The X-Force Fellowship is a summer internship program that provides undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates a chance to serve their country by solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense.


  • NSIN hires fellows every summer to work on national security projects.
  • Full-time, project-based summer internships.
  • Virtual or in-person, embedded with military sponsor.
  • Open to U.S. citizens at the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • No cost to sponsor.
  • Sponsor receives a minimum viable product (MVP).
  • Sponsor gains significant new, creative analysis and thinking.

About X-Force

The X-Force Fellowship is a summer program that provides student technologists and entrepreneurs a chance to serve their country by solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

The fellowship is a 10-week, full-time (40 hours per week), paid opportunity where multidisciplianry student teams bring unconventional thinking and novel approaches to building solutions as embedded fellows within military commands.


The application process is currently closed.

Important Dates

NOV. 13, 2023: X-Force Fellowship application opens for students

NOV. 1, 2023: X-Force Fellowship submission period opens for DoD problem sponsors

DEC. 15, 2023: at 11:59 p.m.: Submission period for DoD problem sponsors ends

JAN. 31, 2024: at 11:59 p.m.: X-Force Fellowship application closes for students

LATE-FEB. - MAR., 2024: Notification of Fellow Acceptances

JUNE 03, 2024: X-Force Fellowship 2024 Cohort Kickoff

AUG. 9, 2024: X-Force Fellowship 2024 Cohort Concludes

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates are eligible to apply for the X-Force Fellowship. Top applicants will have demonstrated technical or entrepreneurial experience. Evidence of past self-directed work is strongly preferred.

Participants must be U.S. citizens.

Who is an ideal candidate for X-Force?

The X-Force Fellowship diversifies the national security innovation base by creating a new model of national security service. Minimal experience working with the military is not only acceptable, but preferred. Applicants with prior military or government work experience will be evaluated and accepted by exception.

Successful applicants should anticipate an expectation of proficiency 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?

X-Force Fellows will engage with DoD partners for 10-weeks of applied problem-solving. Participants 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.

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

In the past, X-Force Fellows have worked on a wide range of projects including hardware design and prototyping, software development, data analysis and visualization, technology scouting, communications and marketing strategy, and policy research. X-Force Fellows are matched with a problem and a DoD project military sponsor based on skill set, educational background, and interview feedback. Each X-Force Fellowship team will consist of at least two Fellows with complementary skill sets to ensure the creation of innovative, effective solutions.

Where will the program take place?

The 2024 Fellowship is expected to take place predominantly in person, with virtual problems accepted on an as-needed basis. All X-Force Fellowship projects are sponsored by DoD organizations located within the United States. Successful applicants will be notified of their specific placement in their acceptance letters. Fellows are expected to be located within commuting distance of their project sponsor for the duration of the summer.

For any virtual projects , Fellows will collaborate remotely with their team and project sponsor.

When will the program take place?

The X-Force Fellowship will run from June 3 - Aug. 9, 2024.

Is this program paid?

All X-Force Fellows will be paid for the duration of the 10-week program. Additionally, certain projects may be provided 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 X-Force 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.

How can DoD organizations work with X-Force students?

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

Questions about X-Force?

Please direct any questions to


  • Yunheng (Daniel) Zhu
    Yunheng (Daniel) Zhu

    X- Force Program Manager