Hackathon in Uniforms – Startups Developed by Soldiers During IDF’s First Acceleration Week

IDF hackathon

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The IDF is known as the infrastructure of the StartUp Nation and Israel’s innovation ecosystem. The military service provides young talented soldiers with experience and technological training that enable them to go out to the civilian market and excel. Changing the order this time, the IDF and the C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate decided to integrate the civilian accelerator culture into the military framework. So, for the first time, an “acceleration week” was conducted with the leadership of the Computer Service Directorate, yielding the development of startups for military needs.

IDF soldiers from all corps and directorates were required to suggest ideas to innovative projects that will contribute to the IDF’s cyber supremacy and digital transformation. Out of the 31 suggested projects, 12 were selected and developed during the “acceleration week”. The selected projects have the potential to influence IDF operational capabilities and digital transformation, that are directed at minimizing the time factor and enabling freedom of action and swift victory over the enemy. 

Among the Projects to be developed during the “acceleration week”, three projects will receive budgets for development and application.

The “acceleration week” is an exceptional IDF pilot project attended by 12 teams with representatives selected carefully from the various IDF corps and directorates. During the 5 accelerator days, the entrepreneurs in uniforms receive an advanced work environment, attend enriching lectures and workshops and receive support from experienced mentors from the industry in order to develop the project from the stage of the idea to the materialization and integration. 

The climax of the week is the hackathon that took place at the offices of iHLS Security Accelerator, which included mentors, some of them from MAMRAM (IDF’s Center of Computing and Information Systems) Alumni Association.

Head of Innovation Department at the C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate, Capt. Eliav Amram: “Fast Forward Accelerator that took place this week is the first of its kind in the acceleration speed of intra-organizational projects. During the week, entrepreneurs from all IDF echelons met with the leading content experts in the large industry organizations, e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Wix, and with the academic contribution of the Technion, which empowered the projects, bringing them to the technological edge and the digital organization.

Within the framework of the acceleration process, the entrepreneurs had to purchase on the spot the technological components needed. These capabilities that did not exist in the past enable the entrepreneurs to bring the technologies to the edge with agility and flexibility, understanding that if we will not advance these developments rapidly, the enemy might be ahead of us”.

The week ended at the iHLS Security Accelerator offices with the POC presentation to a team of senior commanders led by the Head of C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate, Maj. Gen. Lior Carmeli, the Chief Teleprocessing Officer, Brig. Gen. Omer Dagan, and LOTEM Commander, Brig. Gen. Yariv Nir.

The projects that will be selected for further development are the ones with the rapid materialization potential and the wide influence over the IDF’s operational capabilities, or consist of major improvements to the IDF advancement towards a digital organization.

Among the unclassified projects are:

  1. IDF Academy – an application providing accessibility to courses, learning and personal and professional development.
  2. Carpool IDF – sharing free rides among military personnel.
  3. Fixar – remote training and treatments through AR and VR.