Who Should Apply

Who Should App

Early-stage ventures starting within the commercial market and interested in exploring DoD market opportunities, or startups beginning in the DoD market and seeking to grow.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Companies must be U.S. Owned and Operated.
  • Registration in SAM.gov is required to receive an award but is not required at the start of the competition.
  • Companies must be pre-Series A.
  • Ventures whose principal places of business are in states with access to identified NSIN Mission Acceleration Center locations: Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio


Download the judging rubric.


About National Security Innovation Network

NSIN is a program office in the U.S. Department of Defense, nested within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). NSIN collaborates with a wide variety of innovators, including universities, researchers, students, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to create opportunities for collaboration across communities and connect those that might not traditionally work in national security. Together, NSIN helps drive national security innovation and develop technologies that directly support the individuals responsible for protecting our country.

About the Mission Acceleration Center

The Mission Acceleration Center or MAC is an open door to the DoD Innovation ecosystem. It is a physical instance of the nationwide NSIN network. This program serves as a catalyst for a diverse population to develop actionable solutions to current and future warfighters’ most complex and pressing problems.


Areas of Focus

Companies selected for the 2023 NSIN Vector cohort will have technologies that align with at least one of the 14 DoD modernization priorities and address national security priority focus areas including Ukraine, strategic deterrence, and Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).




















Biotechnology is an emerging engineering discipline that uses living systems to produce a wide range of technologies and capabilities.

Quantum Science is the study of physical properties at small, even atomic, scales. Defense applications include atomic clocks, quantum sensors, quantum computing, and quantum networks. Quantum science promises to enable leap-ahead capabilities. 


FutureG is a suite of emerging wireless network technologies enabled by DoD and commercial industry cooperation to enable military operations and ensure a free and open internet.

Advanced materials explore innovative new materials and novel manufacturing techniques that can dramatically improve many of the Department's capabilities.

Artificial Intelligence (Al) is the software engineering discipline of expanding capabilities of software applications to perform tasks that currently require human intelligence.

Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems technology encompasses the capability to communicate, provide real-time dissemination of information across the Department, and effective command and control in a contested electromagnetic environment.

Microelectronics are circuits and components that serve as the "brain" to human-made electronic functional systems.

Space technologies include space flight, Space communication, and other technologies needed to maintain space operations.

Renewable energy generation and storage includes solar wind, bio-based and geothermal technologies, advanced energy storage, electronic engines, and power grid integration.

Advanced computing and software technologies include supercomputing, cloud computing, data storage, computing architectures, and data processing.

Human-Machine Interface refers to technologies related to human-machine teaming and augmented and virtual reality.

Directed Energy Weapons utilize lasers, high power microwaves, and high energy particle beams to produce precision disruption, damage, or destruction of military targets at range.

Hypersonic systems fly within the atmosphere for significant portions of their flight at or above five times the speed of sound, or approximately 3700 miles per hour.

To provide advantage for the joint force in highly contested environments, the Department must develop wideband sensors to operate at the intersection of cyberspace, electronic warfare, radar, and communications.


Teams placing first, second, and third in the showcase event will receive the following:

green 1 beatrice


green 2 beatrice


green 3 beatrice



Pre-Series A or early-stage ventures that want to explore or have started exploring doing business with the DoD.  

Ventures whose principal places of business are in states with access to identified NSIN Mission Acceleration Center locations: Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio.


Apply via the application link by Aug. 25, 2023.

The 2023 Vector cohort is 10 weeks long and will begin in October. 

Vector is entirely virtual, a combination of live webinar sessions every week and pre-recorded content.

The expected minimum workload for teams is about two hours per week for every week of the cohort. 

Vectors accept about 20 qualified ventures for each iteration cohort.

Teams can expect to learn about the following topics via a mix of both live and asynchronous programming: Creating a Business Plan, Business Formation Fundamentals, Capital Raising Fundamentals, Building Your Federal Team (including Business Transitions and Talent Deep Dive), Ownership/Equity/Incentives, Federal Pitch Crafting and Refining, Marketing to Federal, Federal Procurement 101 (including SBIR/STTR, CSOs, OTAs, CRADAs, BAAs), Federal Proposal Writing, Leveraging Partners to Get On Contract, Security and Compliance, Product Roadmapping, Managing Legal Risk, IP/Confidentiality Markings, and Market Research.

The purpose of Vector is for new ventures to explore the benefits of making their business dual-use. NSIN is a DoD organization that exists to promote dual-use innovation. This program does not include an ask to obtain teams’ equity or IP rights. IP considerations will be up to the parties involved to make separate agreements with DoD partners. NSIN does not speak for other DoD organizations or the DoD at large. 

 Apply Now

Applications are required for consideration for NSIN Vector 2023. Startups may apply via SmartSheetsGov by clicking the link below.