What is Vulcan?

Vulcan is an innovation scouting platform that serves a diverse ecosystem and provides networked capabilities for the discovery and assessment of capabilities of interest to U.S. National Security. As a fully networked platform, Vulcan bridges the engagement divide  between public and private organizations engaged in solving national security challenges. See our FAQ section below.

Who uses it and why?

The Vulcan ecosystem is focused on enabling organic interactions among participants to achieve specific outcomes. The U.S. Government uses Vulcan to project demand signals for external innovation and to also engage with solutions of its own through its RDT&E investments. Non-Government users engage Vulcan with their innovations to address U.S. Government needs.  Vulcan’s safe and dynamic environment allows the ecosystem to accelerate its engagement velocity, and more importantly, to produce actionable innovation of critical interest to U.S. National security.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

There are four types of users in Vulcan:

  • Government: Active Duty military, Government Civilian, and sponsored SETA contractors with active OCI and NDA. All Government users in U.S. National Security with verified affiliation and email credentials have access to Vulcan.
  • Commercial: Members of verified commercial organizations with limited access to their own content and to public government calls.
  • Academic: Members of educational institutions with verified school email addresses
  • Non-Profit: Members of registered non-profit organizations including foundations, associations, companies and trusts.

What is a SETA Contractor?

Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) contractors are U.S. Government contractors who are contracted under FAR/DFAR by the U.S. DoD to assist under strict Non-Disclosure and Conflict-of-Interest avoidance rules with analysis and engineering services in support of U.S. Government Civilians and Active Duty personnel. In Vulcan SETA access is explicitly verified and authorized by either a U.S. Government Civilian or Active Duty personnel.

There are more than 550 Government organizations who have users in Vulcan. Those Government users engage Vulcan capabilities differently, but they all look for the platform to augment and accelerate their current process(es) for technology scouting, evaluation, and reporting. Here are a few user experience examples directly from active Government users:

  • Created an end-to-end tech scouting process for non-traditional innovation and prototyping under OTA authority.
  • Absorbed large intakes of technology submissions and performed multi-team downselect and technical evaluations leading to acquisition decisions using FAR and non-FAR instruments.
  • Used platform to eliminate the need for TDYs supporting technology assessment activities and engaged Operators in OCONUS locations within Vulcan to generate vendor feedback.
  • Streamlined a complex process for technology experimentation involving Government sponsorship and integration of field experiments;
  • Used Vulcan top drive a rapid innovation process for critical medical technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through interagency collaboration for the maturation and testing of the selected prototypes.

A scout card is a dynamic profile where technology solutions are described in Vulcan. Users create these profiles by inputting all of the information about their technology, which is then made available to government users within Vulcan.

Scout Cards evolve over time, as users can update as a result of other engagements within Vulcan as their technology matures and/or changes.

Government users can interact with these profiles by adding them to collections, reviewing them, assessing them or sharing them with other government users.

No. All content in Vulcan is UNCLASSIFIED for collaborative discovery by U.S. Government users. You must comply with the Vulcan Terms of Use at all times and be aware of the Vulcan Privacy Policy.


There are multiple ways for you as a Government user to collect or upload new technologies in Vulcan:

  1. If it is a solution that your organization owns, then you can input the card yourself by clicking the at the top of the page then ‘Create Scout card’.
  2. To invite an external solution through a node-to-node request click , then click ‘Request Scout Card’. Fill out the required fields and send it.
  3. To create a call that allows you to collect multiple solutions for a specific capability gap for example, click and then ‘Create Collection’. When you turn submissions on you will have various settings to choose from for how your call is broadcast to other users.

Scouting means that you are engaging in a variety of actions including searching, collecting, assessing, and reporting on solutions described in Vulcan in the form of Scout Cards.

Scout Cards are dynamic profiles of specific solutions, which are actively maintained within the platform by the organizations that develop them. How does this happen?

  • Vulcan is built on networked workflows that incentivize continuous engagement between the demand for solutions and their supply by various nodes in the ecosystem. So, there is a continuous impetus for solutions to be updated and refreshed in response to new calls and user engagement actions.
  • Government users can request solutions from their owners who then continue to maintain control of their information through upload, edit, and update.
  • You can engage scout cards at any time by, for example, sharing it, poking, reviewing it, etc. This engagement creates additional incentive for scout cards not only to trend for better discovery, but also to motivate their refresh and update by their owners.

If you are requesting a scout card into Vulcan directly from a Government or non-Government Partner, you can do so easily through the interface.

  • Step 1:Click at the top of any screen and then click Request Scout Card
  • Step 2:Enter the name of the technology and an email address for its POC Step and click Send → that POC will get a one-time email token to upload their solution into Vulcan.

You can find this scout card, as well as your scouting activity, under “Cards I’ve Scouted” on your personal dashboard (Under avatar in top right of navigation bar).

Innovations in Vulcan can be of any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and within any area of interest to U.S. National security.

Vulcan is a technology scouting platform supporting all aspects of U.S. national security innovation. Therefore, it is not limited to any one specific mission set or capability type. The platform supports a diverse range of innovations, products, and capabilities to help the U.S. Government expand its awareness of the innovation ecosystem and accelerate its ability to address critical needs with viable solutions.

Vulcan provides several interactive capabilities that allow you to engage with content such as scout cards.

  • Add-To: You can easily add scoutcards to one or several of your private or public collection. more here.
  • Poke: You can anonymously request that the technology developer provide more information or an update. more here.
  • Share: You can share a scout card along with a personalized message with one or multiple Government users. more here.
  • Follow: You can follow a scout card and receive notifications every time the card has been updated, reviewed, or assessed. You can unfollow the card at any time.
  • Review: You can enter a personal review of the solution described in the scout card and allow other government users to benefit from your insights and experience. You can also provide your own TRL assessment for the scout card and to rate it on a 5-point scale.

