Students at 17 top research colleges and universities nationwide will participate in the single largest fall semester enrollment of the NSIN Hacking for Defense (H4D) course in the program’s history.

The Fall 2020 H4D cohort includes universities from seven of 11 regions throughout the NSIN Network, including nine universities offering the course for the first time. H4D is a collegiate course offered by NSIN, a program office within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that teaches students to work with the Defense and Intelligence Communities to address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges rapidly. The H4D program is powered by collaborative partnerships with BMNT, Inc. and the Common Mission Project.

First-time partners include New York University (Mid-Atlantic Region); Florida Polytechnic University (Southeast Region); Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Chicago (Great Lakes Region); the University of Texas – Dallas (Southwest Region); Colorado State University and South Dakota Mines (Rocky Mountain Region); and the Naval Postgraduate School and San Diego State University (Pacific South Region).

“The continued expansion of the Hacking for Defense program dramatically scales the number of talented students throughout the country working to solve the Department of Defense’s most pressing national security problems,” said Morgan C. Plummer, NSIN’s Managing Director. “Our partnership with BMNT and the Common Mission Project has enabled H4D to be delivered to an unprecedented number of universities, and increased the opportunities for collaboration between top academic talent and the DoD.”

The H4D program invites the talents of communities that have not previously been fully explored, such as the bright minds on college campuses across the U.S. “Our mission is to bring the right talent to the table, who can solve our real-world, national security problems quickly, efficiently, and effectively,” Plummer said. “Our network of H4D schools and student problem solvers continues to grow because of our university partners’ incredible appetite and willingness to step up to the plate and help our nation find solutions to these critical national security problems.” The full list of schools participating in the Fall 2020 Semester includes:


  • Columbia University
  • New York University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

National Capital

  • University of Virginia


  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • University of Alabama – Huntsville
  • University of South Florida

Great Lakes

  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • University of Chicago


  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas – Dallas

Rocky Mountain

  • Colorado State University
  • South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
  • United States Air Force Academy


  • Arizona State University
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • San Diego State University

Each course design builds on prior offerings and experiences to increase the likelihood that solutions produced by the students participating in H4D will be adopted and leveraged by defense partners. The Fall 2020 H4D cohort represents the culmination of lessons learned over the four years that NSIN has partnered with universities to offer the course. During the Spring 2020 semester, the H4D program produced 77 total solutions for consideration of DoD partners.

The Fall 2020 cohort also represents the first program offering to be fully planned and executed in the COVID-19 era. Hybrid offerings were created to sustain and maintain program continuity despite the uncertainty faced by many university program partners.

For more information, visit


The NSIN mission is to “build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.” NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, DoD problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities. In 2019, NSIN expanded its partnership with BMNT, Inc., and the Common Mission Project. NSIN delivers the H4D course throughout the nation in collaboration with The Common Mission Project, BMNT’s nonprofit arm.