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What is Hopper?

DEF’s innovation and consultancy seeks to channel the power of the DEF network into tangible solutions. The name Hopper is an homage to the legendary Rear Admiral, Dr. Grace Hopper, who was known as “Admiral of the Cyber Sea,” a remarkable woman who programmed the first DoD computers. She dedicated her life and career to keeping the United States on the cutting edge of high technology, underpinned by her belief that maintaining the status quo was not sufficient. Like Admiral Hopper, DEF doesn’t believe we can continue doing things the same because “we’ve always done it that way.”  

Hopper brings the innovation, inspiration, and expertise of future national security leaders to decision-makers. Hopper leverages hundreds of mid-career professionals from the U.S. government, NGOs, and private institutions, bringing their expertise to refine complex problems and develop solutions, policy, or plans.

Image source: Illuminate Thinking

How does it


Hopper is unique in that its members strive to promote a culture of innovation by focusing on how they can better deliver actionable solutions to national security challenges. Hopper members often partner with Agitare to help facilitate and plan workshops and events.

A DEF member or problem sponsor from within the national security enterprise can bring a challenge to the Hopper Team, provide a synopsis of the challenge, commit to support as the problem owner for the project’s duration, and identify the desired product (briefing, report, prototype, or implementation plan). The Hopper team will consider all aspects of the problem by conducting round table discussions, focused working groups, and design sprints leveraging the DEF community. During these efforts, the Hopper Team will work with appropriate DEF members to develop the final product and present the findings to the sponsor.

Team Credentials

Design Sprint 2.0 (4-day) 

Warfighters Centered Design, Center for Adaptive Warfighting

Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), Project Management Institute 

Design Thinking 

Military Design

Specialization in Innovation and Design Thinking, University of Virginia

Agile/Scrum project management; AJ&Smart Sprint Master certificate, 

our work

Release of the Force of the Future, From the Future Force (F5)

The First Hopper Workshop: What We Learned and What Happens Next

Are you a DEF member or sponsor looking to be a part of a Hopper project?   Contact us at

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