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The Defense IT Flywheel Awards

The Flywheel Awards recognize the accomplishments made by federal employees and the programs that they work on that transform and innovate federal technology.

Awards Timeline

Entry Deadline Extended: November 24, 2023 
Finalists Announced: December 1, 2023 
Winners Announced: February 9, 2024 at the Defense IT Summit in Arlington, VA


The Defense IT Flywheel Award Categories


Emerging Tech Innovator

Technology moves faster than the speed of light. This awardee harnesses the new and emerging tools that move and change with expertise. With tech like machine learning, AI and large language models, the Emerging Tech Innovator is changing the national security environment and moving it into the future. 

Cyber Defender

The Cyber Defender is raising the digital ramparts amid innumerable threats. Risk management, zero trust and cyber hygiene are at the front of this awardee’s mind as they secure the perimeter of systems.  

NextGen Champion

The NextGen Champion demonstrates a passion for modernizing the information landscape to move to the next stage of technology across the national security landscape. This awardee is committed to pushing forward in the defense of critical systems.  

Rising Star

The Rising Star is a newcomer to national security IT and demonstrates a commitment to building innovative solutions to difficult national security problems.  

Digital Transformer

The Digital Transformer demonstrates a passion for modernizing the national security data landscape. This awardee is committed to improving data interoperability between services. 

Data Advocate

Connecting the military services is the top priority for big-picture efforts like JADC2 and operating the joint force. Moving data globally at scale is key to the Data Advocate’s success as they work to use technology to connect sensors across the services with AI. 


Why the Flywheel? 

The flywheel — a critical component in a machine to increase its momentum — is also a critical symbol representing our goal to keep federal IT decision-makers informed on technology's impact on government. This momentum is what fuels the constant need for transformers to innovate around the defense systems, infrastructure and tools that are keeping our nation safe.


  • The Flywheel Awards are open to the federal IT community (federal employees). 
  • Entries that have won past Flywheel Awards are eligible for the current competition.  
  • Submissions are limited to 500 words.
  • All achievements must be from January 2023 - present.

Submissions Should Include

  • The responsibilities that the nominee holds in the federal IT space
  • What aspects of their performance distinguish them as exceptional?
  • What was accomplished in 2023 that is award worthy?


  • These awards recognize individuals. 
  • Individuals at all job levels are eligible. 
  • When applicable, specify a particular project the individual excelled at over the past year.


Entries are judged by the GovCIO Media & Research Editorial Team.
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