Flightpath is a fellowship program that provides Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets with opportunities to learn innovative practices to address real-world national security problems from across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Flightpath is a fellowship program that provides Air Force ROTC cadets with supplementary opportunities to learn innovative practices to address real world national security problems from across the DoD.

The fellowship is a semester-long, part-time, paid opportunity. Cadets must be nominated to apply for the Spring 2024 cohort.


The Flightpath program is open to current Air Force ROTC cadets at select universities. Flightpath Fellows will participate in initial innovation training, engage with tech companies, and conduct site visits with DoD mission partners. Throughout the program, the Fellows will gain new skills and connections while learning what the Air Force could offer them as commissioned officers.

Fellows will spend a semester (about 20 weeks) assigned to a military project sponsor, dedicating up to 20 hours per week to problem solving. The program will culminate with a final in-person demonstration day, allowing Fellows to present whitepapers, prototypes, and proofs-of-concepts to their project sponsors and peers.

Applications are open to nominated cadets only. Nominated cadets will be notified when their application is live. The deadline for all cadet applications is December 6, 2023.

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Applications for the 2024 Flightpath Program will open on November 8, 2023. Applications will be directly sent to cadets once their nomination is received.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Current U.S. Air Force ROTC cadets are eligible to participate. Cadets must be nominated to apply.

Top applicants will have demonstrated technical or entrepreneurial experience. Evidence of past self-directed work is strongly preferred.

Who is an ideal candidate for Flightpath?

The Flightpath program strengthens the national security innovation base by exposing cadets to new problem solving techniques and applications. Fellows will gain unique hands-on learning experience and mentorship that will help prepare them for careers with the DoD.

Accepted applicants may have varied backgrounds including STEM, policy, business, and more. Ideal applicants will be proficient in both technical and entrepreneurial skills. Strong candidates will have a robust technical skillset, solid project-based work, an entrepreneurial mindset, and demonstrated leadership ability.

What will participants be doing?

Flightpath Fellows will engage with DoD partners for a semester (20-weeks) of applied problem-solving. Fellows 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.

Fellows will be expected to deliver a whitepaper, proof-of-concept, or early-stage prototype to their military sponsors upon the conclusion of the program.

Where will the program take place?

The 2024 Flightpath program will take place remotely from select university campuses. Fellows will be expected to be in-person for a kick-off event and final demonstration day, as well as a mid-semester experiential learning opportunity.

Any required travel will be paid for by Flightpath.

When will the program take place?

The Flightpath program will run from Jan. 2024 through May 2024.

Is this program paid?

All Flightpath Fellows will be paid for the duration of the 20-week program.

Additionally, as required, project teams may be given a small budget for materials and other expenses related to the delivery of a solution to the project’s sponsor

Who owns the intellectual property?

All intellectual property developed during the Flightpath 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, with the understanding that the government retains government purpose rights to findings and solutions.

Important Dates

Nov. 8, 2023: Flightpath submission period opens for DoD problem sponsors

Nov. 8, 2023: Flightpath application opens for cadets

Nov. 29, 2023: Cadet nominations close

Dec. 6, 2023: Cadet application period ends

Dec. 11, 2023: Submission period for DoD problem sponsors ends

Dec. 22, 2023: Notification of acceptances

Jan. 20, 2024: Flightpath 2024 Cohort Kick-Off

May 17, 2024: Flightpath 2024 Cohort Concludes

Questions about Flightpath?

Please direct any questions to flightpath@nsin.mil

Department of Defense Hosts

The NSIN Flightpath program addresses national security problems that require technical and entrepreneurial expertise. If your component seeks Flightpath talent, please visit the Flightpath Information for DoD Mission Partners page to learn more about the program and to submit a national security problem.

The problem submission period for DoD hosts is open until December 11, 2023.