Meet our latest cohort of Defense Ventures Fellows

The future of defense is public-private partnerships
Defense Ventures is an 8-week fellowship that 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.

Companies who host Defense Ventures Fellows gain insight into the mission of the Department of Defense, new perspectives on the federal marketplace, and forge enduring relationships with the military members they host. 

This fall, these fellows will begin a journey to learn “what great looks like” in emerging technology and bring commercial best practices back to the Department of Defense. The Defense Ventures Program allows fellows to engage directly with the private sector, establish meaningful connections, and develop a more in-depth understanding of business models, dual-use technologies, and solutions to challenging problems. 

Visit to learn more about the Defense Ventures Program and how to apply.

Meet the members of Cohort Twenty


Technical Sergeant Cameron Batts is a Diagnostic Imaging Section Chief for the Air Forces’ largest radiology department at Travis Air Force Base, California directing 4 specialties, 54 personnel totaling $30M in assets while conducting 24/7 operations supporting 43 clinics and 443 physicians. With over 13 years of operational and education experience, Cameron is an experienced leader with a passion for people and solving problems. Skilled in acquisitions, marketing, metrics, product management, data analysis, and public speaking to include classroom and didactic instruction with success in providing managerial and technical expertise.

Cameron’s previous assignments include the world’s largest medical education campus serving as the Education Program Director and Senior Instructor for the Department of Defense $11M nationally accredited Diagnostic Imaging training program coordinating 11 clinical sites, overseeing course curriculum and development, and instruction for 500 Navy, Army, Air Force students annually.

Cameron holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Arizona Global Campus and a Masters’ degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bunker Supply

Second Lieutenant James Bradford is a Cyberspace Operations Officer in the Maryland Air National Guard. He is assigned to the 276th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, where he serves as the Senior Cyber Planner.

James has just completed a four-year assignment with the United States Cyber Command's (USCC) Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF), where he served as the Lead Cyber Threat Analyst/ Liaison Officer detailed from USCC CNMF to the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF).

In his civilian career, he works for Lockheed Martin as a Cyber Threat Hunter. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland University College in Computer Security and Networks. He has two dogs that keep him busy when he is not working.

Adyton PBC

Michael Camp is an experienced innovator, leader and outside-the-box thinker currently serving as NCO in charge of Aircraft Maintenance Operations Flight for the 921st Contingency Response Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California.

At his unit, he is a Contingency Response Heavy Cargo Aircraft Mechanic directly supporting the US State Department and Transportation Command contingency wartime and humanitarian relief missions. While stationed at Travis, he has supported several missions including the 2021 Kabul Airlift and 2021 Operation Allies Refuge to name a few.  

Michael has over 13 years of enlisted military experience with aerospace operations spanning North American Aerospace Defense Command support, special operations tactical airlift, experimental test and design, logistics, training program management, and strategic planning. Additionally, Michael contributes to the innovation space through the Tesseract Program, Agility Prime, and AFWERX AF Ventures as a contract evaluator.

Michael is an SF Bay Area native and prior to joining the military, he studied Industrial Technology at Chabot College in Hayward, California. Previous work experience includes 6 years as a Machinist, with additional background in Carpentry and Heavy Equipment Operation.  In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, golfing, traveling, and designing car audio systems.

Captain Joshua Carter is a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Officer in the United States Air Force, currently serving as Chief of Current Operations at the 607th Air Support Operations Group. In this role, he is directly responsible for overseeing all unit operations while supporting multiple entities, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and the Republic of Korea military.

His previous position was leading the team responsible for developing and procuring future warfighting requirements for the entire TACP enterprise. This program managed and forecasted a $550 million dollar budget while evaluating material solutions through planning, programming, budgeting, and execution using the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System, ensuring acquisitions fulfill the warfighter deficiencies.

Joshua began his career as an enlisted TACP until he was commissioned through the Air Force Officer Training School.  Assignments include Air Support Operations Squadrons in TX, Germany, KS, Poland, and Korea; a Higher Air Force office in VA; as well as multiple joint and multinational deployments.  

Joshua currently holds a Master's degree from American Public University. He enjoys spending his free time exploring and traveling to new places, trying various foods, learning culinary skills, living an active lifestyle, and managing and developing his business in tabletop gaming.

