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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2023

NSWC Crane is a ‘super-user’ of the NSIN X-Force Fellowship, integrating non-traditional talent to challenging problem

By Sarah K. Oh, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications


A group of X-Force Fellows from the 2023 NSIN X-Force End of Summer Visit to NSWC Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) hosted dozens of students in the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) X-Force Fellowship internship program this past summer.  

In this Fellowship program, students work on problem statements submitted directly from NSWC Crane and create an output by the end of their internship. 

Alyssa Robertson, the NSIN Liaison for NSWC Crane, said it is a great way to include new perspectives in some of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) and Navy’s toughest challenges. 

“The NSIN X-Force Fellowship brings a wide range of non-traditional problem-solvers and up-and-coming talent to the DOD,” said Robertson. “The program is very broad; it’s not just math and engineering. It is a premier fellowship—the talent is the best and brightest from across a variety of career paths. The interview process to become a Fellow is rigorous, the Fellows are devoted, and they are grounded in entrepreneurial skills. We’re giving these students experience working with the DOD.” 

NSIN has many programs that engage both students and non-traditional companies. The X-Force program focuses on students, and it pairs recent graduates and current students with DOD mission partners to solve problems.  

This year, students were from a wide range of colleges and universities, including Princeton University, Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University (Texas A&M), Texas Tech University, Purdue University, Indiana University, and California Baptist University. NSWC Crane’s first NSIN X-Force cohort was in 2020, but since then, the program has grown quickly. 

“This year, NSWC Crane hosted over 15% of the X-Force Fellowship’s cohort, which is the largest percentage of Fellows for a command in the 2023 program,” said Robertson. “NSWC Crane is a ‘super-user’ of the program. Every department at NSWC Crane has had NSIN interns. It shows there is a team of NSIN liaisons making strong efforts and who are devoted to bringing in non-traditional providers to our command.” 

Robertson said that even though NSWC Crane leverages these resources, there is still room for growth. 

“It is wonderful that our leadership supports NSIN programs—we’ve been able to grow our involvement with these programs,” said Robertson. “But there is still only a handful of people leveraging these tools. It is my goal to grow awareness across the command of these NSIN programs and resources. Through NSIN, we are seeing our problems get addressed with solutions we aren’t otherwise considering.” 

Robertson said there are opportunities to continually develop the solutions from the Fellowship program. 

“There is always an opportunity to take Fellowship deliverables and transition that to follow-on programs,” said Robertson. “We can work with the students and topic sponsors to get them involved through another NSIN program to further their efforts.” 

This article is part of a series. Read our news on the website to learn more about the NSIN X-Force Fellowship projects that took place in 2023, coming soon: 

About NSWC Crane | NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter. 

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