Hacking for Defense: Finding solutions to DOD problems

For two weeks it was pedal to the metal. Given a problem on day one, 35 cadets divided into seven teams were given 10 days to network with industry experts, fully define the problem they'd been assigned and develop a viable solution.

The course, called Hacking for Defense, was taught at the U.S. Military Academy for the first time. Hacking for Defense is a graduate-level course currently taught at 22 universities throughout the country. During the course, students learn problem-solving skills while working to find solutions to Department of Defense problems.

The West Point course includes seven teams, each including four West Point cadets and one ROTC cadet. The goal was to build teams with cadets from various academic fields and leverage their differing backgrounds to solve real-world problems.

"It is really focused on, how do I get young men and women who are our future experts in business and technology and other places and engineering, and leverage them to work on problem sets for the Army?" Colonel Todd Woodruff, an instructor in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership department which sponsors the course, said. "How do I get these problems in front of universities so they can leverage some of their talent and treasure on behalf of the nation?" Read more.

Photo: Cadet Jay Yang '20 speaks with an expert on the phone while taking notes during the Hacking for Defense course

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