First Lieutenant Noah Cho is an active-duty Finance Officer in the United States Air Force, currently serving as a Financial Manager at Kessel Run, a division within Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Digital Directorate.

He enables the development and delivery of Air Force Command and Control software by managing a $30M procurement budget and 5 R&D contracts totaling $15M per year. Lieutenant Cho supports the All Domain Common Platform, a congressional program of record that enables distributed and disaggregated operations of Command and Control applications.

Previously, Noah served as the Budget Officer of the 62d Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. As Budget Officer, he was the primary advisor to the Comptroller/CFO and led 16 personnel in the execution of the installation's operating budget. He is passionate about the interaction between capital resources and defense innovation-- he has served as an AFWERX financial augmentee, oversaw the 62d Airlift Wing's Squadron Innovation Fund program, and deployed funds to establish McChord's inaugural spark competition and maker lab.

Noah earned a B.A. in History from Yale University. He also holds a certificate in Data Analytics from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Squadra Ventures

Colonel Brendan Dunne is an Active Duty Cyber Warfare officer from Washington, DC.  A longtime member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and other special operations units, he is currently the Director of the Global Analytics Platform (GAP), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).  A critical technology and innovation platform, the GAP is USSOCOM’s core software development and data science platform chartered with “employing data as a weapon system” in support of special operations forces globally.

Brendan holds numerous professional certifications and is a graduate of the College of New Jersey, where he earned a degree in Finance and serves on the Alumni Executive Board. He has an MBA at Northwestern-Kellogg and currently serves as a Non-Resident Fellow at Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), MacDill Air Force Base.

Venus Aerospace

Tim Erdmann is a USAF Aerospace Systems Engineer currently serving as the Emerging Technologies Lead for Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Propulsion Acquisition at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

He leads a strategic planning team investigating advanced engine technologies such as attrition-tolerant small engines for future autonomous collaborative platforms, high-Mach turbine engines, combined cycle engines, hypersonic propulsion systems, and advanced propulsion concepts such as Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs).

He is also the Lead Engineer for the USAF Vector Initiative team – an AFLCMC, AFRL, and AEDC team accelerating public & private investment in the supersonic and hypersonic technology sectors. Tim is also leading the AFLCMC expansion of the Aerospace Propulsion Outreach Program (APOP). Tim started his career as a combustion research engineer at AFRL where he worked on advanced augmentors and combustors. An Ohio-license Professional Engineer, he has 12 years of experience in advanced combustion and propulsion research & development, test & evaluation, and project management.

Tim is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a BSE and MSE in Aerospace Engineering, and he is pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati exploring the effects of high centrifugal acceleration on premixed flames.


Special Agent Travis Gilliam is a Sr. Program Security Officer with the Department of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), with 15 years conducting law enforcement, counterintelligence, and security activities.

In his current role, he serves as the lead security advisor for the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (DAF RCO) partnering with the Program Executive Officer (PEO) and program managers to develop agile security strategies for select Department of Defense (DoD) combat support and weapons systems. Travis is adept with delivering agile solutions that accelerate innovation and integration between the DoD and the national security innovation base without being encumbered by traditional methodologies.

Previously, Travis served as the Resident Agent in Charge with the OSI - Office of Special Projects at the Space Systems Command, Los Angeles AFB, CA, where he led a team providing enterprise oversight activities for various special access programs and partnered with senior leaders across the interagency and defense industrial base to deliver capabilities to the Department of the Air Force.

Travis earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University and lives in the National Capitol Region with his wife and children.

The Engine

Captain James Hanley is the Contracts Branch Chief for the Strategic Innovation Team at the Kessel Run Program Office. He leads a team that executes all cross-product line efforts to drive more efficient and cutting-edge business practices. In this role, James penned the Directorate's first Commercial Solutions Opening to provide a direct pathway to defense contracts for non-traditional commercial companies.

Before Kessel Run, James was the first Contracting fellow at the Department of the Air Force & Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator, where he co-wrote the DoD's first Artificial Intelligence Acquisition Guidebook.Captain Hanley also previously served as the Deputy Contracts Branch Chief for the CloudOne Program Office and the lead Infrastructure Contracts Officer at Ramstein Air Force Base and on deployment at Al Dhafra Air Base.

