Walking into room 3A268 of the Pentagon, you almost forget that you’re in the nerve center of the country’s armed forces.
At the hub of military support, you don’t expect to see a Jif peanut butter jar perched on the ceiling light, a Porg plush toy on standby for emotional support and a bold, red “GET S— DONE” poster in all caps. Yes, this is still the life-saving, mission-critical work of government, but it’s hardly bureaucracy as usual.
Room 3A268 is one of two spaces in the Pentagon that houses the Defense Digital Service (DDS), endearingly known as the “SWAT team of nerds.” Here, designers, engineers, product managers and bureaucracy hackers have been working side-by-side with military personnel to design and implement innovative solutions in DoD since DDS’ 2015 launch.
DDS is expanding its reach through a satellite office that opened in November 2019 at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Georgia.
Its projects include overhauling the outdated system that hundreds of thousands of service members rely on to manage permanent and temporary relocations. The team also launched the Pentagon’s first bug bounty program, which enlists leading security researchers and ethical hackers, who break into systems with consent, to help DoD identify and address thousands of security vulnerabilities in its software code.