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Hacking for Defense at James Madison University

Welcome to James Madison University’s Hacking for Defense class. Gathering faculty and students from eight disciplines at JMU, this course brings an innovative problem-solving model developed at Stanford University to complex problems faced by the departments of Defense and State. The course is sponsored by 4-VA and takes place in JMU’s X-Labs.

About Hacking for Defense

Welcome to James Madison University‘s  (JMU) “Hacking for Defense” project.  “Hacking for Defense,” or H4D, is an education initiative that was developed at Stanford University. This educational model is

A university-sponsored class that allows students to develop a deep understanding of the problems and needs of government sponsors in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. In a short time, students rapidly iterate prototypes and produce solutions to sponsors’ needs.

For universities, it keeps their programs attached to real-world problems and provides students with an experiential opportunity to become more effective in their chosen field, with a body of work to back it up. For government agencies, it allows problem sponsors to increase the speed at which their organization solves specific, mission-critical problems.

Hacking for Defense was prototyped at Stanford in 2016; in the Spring 2017 semester/quarter, the model is being used by five universities across the U.S.: here at JMU;  Georgetown; the University of Pittsburgh; Boise State; and UC San Diego. Among these schools, the course offered at James Madison University is the first H4D to be ever offered exclusively  to an undergraduate class.

Other forms of the “Hacking for” model are in development. Currently, a shared graduate course at three New York universities (Columbia, New York University, and the City University of New York) are testing “Hacking for Energy.”

The JMU H4D course is supported by 4-VA and takes place in JMU’s X-Labs. To find out more of the JMU student projects, click on the team names in the navigation bar. Find out more about the faculty teaching H4D at JMU here.

Meet the Teams


Fast Flyers

Out of the Shadows

Tracking Fliers