James is an Atlanta, GA, native and a 2017 U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) graduate with a Bachelor's in Legal Studies and a minor in German Language and literature. He was also elected the Class President - a lifetime appointment. At USAFA, James excelled at national competitions in Sports (Rugby) and Academics (Moot Court and International Law). Outside of work, James enjoys spending time with his wife, Alexis, and dog, Milo.

Senior Airman Collin Leonard is a Tactical Air Control Party Precision Strike Operator in the United States Air Force with 5 years of experience providing strategic fire support to the 3rd Calvary Regiment. He is currently assigned to the 9th Air Support Operations Squadron at Ft. Hood, Texas.

Presently, Collin is a cyber liaison providing fundamental technical support and help desk solutions to enable seamless network functionality. With over 4 years of experience being a forward-edge operator providing tactical and technical solutions to complex issues on the battlefield, Collin has been a reliant advisor to multiple large-scale exercises with personnel numbers of up to six thousand service members.

His primary focus is organizing the integration of airborne strike assets within a three-dimensional battle space while utilizing tools such as cryptographic network devices to establish a secure communications network among other dislocated operational teams. Collin continually expands his knowledge by integrating new technology into his tactical operating techniques which includes the Android Tactical Assault Kit.

Collin has obtained his Associate's degree in Computer Science and will begin pursuing his undergraduate in Software Engineering with a minor in Information Systems Technology.


Chief Master Sergeant John is a senior executive advisor and United States Air Force leader with 28 years of operational leadership and strategic planning readiness. He currently is the Senior Enlisted Leader for the wing’s Innovation Cell, where he provides managerial leadership, technical guidance, and instruction for an organized, structured, and robust Innovation Program supporting Continuous Process Improvement and Innovation for all operations.

John is responsible for detailed analysis, facilitation, reporting, and providing recommendations for technical solutions, business process improvements, improving quality, reducing costs, and establishing appropriate process metrics and processes.

Additionally, John possesses a comprehensive background in Force Management, Human Resource leadership, and Installation Protection derived from conducting domestic and global operations within the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. He has also managed tasks and assessed risks to protect equipment, property, and people. John is very skilled at communicating administrative data to solve complex issues, and interfacing with internal and external customers to support both peacetime and combat operations.

John has experience in managing scheduled inspections under guidance from the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, leading military leaders through contingency exercises and real-world events while reviewing data with analysis techniques to appraise and posture planning.

Technical Sergeant Jon Longoria is a Comptroller & Financial Management professional in the U.S. Air Force serving as the chief subject-matter-expert in acquisitions and financial analysis for Stealthwerx in the 509th Bomb Wing Innovation Office, detailed from the 509th Comptroller Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

Alongside acquisition and financial expertise, he leverages outside-the-box thinking and unique analytical talents to bring multi-community experience to bear in solution development.

He previously was assigned to the Pentagon, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, Budget as senior budget analyst for the U.S. Air Force/Space Force enlisted entitlements portfolio. In this role, he drove a $36.6B budget execution that resulted in more effective feeding, sheltering, and clothing of 323K Airmen and Guardians across the enterprise.

Jon has two undergraduate degrees in business administration, and finance and served in levels of command from field to Air Staff. He has been assigned to [joint] conventional, contingency response, and special operations groups worldwide and been a contributor to several panels, including that serving the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School’s Anti-Terrorism Officer Course. A long-time TCU Horned Frogs fan, prior to service, Jon was a consultant in the private tech industry.


Lieutenant Junior Grade Hersh Rai is a Meteorology and Oceanography Officer in the United States Navy, currently serving as the Administrative Officer at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) located on Pearl Harbor, HI.

He oversees command-wide support services and logistics to include administrative, financial, and facilities matters. In addition, Hersh is responsible for the founding of the JTWC Development and Innovation Group (JDIG) focused on novel programming concepts for automation and streamlined data flow of decision support products. The team consists of a joint force including Airmen and Sailors. He has previously served as a Project Lead in the Low Earth Orbit System Program Office at the National Reconnaissance Office.

Hersh earned his dual Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology from the United States Naval Academy. He holds a Masters in Computer and Information Technology from Purdue University.

