Search This Site

Innovating for Defense


Jack Davidson (Department of Computer Science)
Tom Nachbar (School of Law)
Philip Potter (Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy)
John Robinson (Department of Politics)

Course Syllabus

In this course, students will work on real problems facing the U.S. Department of Defense. Students will study the structures and processes of the various national security agencies and how those agencies approach the problem of innovation. For most defense institutions this is a combined problem of technology, policy, and law. Multifunctional student teams made up of students from each of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Batten School, the School of Law, and the College of Arts and Sciences will work together through the semester on an actual problem submitted by DoD to the class. As part of the course, student teams will prepare a series of project updates along with a draft and final project presentation.


  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Weeks 2-3: Understanding the DoD and the National Security System
  • Week 3: Defense Innovation
  • Week 4: Methods of Problem Solving
  • Week 5: Methods of Problem Solving
  • Week 6: Theories of Organizational Change and Adoption
  • Week 7: MIDTERM and Group Meetings
  • Week 8: Team Workshops
  • Weeks 9-11: Team Presentations
  • Week 12: Murder Boards
  • Week 13: Report to DoD sponsors

Sample Projects

  • Preparing the U.S. Cyber Collection Apparatus for Future Challenges
  • Country Characteristics and High Incidences of CIVCAS
  • Team Info-Con
  • Promoting a Domestic sUAS Ecosystem
  • Norms of International Behavior in Spacefare
  • Compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict and Artificial Intelligence