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Teaching the Military How To Be Like Silicon Valley: The Defense Digital Service

Bottom Line Up Front: Just like the U.S. Digital Service is reforming the Civilian side of the Federal Government, the Defense Digital Service is doing the same for the Department of Defense.

A “Digital Service” for the Pentagon

In yesterday’s blog entry, we saw how the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) was the engine powering the Digital Transformation in the Federal Government. Turns out there is a military counterpart, the Defense Digital Service (DDS). Founded in 2015 by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (see this article), the DDS is supposed to do for the military what the USDS did for the side of the Federal Government: teach them how to be like Silicon Valley.


If you’ve noticed unexpected computer infrastructure reforms taking place in the Pentagon like a move to the Cloud, DevSecOps, the shift to Agile, and a ton of other changes, they are all the work of the Defense Digital Service. They are also the ones behind the Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program, offering prizes and cash awards to US hackers to break into military infrastructure to find vulnerabilities before adversary hackers did. And they do like their Star Wars names so if you hear of initiatives like the JEDI Cloud, Tatooine, or the Battle for Mon Cala, it’s a really good bet the Defense Digital Service is behind it.

What Does It Mean For Me?

The Pentagon is coming into the 21st Century. There are many skeptics who believe it can’t be done, but as we have seen in this blog, the rules of acquisition have already changed and the reforms have already taken place.

If you are an existing Pentagon contractor, you need to bring your practices up to date before the deadline of October 1, 2021.

If you have never worked for the Pentagon, know that they’re flinging the doors open and rolling the red carpet for you.