Build the future of defense


On a mission to supercharge the defense-industrial partnership that underpins America’s national security and economic vitality.
Defense Ventures Program at Shift runs a number of industry immersion programs for the US military. The future of defense tech is public-private partnerships. Immerse and learn from leading venture capital firms and tech startups in programs designed for the DoD’s emerging innovators. Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, and DoD Civilians encouraged to apply.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Defense Ventures Hosts

We partner with leading venture capital and private equity firms, incubators, and tech startups across the United States. Participants are paired within the Shift Partner Network using our proprietary matching technology.

Innovation Deployments


Defense Ventures Fellowship

Shift’s Defense Ventures, in partnership with AFWERX, delivers an industry immersion program that selects innovative officers, enlisted, and civilians in the midst of their careers to join venture capital and startup companies across the US for eight weeks to bring the latest commercial tech trends and innovation back to the Department of Defense.
Session 1
Part-time Onboarding: March 20 - 31
Full-time Immersion: April 3 - May 12
Applications closed.

Application Submission Deadline: RollingSession 2
Part-time Onboarding: June 26 - July 14
Full-time Immersion: July 17 - Aug. 25
Applications closed.

Session 3
Part-time Onboarding: Aug. 7 - 18
Full-time Immersion: Aug. 21 - Sept. 29
Applications are open!
Deadline to apply - June 30.

Session 4
Part-time Onboarding: Sept. 18 - 29
Full-time Immersion: Oct. 2 - Nov. 10
Applications are open!
Deadline to apply - August 4.

Download the Fellowship Info Sheet
Application Submission Deadline: Download the Fellowship Info Sheet
Download the Fellowship Info Sheet

Expand Your Network of Influence

By joining the Defense Ventures ecosystem, you will unlock an invaluable network of new connections. Combining diverse backgrounds with the shared goal of bringing the DoD into the 21st Century, Defense Ventures Fellows learn and execute at the speed of relevance.

Accelerate Delivery to the DoD

By leading public-private partnerships, you will create real solutions to the world's toughest problems and speed the delivery of top-tier technologies to the warfighter. You will also help private industry understand "what right looks like" when working with the DoD.

Acquire 21st-Century Private Sector Knowledge

During the program, you'll immerse within a venture capital firm, dual-use startup, or accelerator and learn from some of the brightest minds in the private sector. Your current skills are directly translatable—learn how during this 8-week immersion.

Sound like an opportunity for you?

If you think you should join the next session of Defense Ventures Fellows, you're probably right. Open to all employees of the Department of Defense with at least 3 years experience, including Active Duty, Guard, Reservists, and DoD Civilians.

THE 12-MONTH Experience

Defense Ventures Tour

This Training With Industry program built in partnership with the Department of Defense and leading venture capital and private equity firms.

Participants will gain first-hand knowledge of emerging technology companies developing critical capabilities for defense applications. Placement within these key financial nodes is intended to provide a bridge between the DoD and the venture capital and private equity industries, fostering greater trust and cooperation during early-stage dual-use technology innovation.
Program Details
Participants spend a year on-site or remote at a leading venture capital or private equity firm.

Next Session
Tour Dates: May 2023 - February 2024
Applications closed.

Local Externships

Decentralized Fellows

A new offering for military members to get a glimpse into a real-life workplace outside the gate of their installation through immersion with local industry.

By getting off base and into a new work environment, supported by Defense Ventures community and curriculum, participants will be able to better envision what types of high-impact innovation projects are possible at their local installation (and potentially throughout DoD) while also picking up essential snippets of private sector knowledge.
Apply Now
Applications are now open for active duty innovators located at Luke AFB and Fairchild AFB.
Program Details
Decentralized Fellows pilot programs are commencing at:
• Fairchild Air Force Base
• Luke Air Force Base

Next Session
Session 2
Part-time Onboarding: May 30 - June 2
Full-time Immersion: June 5 - July 14
Applications closed.

Session 3
Part-time Onboarding: Aug. 14 - 18
Full-time Immersion: Aug. 21 - Sept. 29
Applications open June 2.

Bring Decentralized Fellows to your installation

Join our newsletter and be the first to know when new sessions are announced!

Meet the Latest
Defense Ventures Cohorts!

Defense Ventures identifies emerging innovators from the Department of Defense and facilitates industry immersions at venture capital firms, incubators, and startups across the United States. Shift runs this program in partnership with AFWERX, the innovation arm of the Air Force, who created this opportunity for members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Space Force, Coast Guard, Reserve, National Guard and DoD civilians.
View Cohort SixteenView Cohort Seventeen
Defense Ventures Program

Alumni video testimonial

Software & Data

Are you skilled at building software or working with data? Eager to dig into the product life cycle and identify where you can best contribute? Advance your career through interactions with industry experts, hands-on exercises with your peers, and connection to Shift’s hiring partners.

Apply Now
Sales & Customer Ops

Explore how to frame your military experience in a way that resonates with sales and customer success recruiters and why you are a great fit for these careers. Understand the customer lifecycle from prospecting to account management and identify where you best fit.

Apply Now
Navigating Next

In a moment of career change but not quite sure what’s next? Explore your interests, discover your professional goals, and learn the tools you’ll need to take your next career steps.

Apply Now
Project & Program Management

Learn how to transform your previously structured military approach into new project management roles. Gain insight from other veterans who have found success and translate your experiences to stand out as a high-potential candidate.

Apply Now

What to expect from your
8-week fellowship

  • Plan for three hours of virtual group meetings and five hours of self-paced work per week. The more you give, the more you grow.
  • Join a cohort of like-minded peers in your target industry and benefit from a powerful support network as you expand your career.
  • Develop interview-ready skills while gaining exclusive industry knowledge. Our curriculum is designed to help you rapidly succeed.
  • Build your resume, own your story, and learn from inside experts. Stand out with confidence as you begin the job application process.
  • Complete a Career Accelerator to fast-track your job search and guarantee your member profile is highlighted to Shift hiring partners.
  • Commit to professional growth, peer support, and mentoring the next generation of veterans when you find success in your new career.
Air Force Ventures Fellowship

Hear what past
Fellows have
to say

The AFVentures Fellowship program connects the best and brightest from the United States Air Force with Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firms and technology startups.

Learn more about the AFVentures Fellowship

Have questions about Defense Ventures? Visit our FAQ page.