JSOFT began in late-2019 from the organic collaboration efforts from the first DoD software factories: SOCOM, Kessel Run, and Section 31. As software teams multiplied, we saw the natural need to create a forum for sharing lessons, celebrating wins, and clearing obstacles. As the DoD established new organizations and capabilities, we could not look to existing leadership structures and instead self-organized into a professional community for digital technologists.
The mixture of online collaboration and monthly meet-ups created opportunities to learn and support across services and geographies in ways that the traditional DoD hierarchy was not prepared to deliver. Through feedback and iteration, we have grown to a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with over 500 members and we have hosted a diverse array of speakers, panels, and conferences with the goal of enabling the DoD to make software a core competency.
JSOFT: n. the Joint Software Alliance
Our name, JSOFT ("jay-soft"), is a nod to our military's history with a focus on joint collaboration and specialized expertise. 40 years ago, the DoD experienced one of its most stunning and tragic failures during Operation Eagle Claw. From those physical ashes rose the most elite special operations unit in history, Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC.
Today, our military is facing a new imperative - to modernize - and instead of door kickers, we need technologists. After decades of spurning calls to digitize - to do away with paper forms, schedules on white boards, and countless *years* spent manually transcribing data from siloed systems - it's long past time to make computer science a core competency and create tools that reduce errors and speed decision making to enable warfighter success.
Meet the Team
Jim is a true believer. He has spent the last decade working to improve national security through organizations, people, and policy that promote innovation. By day, he is a leader in software product management; by night he's an Army Reservist, community builder, father, and mountain climber.
With us since our founding, Max Johnson is one of our veteran team members. They bring their years of experience and skills to the forefront in helping our organization grow and succeed.
Director of Operations
River Watts joined The Joint Software Alliance with the vision and drive to improve upon our Non-Profit Organization, and focused on developing the organization with experience and integrity.
We’ve modeled our tenets off of tenets at Amazon. Tenets provide a north star for organizations. They highlight what makes the organization unique - not better - and facilitate clarity and alignment.
Write Code; Win Wars
This is our motto and it’s also our identity. If you’re a digital technologist in the DoD, you’re part of JSOFT. Artificial delineations between software and other digital tools are counterproductive - we’re all in this together.
Collaboration, Not Competition
JSOFT exists to facilitate activities that collectively benefit defense technology organizations. We celebrate wins, we encourage, and we help. Do good; be kind.
JSOFT Runs on Trust
Bureaucracy stifles innovation because it is low trust. JSOFT is a non-attributional forum where we assume best intentions. We’re all here to make the world better.
Talk Money, Not Sales
At JSOFT, we care about budgets, colors of money, and contracting because acquisitions impacts us. We value the expertise that vendors can bring to the conversation, but we’re not a marketplace. Don’t try to sell stuff here.
Sharing Is Caring - Who Else Needs to Know?
What holds true for toddlers also applies to communities like JSOFT. What may seem mundane in your organization could be novel to a different team, especially if they’re from a different service. Err on the side of over-sharing (avoid @here or @channel) and it can spark a conversation or simply be archived for new members.