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DECISIVE EDGE 6.12.2019Defense Acquisition University
Are you ready?

Event Details




Check-in 0730 - 0845
Program 0900 - 1800


Building, 226, Howell Auditorium
Defense Acquisition University
9820 Belvoir Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060

Who can register

Anyone with a .mil or .gov email address

Registration Fee




The National Defense Strategy lays out a critical imperative: we must out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner, and out-innovate our adversaries. To do this, we are going to need to think differently, act differently, and focus intently on giving our warfighters the decisive edge.

So we ask: What is our decisive edge and how do we achieve it?

Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is hosting the first ever TEDxDAU to address this question and provide you with the opportunity to learn, network, and explore ideas worth spreading centering on innovation, creativity, smart risk taking, and pushing boundaries.

Join us June 12, 2019, at the Fort Belvoir, VA campus when we invite you to take a break from your day-to-day grind and be inspired by our 12 speakers. There is no registration fee, but space is limited. For professional development, TEDxDAU awards six Continuous Learning Points.

Anyone with a .mil or .gov email address is welcome to come be a part of this special event and meet some of the powerful thinkers and doers who are already out there pushing for the decisive edge.

Are YOU ready?


Due to overwhelming response, all seats for TEDxDAU have now been filled. For a full listing of other upcoming DAU events, please visit the DAU Event Calendar.

Getting on Post

You must possess a Department of Defense ID card to enter Fort Belvoir. All others must obtain a temporary pass (expect a 30-minute wait) from the Visitor Center located at Tulley Gate. See the Fort Belvoir Visitor Information page for details.

Event Location

The DAU campus address is 9820 Belvoir Road, Fort Belvoir, VA. Building 226 sits along Middleton Road. The best way to find building 226 and parking directions is with the maps feature of the DAU App. Download the app, then tap Maps > Locations > Fort Belvoir to see an interactive map of the campus.


DAU has two student parking lots within walking distance of Building 226. One is at the corner of 19th Street and Middleton Road, the other is on 18th Street. Use the app to find locations and walking directions. Spaces are limited so arrive early and carpool if possible. All Flag Officers and SESs will have by-name reserved parking in the quadrangle behind building 226.


All attendees on temporary duty (TDY) must stay in lodging on Fort Belvoir per the FY2015 NDAA (PL 113-291) which requires military members and DoD civilians on TDY to book government quarters (if available) on a military installation. DAU does not reimburse TEDxDAU attendees for travel-related expenses.

Recommended on-post hotels:

Staybridge Suites
9215 Woodbury Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060

Note: Ask for the “DAU TEDx” hotel block which reserves the per diem rate until Apr 30, 2019. This is on a first come, first-served basis, so book now. After this date, call the hotel to see if there are any availabilities outside this block.

Holiday Inn Express Knadle Hall
9775 Gaillard Rd, Bldg. 470
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060

If no lodging is available on post:

Those who are TDY can only be reimbursed up to the per diem rate at off-post hotels. Near-by lodging options include:

Embassy Suites
8100 Loisdale Road
Springfield, VA 22150

Hilton Springfield
6550 Loisdale Road
Springfield, VA 22150

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton
Fort Belvoir Alexandria South

8843 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22309

Additional Information

TEDxDAU attendees earn six Continuous Learning Points. The point of contact for this event is Dr. Marina Theodotou.

TEDxDAU logo

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED and does not constitute an endorsement by the DoD.

graphic of futuristic hand touching center of concentric circles with TEDxDAU logo below


How do we out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner, and out-innovate our adversaries? Where is our Decisive Edge and how do we achieve it? We will explore tried and tested ideas to inspire and motivate us to push the boundaries, think differently and take smart risks to innovate, disrupt, and lead towards our Decisive Edge.

Michael Brogan

Brigadier General Michael M. Brogan, USMC (Ret)

Brigadier General Brogan retired from the Marine Corps at the end of September 2011 after serving more than 31 years. During his last acquisition assignment from September 2006 to July 2010, Mike served as the Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command.

From February 2007 until leaving Marine Corps Systems Command, he performed duties concurrently as the Joint Program Executive Officer for the Joint Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (JPEO MRAP) vehicle program. In his final billet on active duty, Mike was the Commanding General, Marine Corps Training Command, the organization responsible for all primary Military Occupational Specialty producing schools, officer and enlisted, in the Marine Corps. Training Command also prepared Navy Chaplains, Doctors and Corpsmen for service with the Marine Corps.