BMNT Partners

Muskan Shah is an Intelligence Professional in the United State Air Force with over three years of experience. As a Resource and Operations Manager for the National Security Agency (NSA) she apportions manning for 126 deployments worldwide to support Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Prior to her current position, Muskan functioned as a Senior Business Intelligence Analyst leading the Counter Threat Finance initiative on a Joint Inter-Agency Task Force for JSOC. Muskan created a training curriculum for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) analysis for over 400 Inter-Agency and Special Operations partners as well as 32 partner nations to thwart terror networks. After discovering the use case for these efforts, Muskan directed the use of $1.6 million in congressional funding for DLT analysis in the intelligence community and expanded the curriculum to satellite NSA locations.

Muskan is pursuing a degree in Cybersecurity at the University of Maryland. She has also earned CompTIA Net+ and Sec+ certifications, as well as the Government Blockchain Association certification. Muskan also maintains her portfolio of real estate and cryptocurrency investments when she isn’t at the park with her pup.

Adyton PBC

Recently retired from the US Army Reserve, Elizabeth “Beth” Sweet is a DoD Civilian S&T Program Manager Officer and the Deputy Office Director for the Advanced Phenomenologies (remote sensing modalities) Office in the Research Directorate at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Previously, on active duty, she served as the Defense Engagement Lead for the Pentagon’s commercial technology hub, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). An active U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, she has served in several military operations including Joint Operation Safe Haven Panama, Joint Guardian, Kosovo, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In her civilian career, she served as a crime intelligence analyst in South Florida and as an R&D Manager in the Department of Defense as a civilian, providing subject matter expertise in applying science and technology to operations for geographic information, geospatial and imagery science. Colonel Sweet most recently served in the Chief Innovation Office in the newly formed 75th Innovation Command, as the Operations & Processes Portfolio Lead, liaison to the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA), and as the Army affiliate of the Undersecretary of Defense Research and Engineering (USD R&E) Joint Reserve Directorate.

She holds a Bachelor of Russian Language from Florida State University and a Master’s of Science of Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, with a research focus on innovation, creativity, and technology diffusion in the Intelligence Community. Beth is a small business owner in Missouri, raising British Labrador Retrievers to become multi-purpose working dogs.


Lieutenant Colonel Andy “Toro” Torzewski is the Deputy Director of Transition & Reintegration Programs and Congressional Affairs, Military to Civilian Transition Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense where he ensures the successful delivery of the Transition Assistance Program and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, promoting their effective and efficient support of transitioning Service members, their families, and communities worldwide.

Since being in the National Capitol Region Andy has held assignments as the Deputy Director, Executive Secretariat for a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Legislative Liaison in the Air Force Senate Liaison Office, and the Chief of Congressional Correspondence for the Secretary of the Air Force.

Andy also served as the Bilateral Affairs Officer in the Security Cooperation Office, U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia. Lt Col Torzewski received his commission from the Academy of Military Science in 2001 and is an Evaluator Combat Systems Operator (Navigator) with numerous combat deployments accumulating over 2,800 (600+ Combat) flight hours in the C-130E/H2/H3.

Andy holds a B.S. in Organizational Management and Interpersonal Communications from Concordia University, St. Paul MN, and is completing his thesis with American Military University and will earn a master’s degree in International Affairs with an emphasis on Conflict Resolution. Andy lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Korina, and 4-year-old Son Luka. They are avid travelers and Andy competes in ultra-marathon trail running, covering distances over 100 miles.

Major Zach Tulley is an Instructor Pilot and C-130J Weapons Officer. He teaches at the 29th Weapons Squadron at Little Rock AFB, and currently serves as the Assistant Director of Operations and Weapons School Integration Phase Manager.

His duties include managing a team of 40 and a $229K per year budget. He develops a holistic training program designed to challenge students ultimately turning them into experts in small-team leadership, package integration, and risk management. He was selected to lead a team of 20 people to build a $480M logistics plan that supported a $10.3B asset package.  

Zach previously served at Dyess AFB where he was the Chief of Squadron Tactics at the 40th Airlift Squadron and has deployed to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. While in Afghanistan, Zach conducted an emergency aerial resupply of an outnumbered Special Operations team that was under direct enemy fire. He was also the co-author of a cutting-edge Tactics Bulletin that dramatically changed operational procedures across the C-130J fleet.

His undergraduate degree is from The United States Air Force Academy and he has a Master of Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business.