DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Lipinski, Daniel
Sent By:
Laurel.Kuxhaus@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in supporting Hacking for Defense (H4D), a university course developed by U.S. military combat veterans and taught at universities around the country in which students apply cutting-edge research and problem-solving techniques to real-world
security problems provided by Defense and Intelligence Agencies. National security innovation and entrepreneurial education programs such as H4D are proven and effective tools for strengthening our national security innovation workforce, developing innovative
solutions to some of our most pressing national security challenges, and rapidly deploying new and vital capabilities to America’s warfighters.

H4D, currently in its third year, is taught at 22 universities across the nation with more coming soon (see map below). The course teaches student teams to apply lean startup methodology, developed in Silicon Valley, to rapidly solve challenging national
security problems.

To date, dedicated volunteers, interested universities, and nonprofit organizations have developed the H4D curriculum and sourced student projects. In spite of its early success, its growth is limited by a lack of federal funding. In recognition of its contribution
to building 21st century national security innovators, Congress authorized the program in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We now ask you to join us in requesting a $25 million appropriation to enable the program to grow and spread
to universities around the country.

The enclosed letter requests a $60 million appropriation in Fiscal Year 2020 for the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator, the parent program to H4D, which was funded at $25 million in Fiscal Year 2017. The $25 million increase would support the
development and expansion of H4D.

Please contact Laurel Kuxhaus in my office at Laurel.Kuxhaus@mail.house.gov or 5-5701 with questions or to sign on. The deadline for signatures is Friday, March 29, 2019.

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

March 29, 2019

The Honorable Pete Visclosky

Chairman

Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Betty McCollum

Ranking Member

Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Visclosky and Ranking Member McCollum:

 

As you work to develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations bill, we write in support of the Hacking for Defense (H4D) program, which is operated by the DOD’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator. We are requesting
$60 million for the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator in FY 2020, a portion of which would support national security innovation and entrepreneurial education programs at universities, including the Hacking for Defense program. H4D is a university
course developed by U.S. military combat veterans and taught at universities around the country in which students apply cutting-edge research and problem-solving techniques to real-world security problems.

Currently in its third year, H4D is offered at 22 universities. The requested funding will make it possible to scale up H4D training and ensure that courses are available year-round in every state. Experiences with comparable entrepreneurial education programs
offered at the National Science Foundation have indicated that this level of investment is both necessary and sufficient to develop course materials and curricula, and to provide small grants to enable universities nationwide to implement this course.

H4D was first authorized for DOD support as a National Security Innovation and Entrepreneurial Education program in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. According to an article in Army AL&T Magazine, H4D creates an “Innovation Insurgency:
training and educating current and future leaders in government, academia and industry with a goal of hardwiring the national security enterprise to solve mission-critical problems with speed and innovation.”[1]
Out of the 205 students across the nation who have already been through H4D classes, 66% plan to continue working on their problems after the course is over. Moving at the speed of a startup, students in past classes have gone on to receive venture capital
or DOD funding to continue working on their projects.

We believe that funding H4D and other national security innovation and entrepreneurial education programs will provide enormous benefits for U.S. national security while training the next generation of defense industrial base innovators. H4D trains tomorrow’s
veterans, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop products that promote U.S. national security, while also stimulating the economy and private sector innovation.

 

We appreciate your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

 

[1] https://www.army.mil/article/179975/hacking_for_defense

 
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