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ian eishen

CMSgt Ian Eishen

Chief Master Sergeant Ian Eishen is the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, California. He is the principle advisor to the commander on the readiness of the wing's 11,000 personnel and the test and evaluation of multiple Department of Defense programs including the F-35, F-22, KC-46, F-16, B-1, B-2, B-52, C-17, joint piloted aircraft and emerging technologies.

ryan fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Ms. Ryan Fitzgerald works for The MITRE Corporation, where she is the Principal Autonomous Systems Engineer for the Army Programs Division. She acts as a strategic thinker in expanding MITRE’s expertise and influence specific to autonomy and artificial intelligence technologies and their value to the DoD. Ryan holds a Masters and Bachelors Degree in aerospace engineering, served 17 years as a civil servant for the Department of Navy, is a licensed single-engine and glider pilot and enjoys sailing in locations around the world.

adam furtado

Adam Furtado

Adam Furtado is the Lab Director for Kessel Run, a U.S. Air Force digital transformation initiative revolutionizing how the Air Force builds and delivers software. He leads a team of 200+ government disruptors who are changing the way the DoD does business with the tech prowess of Silicon Valley, the courage of the military and a culture all their own.

Brad Halsey

Brad Halsey

Brad Halsey, CEO of Building Momentum (SDVOSB), brings his battlefield making and prototyping experience to the classroom through various problem-solving scenario-driven workshops. Building upon prior think-tank R&D experience, Brad was an "embedded scientist" supporting the Army in Iraq (2008) to make and build urgently needed tech solutions. Now his company is focused on teaching others to quickly solve problems using current technologies.

sean heritage

Sean Heritage

A career naval officer and cryptologist by trade, Sean has focused his creative energy on developing teammates, building creative cultures, and strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors. From leading the Navy’s cyber defense operations to helping to create the Department of Defense’s Innovation Unit in Silicon Valley, Sean has made a career of transforming individuals into teams, connecting ideas to opportunity, and ensuring smart creatives reach their potential in a bureaucratic world where they wouldn’t otherwise thrive.

Michael Kanaan

Capt. Michael Kanaan

Captain Michael Kanaan currently serves as co-chair of the U.S. Air Force's Cross-Functional Team on Artificial Intelligence and as the Enterprise Lead for Artificial Intelligence at Headquarters Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). He is tasked with authoring artificial intelligence strategies, guiding integration plans, and synchronizing integration efforts across the Air Force.

He previously served as the Flight Commander of Target Development for Air Force Central Command at the 51st Intelligence Squadron, where he was the mission manager for a National Intelligence Community Information Technology Campaign (IC ITE) targeting the Islamic State and responsible for providing guidance to a 1,600 member analytic enterprise consisting of Joint and Intelligence Community professionals through the application of advanced analysis and targeting methodologies.

Capt Kanaan is on the 2019 Forbes "30 Under 30" List, the recipient of the U.S. Federal Government's 68th Annual Arthur S. Flemming Award for Leadership and Management, and the 2018 United States Air Force General Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award. He holds an undergraduate degree in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Officer School.

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martha kotite

Captain Martha LaGuardia Kotite,
USCG (Ret)

Author of five books, including the award-winning So Others May Live: Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers Saving Lives, Defying Death, Martha graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy and Harvard University and served 29-years in the U.S. Coast Guard at sea and ashore. Hand-picked by the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, she worked in Washington, D.C. as the Commandant’s Press Secretary, served at sea as a boarding and deck watch officer on a cutter sailing the Pacific Ocean and as executive officer of a patrol boat patrolling the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

She rose to the senior officer rank of captain, earning many personal and team awards including the Meritorious Service Medal, leading the Coast Guard’s development of emergency crisis management liaisons and deploying on scene for significant national events like the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and numerous catastrophic hurricanes. An experienced motivational speaker for corporations, colleges, schools and leadership symposiums, she also worked in New York, New York in public relations. Martha resides in Florida with her family.

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Benjamin McMartin

Benjamin McMartin

Benjamin McMartin currently serves as Chief of the Acquisition Management Office for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command – Ground Vehicle Systems Center, responsible for management of two consortium-model Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) with technical focus areas in automotive, autonomy, mobility, ground combat systems, and related technologies.

Ben is a nationally recognized thought leader in the area of acquisition innovation, and the founder of the Acquisition Innovation Road Show (#FUTAIRS). A member of the Michigan State Bar since 2008, Mr. McMartin holds a B.A. in History from Oakland University, and a J.D. from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law.

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Dr. Wilson Rosa

Dr. Wilson Rosa

Dr. Wilson Rosa serves as the IT Branch Chief for the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA). In this capacity, he manages the development of cost estimates for major acquisition programs. He also chairs the annual Software and IT Cost Analysis Solutions Team forum to gather government, industry, and academia to share best practices on software estimation.

Earlier, Dr. Rosa served as the Senior Cost Advisor to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acquisition Executive, as Senior Technical Advisor at the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency, and as General Engineer at the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Air Systems Command.

Throughout his financial management career, Dr. Rosa received numerous awards to include the Navy Civilian Superior Service Medal, Defense Acquisition Workforce Achievement Award, NCCA Senior Cost Analysis of the Year (two awards), Air Force Cost Analyst of the Year (two awards), Air Force Comptroller Excellence Award, Life Time Achievement Award (Practical Systems and Software Measurement Group), and Navy Procurement and Competition Excellence Award.

Dr. Rosa also received six Best Paper Awards at premier conferences including the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, International Conference on Software Process and Product Measurement, and ICEAA Professional Development & Training Workshop.

