.


The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), in partnership with the Washington Air National Guard’s (WA ANG) 194 Communications Squadron, will run a pitch event in May and demo in June to identify capabilities for emergency communications in disaster situations.

A team of subject matter experts will evaluate applicants and select up to 15 companies as semi-finalists for participation in the hybrid Pitch Day in May 2024. Up to 5 companies will be invited as finalists to participate in an in-person Demonstration Day and awarded $1,000 for travel and final preparations. The demonstrations will take place at Camp Murray, located southwest of Tacoma, WA in June 2024 and up to 3 companies will be selected as winners. A total of $75,000 in awards will be awarded to the top performing company/companies.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is making significant investments in this arena and looking to support the growth of emergency communication technologies that can support various defense applications.

Problem Statement

The WA ANG faces the critical challenge of responding swiftly to Domestic Operations (DOMOPS) and natural disasters, necessitating immediate and effective communication. With the capacity to deploy approximately 2,100 ANG members & an additional 6,000 Army National Guard members statewide, the need for a communication solution that can support an organized response is of utmost importance.

The 194th Communications Squadron is actively seeking a comprehensive communications solution tailored for emergency preparedness, boasting an agile footprint capable of sustained operation throughout the duration of an emergency. Specifically, the solution must operate in degraded communication environments, such as during a volcanic eruption where terrestrial connections are unavailable.

Key Dates

  • February 23, 2024: Solicitation Release - IdeaScale,, NSIN website
  • March 13, 2024: “Ask Me Anything” Session
  • April 7, 2024: Solicitation Closes & Down-selection Begins
  • April 19, 2024: Down-selection Ends & Finalists Announced
  • Week of April 22, 2024: Pitch Rehearsal
  • May 1, 2024: Hybrid Pitch Event
  • May 8, 2024: Finalists Announced
  • June 5, 2024: Demonstration Event
  • June 12, 2024: Winner Announced

Benefits of Participating

  • $75,000 in awards to the top performing company/companies
  • Exposure to leaders across multiple branches of the DoD
  • Potential for follow-on efforts with the WA ANG (e.g., AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct-to-Phase-II partnership), Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and others


  • U.S.-owned and operated companies
  • Active registration in
  • Early- to mid stage ventures (i.e., companies with few or no DoD contracts, equal to or earlier than Series A); OR non-traditional defense contractors
  • Ventures able to demonstrate the solution’s capabilities by June 2024

Apply Now

Participants must apply for the C2C Challenge online via the link below.

Apply Now

About National Security Innovation Network

NSIN is a program office in the U.S. Department of Defense, nested within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). We are set up to collaborate with a wide variety of innovators to include universities, researchers, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups. We create opportunities for collaboration across communities and connect those that might not traditionally work in national security. Together, we help drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.

For more information or interview requests with Team NSIN, please contact us at

About the Washington Air National Guard

The Washington Air National Guard is the aerial militia of the State of Washington and an element of the Washington National Guard. Since the early 1900s, the men and women of the WA ANG have served our state and nation nobly. Today, more than 2,100 Airmen across the state serve in the WA ANG and lead a variety of missions, from aerial refueling, active defense of our nation’s airspace, cyber security of state and national infrastructure, and providing much-needed assistance during state emergencies. Composed of the Headquarters WA ANG, two wings – the 141st Air Refueling Wing and the 194th Wing – as well as the Western Air Defense Sector’s 225th Air Defense Group, the WA ANG offers our state and nation cutting-edge capabilities to increase its security.