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National Security Innovation Network
Monday, Dec. 18, 2023
Reading time: 4.5 minutes

The next NSIN newsletter will be on Monday, January 8, 2024. 

NSIN Program Alumni Strengthen Defense Innovation Base

Throughout 2023, NSIN program alumni continued to provide service members and DoD organizations with cutting-edge innovations. The innovators we collaborate with from both industry and academia are essential to our mission as we drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.

NSIN alumni news and highlights from 2023: 
January 2023
Epirus produces Leonidas, a directed energy system that leverages high-power microwaves to help defend against swarming unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Through the contract, Epirus will deliver prototype systems and work with the U.S. Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office to transition the technology into a future program of record. 

February 2023
Atomos Space develops propulsion transport vehicles that enable the government and private industry to maneuver satellites and space vehicles. With this funding, the company is expanding its team and taking its first mission to space.  

March 2023
NSIN alumni companies represent 16 of the 50 small businesses selected as semi-finalists for the Army xTech open-topic prize competition. After receiving a record 775 submissions for xTech, the Army chose the NSIN alumni teams alongside the other semi-finalists for their potential to fill critical needs for the Army. Each semi-finalist received a $5,000 cash prize and qualified to pitch their technologies to a panel of Army and DoD subject matter experts for additional prize money in the next round of xTech. 

April 2023
SentiAR is improving patient outcomes with its 3D-hologram technology that enables physicians to increase their accuracy and speed during interventional procedures with the help of real-time insights into patient data. With the funds, SentiAR will pursue new partnerships and wider clinical adoption of their technology. 

May 2023
Tomahawk Robotics provides warfighters unified control of multiple unmanned systems with its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic technology. With the five-year, $55 million contract, the team will develop its Flexible Cyber Secure Radio (FlexCSR) — an encrypted radio system with interchangeable frequency modules — with the Navy to reduce obsolescence and ensure interoperability of radio devices with future robotic systems. 

June 2023
NSIN X-Force Fellows from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa will continue to test and refine a solution with the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division to help military personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health challenges. After developing a solution to support warfighters with behavioral telehealth appointments while deployed or in field training last semester, the students have been selected for additional funding and development of their innovation with the Army in the 2023 NSIN X-Force Fellowship.   

July 2023
Congratulations to the five NSIN alumni companies on the Silicon Valley Group’s 2023 NatSec100 list. Collectively raising over $42 billion to date, the companies highlighted on the list include the top venture-funded defense and dual-use startups in national security innovation based on the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E))'s Critical Technology Areas. The included alumni are Shield AI, Capella Space, Spark Cognition, Epirus, and Slingshot Aerospace. 

August 2023
NSIN alumni companies took 10 of the 50 semifinalist slots at the Army’s xTech Prime prize competition. The semifinalists each received $5,000 and an opportunity to compete for additional prize money in the next round. The NSIN alumni and other semifinalists developed the most promising advancements for the Army in artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomy, climate and clean technologies, immersive technology and wearables, and sensors. 

September 2023
Axiom Space provides the government and private industry with greater access to space through safer, more cost effective human spaceflight services and updated, human-rated, space-based infrastructure. With the funding, the company will continue to fulfill contracts and work toward their buildout of a commercial space station. 

October 2023
NSIN alumni Pryon enables industry and government to save time by providing quick access to critical information from across their organizations with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered knowledge management system. Pryon will use the funding to grow its team, expand into international markets, and further develop its existing partnerships. 
November 2023
Xage Security improves the cyber readiness of operational capabilities for DoD and commercial industry through risk management solutions on Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as surveillance cameras and temperature sensors. The company recently raised $20 million in a Series B round to continue expanding its zero trust cybersecurity innovations. 

December 2023
NSIN alum Skyline Nav AI, the maker of a technology that leverages computer vision algorithms and 3D light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data to provide navigation in GPS-denied environments, the grand prize of $85,000 during the 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge. 

NSIN X-Force Fellowship


Companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and more can learn how to enter the National Security Innovation Base, discover how to access government programming and funding, engage in national security events, and solve DoD challenges at the new OnRamp Hub in downtown Dayton, Ohio and Wichita, Kansas. The Hub will support small businesses in the Great Lakes and Great Plains regions that are on the leading edge of new technology, but face barriers to working with the DoD.  

NSIN X-Force Fellowship
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division has been a consistent user of the NSIN X-Force Fellowship, hosting more Fellows than any other command and leveraging their talents to address a range of real-world challenges on projects for communications, scientific research, policy, and more.  

NSIN X-Force Fellowship
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is partnering with NSIN to launch a new initiative in early 2024 called the “Global Fishing Forecast Challenge.” The goal is to use unclassified data to forecast illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activity. Ten teams will compete for a $500,000 prize, with each team receiving at least $25,000 for their solution. 


JAN. 3, 2024

Win part of a $90,000 prize pool in the NSIN and xTech Good Vibrations Challenge with innovative algorithms that could help the Army determine whether vehicles pose a threat using terrestrial ground sensors. The challenge is open to undergraduate and graduate students. 

NSIN X-Force

JAN. 31, 2024

Applications are open for university students to apply for the 2024 X-Force Fellowship program. Selected fellows will work with military and national security leaders next summer on real-world DoD challenges, participate in professional development opportunities, and build a portfolio using their skills for national security solutions. 


DEC. 20, 2023 & JAN. 4, 2024 

Innovators interested in taking advantage of U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant funding may attend one of the three info sessions being held by the Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) to learn more about the Air Force’s SBIR/STTR program. 


Follow the NSIN Defense Innovation Funding Opportunities Series on LinkedIn to identify more funding across the defense innovation space.  

JAN. 5, 2024 

Innovators with artificial intelligence (AI) tools that could enable dictation for clinical encounter notes or community care document processing that could reduce the administrative burden facing providers may submit their solutions during the Department of Veterans Affairs’ AI Tech Sprint for the opportunity to receive part of the $1 million prize pool. 
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The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate two portfolios of programs and services: Talent and Venture. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.   
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