The Defense Innovator's Toolkit Curriculum will be the basis of a 300-400 level college course that addresses critical skill gaps in the federal workforce and encourages students to pursue careers in the federal government, particularly with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).


The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) seeks to establish a brand new academic curriculum as a complement to its ongoing support of the Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC) program.

Fundamentally, each of NSIN’s programs serve to solve a discrete DoD problem. To this end, NSIN generates hundreds of problem statements each year from across the entirety of the DoD. This curriculum is designed to be implemented across NSIN’s network of tier-1 and tier-2 research universities and various Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) as well as other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The DCTC program is a collaboration between the DoD and academia that is led by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD (A&S)). The objective of the DCTC program is to develop the next generation talent pipeline for the DoD’s civilian workforce. Student participants in the program receive 100% tuition scholarships, placement in summer internships at DoD organizations, and guaranteed employment in the Federal Government upon completion of the program. The program is open to rising juniors of any major at participating universities (U.S. citizenship required). The program is currently focused on the acquisition workforce, with required course content geared towards understanding public service, the DoD mission, and the acquisition environment. However, the long term objective is for this model to be adopted by the entirety of the DoD civilian workforce. More information on the program can be found at

Primary Objectives:

NSIN’s overall objective is to acquire a new curriculum that can be delivered by one or more pilot universities in the Fall 2024 academic semester. The contractor is not required to recruit universities for participation, but may choose to provide recommendations for potential participants to NSIN. The following primary objectives should serve as initial benchmarks for each proposal, however, sufficiently compelling proposals that offer alternate models and objectives will also be considered.

  • Identify and teach the critical skills necessary to instill a culture of innovation within DoD’s civilian workforce, regardless of primary job function.
  • Develop a sophisticated understanding of the relationship between the Department’s civilian employees and the servicemembers’ mission.
  • Expose students to various problem-solving methodologies including mission-based problem solving scenarios.
  • Improve students’ proficiency and fluency of communications in a professional defense and national security environment.
  • NSIN has a preference towards approaches that incorporate experiential learning and non-lecture based courses.

Scope of Work

The contractor shall develop a curriculum for a 300-400 level college course that can be easily deployed by a new university. The course content shall be adaptable to courses taught on both a semesterly and quarterly basis. All materials must be delivered in an editable format to allow for modifications by the instructor. The contractor shall provide the following deliverables:

  1. Course Description: A consolidated description of the course for inclusion in a university’s course catalog highlighting key aspects of the teaching methodology and intended learning outcomes.
  2. Syllabus: Semester length and quarter length Syllabus templates that identify key course content, expected learning objectives, suggested grading breakdown, and other relevant materials.
  3. Reading List: Compilation of recommended textbooks, articles, and other open source materials that can be used to enrich student understanding of the materials. Preference is to include low/no-cost options where available to reduce student spending.
  4. DoD Primer: A compact guide to provide a general overview of DoD to a civilian audience. Content should cover topics such as organizational structure and primary missions of the respective components. Other topic areas include DoD culture & values, grand strategy summary, the innovation ecosystem, application of how various academic disciplines translate to DoD career fields, and DoD acquisitions. Materials may be used as a reference document for course instructors with a more limited defense background or distributed to students as part of the recommended reading material.
  5. Presentation Materials: The contractor shall deliver presentation materials in an editable format. Materials should cover weekly class content and be used to guide classroom discussions. Two versions of the slides should be prepared, a standard set of slides that may be distributed to students and an annotated version with speaker notes for use by instructors.
  6. Case Studies/Experiential Exercises: Selection of relevant case studies/professional simulations either independently generated by the contractor or sourced from reputable vendors that illustrate key course concepts and can be used to facilitate in-class activities. In addition to the cases themselves, the contractor will produce discussion guides and other supplemental materials that will facilitate instruction of the material. Potential exercises include: guest speakers from the defense innovation community, collaboration with other NSIN, DCTC, or other DoD programming, hands on problem solving activities with real DoD problems, joint events corresponding with conferences and DoD exercises.
  7. Quizzes/Assessment Tools: An optional selection of materials that allow the instructor to measure student progress towards key learning objectives including a question bank for multiple choice and short answer test questions, as well as prompts for longer format written assignments.
  8. Grading Rubric: A suggested breakdown of how students will be assessed and how their grade will be determined. Must include rubrics for evaluating written assignments and templates for peer/self assessment reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the deadline? Your proposal must be received by Friday, Nov. 17th, 2023; 4pm EST.

Where do I submit my proposal? Submit your proposal via email to and reference the RFP number (Defense Innovator’s Toolkit Curriculum) in the subject line.

Can I have more detailed information? Please find the following at the links below:


All questions must be received by Monday, October 30th, 2023. Technical questions may be directed to Max Weintraub at with copy to Contractual and administrative inquiries should be referred to the undersigned at

About NSIN

NSIN, the National Security Innovation Network, is an unrivaled problem-solving network in the U.S. Department of Defense that adapts to the emerging needs of those who serve in the defense of our national security. We are dedicated to the work of bringing together defense, academic and entrepreneurial innovators to solve national security problems in new ways.