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Peter Newell is a retired US Army colonel of 32 years and a nationally recognized innovation expert whose work is changing how the government and companies compete and drive growth. He is the founder and CEO of BMNT, an innovation consultancy and early stage technology incubator that works with national security organizations to rapidly solve challenging problems. H4X, the problem-solving language developed by BMNT, is the company’s process for helping organizations target specific issues and curate actionable solutions with help from Silicon Valley startups. Peter also co-founded Hacking for Defense, an academic program taught at more than 22 universities in the US that gives students crucial problem solving tactics based on techniques adapted from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, combined with best practices used by successful Silicon Valley startups. Hacking for Defense is similar to H4X, but offers problem curation in an academic environment, and is designed to help students gain experience solving difficult national security problems. Newell co-founded Hacking for Defense with entrepreneur and lean startup movement creator, Steve Blank. Prior to entering the private sector, Peter was the director of the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force or REF. He was tasked with finding, integrating and employing solutions to emerging problems faced by soldiers on the battlefield. He is an army ranger and earned the silver star and the presidential unit citation during his time in uniform. Moreover, Peter finds time to co-host of The Innovators Radio Show & Podcast, conversations with mission driven entrepreneurs and investors, broadcasted by KZSU at Stanford University. Are you interested in working in national security? Are you a creative problem-solver? Do you want to work on the world’s “hardest, sexiest problems that you can ever put your hands on,” according to Peter? Then tune in to hear useful advice from Peter about what’s needed to work in national security, and to learn more about his incredible working life.


  • How to build a career in national security in the military and private sector 
  • What it means to “fail fast” and why it’s useful to help you learn and succeed
  • Why you should curate a network of people with diverse ideas while in college and beyond
  • Why it’s important to have work/life experiences and skills outside the classroom
  • Why being a leader and/or problem-solver on campus will make you more valuable to companies when you enter the workforce 
  • Why working in an environment where you’re pushed to learn, communicate and encouraged to leave your comfort zone is invaluable for personal growth and development
  • Why surrounding yourself with close friends and mentors can help you face challenging moments while working in the field of national security
  • Check out Capella Space for an example of a Hacking for Defense success story


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