Hacking for Defense coming to Colorado School of Mines

Colorado School of Mines students will have the opportunity to put their problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills to work next semester to tackle critical national security challenges.
Hacking for Defense (H4D), a graduate-level course that brings together teams of students to solve real-world problems faced by the U.S. Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (DoD/IC), will be offered at Mines for the first time this spring as part of the Engineering and Technology Management program, in conjunction with the University of Denver.
“In the dynamic world we live in, national security initiatives need to move at startup speed. Yet, in many cases, we still have decades-long acquisition and procurement cycles. We need to be faster,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Creighton Mullins. “Today, our potential adversaries are able to quickly acquire and harness the power of innovations—social networks, encryption, GPS, low-cost drones and 3D printers, among other technologies. This is our students’ opportunity to do something about it, and this course will teach students how to develop pre-prototypes that address DoD/IC needs in weeks, not years.”
H4D is open to Mines and DU graduate students in all disciplines, as well as exceptional undergraduates. Students will participate in the course as part of a four-person team, learning lean startup techniques and then applying them to design and test solutions to an important national security problem they select, with speed, urgency and creativity.
“Mines students have the technical chops and the grit to see challenges through, the key qualities of successful entrepreneurs. When you combine these students with the social and humanities scholars at the University of Denver, it creates a set of teams that will come up with unique solutions to these very challenging problems,” said Werner Kuhr, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Mines.  
“We are excited to partner with Mines to offer this excellent course, providing students the opportunity to work on cross-disciplinary teams to solve important real-world problems—the best training imaginable to prepare them for meaningful careers in innovation,” said Martin Katz, chief innovation officer at University of Denver.
Mullins and Kuhr will be joined by Sid Saleh, teaching associate professor of economics and business at Mines, as the course’s core instructors. Created as a way to solve real-world problems while providing a new platform for national service, Hacking for Defense was launched at Stanford in 2016 and has since been adopted by more than 25 universities nationwide.
Brown bag lunches and informational meetings will be held over the coming weeks for Mines students interested in enrolling the course and looking to form teams:
  • Mines Course Kickoff Event: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Nov. 8, Mines Student Recreation Center, McNeil Room.
  • Brown Bag Lunch: 12-1 p.m. Nov. 14, Arthur Lakes Library Innovation Station
  • Team Formation Mixer #1 + Meet Problem Sponsors: 5-6:30 p.m. Nov. 21, Arthur Lakes Library Innovation Station
  • Team Formation Mixer #2 + Meet Problem Sponsors:  5-6:30 p.m. Nov. 28, Arthur Lakes Library Innovation Station
The enrollment deadline is Dec. 18, with team interviews to be held after the holidays on Jan. 8. For more information, go to innovation.mines.edu/h4d/.
Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 | erusch@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.