Dr. Rosa holds a PhD in Engineering Management from George Washington University (GWU); a M.S. in Engineering Management from GWU; and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Puerto Rico. He also completed the Senior Managers in Government Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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josh smith

Josh Smith

From his time as a submarine officer stationed in Guam to developing tactical systems at JHU/APL, Josh has seen first-hand the power of creative teams solving complex challenges. As the founder and Director of the Tactical Advancements for the Next Generation (TANG) initiative, Josh leads a brilliant and diverse team of problem solvers tackling mission-focused, human-centered National Security challenges. Through design and systems thinking, the TANG has delivered solutions on topics from mission planning to sailor toughness through empathy, curiosity, and collaboration.

Colonel Jen Sovada

Colonel Jen Sovada is the Chief of Talent Management for Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance where she is leading a revolutionary cultural and process change for approximately 35K Airmen; Officers, Enlisted and Civilians. She is driving how the Air Force ISR community develops and retains a more ready and lethal force by leveraging innovation and technology to move the workforce from the industrial age into the digital age.

She has held various positions over her Air Force career including commanding the Air Force Technical Applications Center, the Department of Defense’s sole organization responsible for nuclear treaty monitoring, and also working across Joint and Interagency organizations to further integration and interoperability to better prepare our nation to maintain decision advantage.

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TEDxDAU logo

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED and does not constitute an endorsement by the DoD.

Plan to spend the day at TEDxDAU! Details coming soon!

TEDxDAU logo

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED and does not constitute an endorsement by the DoD.

What is a TEDx?

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. The content and design of each TEDx event is unique and developed independently, but all of them have features in common.

For more details please visit the official TEDx page.

Why is DAU organizing a TEDx event?

This TEDx event will bring together thinkers and doers from across the Department of Defense to inspire and ignite the workforce with innovative ideas and practices they can bring to their workplaces to help them succeed. TEDx events such as this provide a powerful and recognizable platform for listening and engaging with peers in the Defense Acquisition Workforce and Defense thought leaders.

What does an internal license mean?

TED makes available 10 types of event licenses. Because DAU has a .mil suffix and is a government university, we qualified for an internal license. Typically, a first event is limited in scope to 100 attendees from the sponsoring organization or group. TEDxDAU license has been granted special allowances: DAU’s first-ever event will be allowed to exceed the normal 100 attendees limit and our audience can include participants from across the DoD.

What are the criteria for speaker selection?

  • Passionate, inspiring, powerful fresh voice
  • Well versed on specific topic that aligns with “Decisive Edge”
  • Identified topic is tried and tested, or a prototype
  • Willing to align with the TEDxDAU format and preparation requirements

Is TEDxDAU going to replace the DAU Symposium?

No, as they are different events in purpose and format. The goal of TEDxDAU is to create a platform for empowerment and inspiration for the workforce with speakers showcasing powerful examples across acquisition and the DoD.

How is TEDxDAU different from DAU Symposia and Hot Topic Fora?

TEDx is a platform to exchange ideas worth spreading across diverse audiences. TEDx event speakers typically showcase ideas, data, and powerful examples of inspiration with calls to action that resonate with impact across diverse audiences. By engaging with other attendees and with the speakers, TEDx events encourage one to think critically, consider known concepts in new ways, explore new ideas, and synthesize messages across talks in new ways and actions. While we do encourage engagement during our Symposia and Hot Topic Fora, the focus of these events is to provide training through policy guidance, industry trends and observations by senior Defense personnel.

If I'm unable to attend, how can I see the TEDxDAU talks?

After the event, DoD employees with .gov and/or .mil domains, including contractors will be able to access all TEDxDAU content, including videos of the speakers, on Additionally, the videos will also be posted on MilTube.

I am unable to physically attend, will TEDxDAU be livestreamed?

Unfortunately TEDxDAU is an internal event and will only be broadcast to other DAU sites.

What do you mean by an internal event?

In accordance with TEDx guidance, TEDxDAU is an internal event with an “internal license.” This internal license allows DAU special exceptions to the usual limitations imposed on organizations hosting their first TEDx event, one of which is increased attendance for the event. An additional feature of the internal license is that it limits TEDxDAU attendees to the Department of Defense and their support contractors with .mil or .gov email addresses, ensuring that all attendees have common interests in the “Decisive Edge” Defense-related theme. However, in order to ensure this exclusive audience, we are unable to livestream the event to non-DAU locations.

Is there a cost to attend TEDxDAU?

There is no registration fee to attend.

Can I earn Continuous Learning Points (CLPs)?

Yes, up to 6 CLPs can be earned by attending TEDxDAU.

This sounds great, how can I attend TEDxDAU?

Return to the About section of this page for registration information. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis.

TEDxDAU logo

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED and does not constitute an endorsement by the DoD.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED's media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; TED Translators, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established The Audacious Project that takes a collaborative approach to funding ideas with the potential to create change at thrilling scale; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

TEDxDAU logo

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED and does not constitute an endorsement by the DoD.