Any user can upload scout cards.

  • Non-Government users upload their technologies as scout cards in response to direct requests or scout calls from the government community.
  • Government users can upload scout cards of government-owned capabilities in search of opportunities for collaboration and/or technology transition.

All scout card owners can edit/update their content as the state and maturity level of their solutions evolve.

A scout card acts as a dynamic profile for individual solutions and allows them to be viewed, discovered, and engaged by all Government users; hence, extending their use beyond the specific call to which they were submitted. Whitepaper  attachments provide more specificity and responsiveness to specific calls.

You can view new and trending technologies in galleries on the Home page. The ‘Home’ button in the top navigation bar as well as the Vulcan logo on the left lead you to the Home Page.

You can access the search by either typing into the Search field on top navigation bar OR clicking on EXPLORE.

  • Searching for Scout Cards allows you to discover capabilities and innovations submitted by various users.
  • Search for people and organizations allows you to connect with potential partners and subject matter experts.
  • Searching for Government calls and collections allows you to identify organizations with similar needs as those of your own and create possibilities for interagency collaboration.
  • Searching for reports allows you to learn from assessments conducted by other Government organizations; hence, accelerating your processes and eliminating inefficiency and redundancy.

Note: You can use advanced filters narrow and target your search across facets and entities. You can use the MAP feature to geo-locate your search results.

First, there is NO cost to joining Vulcan.

You can invite your colleagues and partners in the technology ecosystem into Vulcan by clicking button at the top of the page, then ‘Invite User’. You can enter multiple emails (separated by commas) and click send.

Please contact the Vulcan support team directly at contact@vulcan-sof.com if you would like to post one of your events displayed on the main storyboard.

Non-Government users are only able to view the following:

  • Public Government events and calls for capabilities,
  • Their own organization(s) content including scout cards and users.

Additional information is provided in the Vulcan Privacy Policy and all users are subject to the Vulcan Terms of Use.

Vulcan is developed entirely based on a user-centered design process. As such, we continue to engage users about gaps that may exist in their experiences within the Vulcan platform.

So, please contact the Vulcan support team at contact@vulcan-sof.com and let’s begin the conversation about your experience and ideas to improv the platform for all users.

  • Find a scout card through any of the galleries or search to open. Click the action menu button to the right and select ‘Follow’
  • You can track all the scout cards you follow on your Dashboard (under avatar on top right of navigation bar)
  • Following a scout card means that you will be notified whenever it is updated or assessed. You can unfollow the scout card at any time.

The U.S. Special Operation Command (USSOCOM) is the U.S. Government sponsor of the Vulcan platform. The platform is hosted on secure and scalable GovCloud(US) infrastructure.

In order to partner in the sustainment of the Vulcan platform, please contact us at contact@vulcan-sof.com. Partnered sustainment allows you to take advantage of advanced platform support capabilities, as well as participate in and influence the user-centered development of the platform.

You can Poke any scout card for more information by engaging the action menu button

Poking a card allows you to send an anonymous request to the POC(s) for updates on their scout card. When you poke a card, you will automatically start following it. You will also receive a notification when the scout card gets updated.

Scout cards are controlled by the users and organizations who own them. This allows them the ability to update scout card titles and content as their capabilities evolve. Further, they can also archive scout cards if they deem the capability to be obsolete or simply unavailable.

There are two options to assess scout cards:

  • Use the Review function for quick and individual insights and rating.
  • If you are part of a team conducting a formal assessment, then you want to head to your Dashboard and under ‘Assessments’ tab you can see a listing of assessments you can access.
  • Once you access the assessment page, you will be able to navigate to each scout cards through this button where you can evaluate based on criteria defined by your team lead(s)

I do not see any assessment under my Dashboard?

That is because you have not ben added to that assessment by a lead or team manager. Please contact your team members to be added to the assessment you are looking for. Assessments are private to the teams who are performing them.

  • Downselect is a simple evaluation that allows you and your team(s) to screen scout cards / submissions based on your custom flat scale (i.e., No,-Maybe-Yes).
  • Technical evaluation has more features and allows you to have multiple scales, weights, and categories for your assessment criteria. The assessment model can comprise hybrid criteria and variable scales and can completely be custom-defined by assessment lead(s).

The comments and selections you make within team assessment dashboards are only visible to the members of that team. Access to those assessment pages is strictly controlled by your Team Lead(s) and Team manager(s).

Other Government users can not see any of your assessment inputs unless:

  • Team lead(s) / Manager(s) add them to the assessment team, OR
  • Team lead(s) use your input to push to a report that they subsequently publish for visibility by U.S. Government users and specific POCs whose scout cards were evaluated.

There are a number of filter settings you can use to search for content within Vulcan. Each facet (i.e., scout cards, people, organizations, etc) in the top bar will have different set of available filters on the left sidebar. You also have the ability to turn the map ON in order to explore your search results geographically.

For example:

  • You can target only scout card that have been reviewed and/or assessed.
  • You can only show scout cards that have certain media – i.e., videos or 3D files.
  • You can filter by readiness levels (TRL, IRL, MRL)
  • You can refine your search through a dynamic tag library. The Vulcan tag is organized hierarchically, so that the first tag you choose will drop down a set of tags that is a subcategory of the first tag. You can continue to select tags until you get to the lowest subcategory.

Notifications icon is on the upper right of the navigation bar. Click on this icon then scroll to view your notifications.

You are able to clear your notifications alert when you click on ‘See All’ and ‘Mark all as read”

For Government users, changes to .mil/.gov email addresses and to Organizational affiliation is controlled by the Administrator. Please contact the Vulcan support team at contact@vulcan-sof.com to request change to your email and/or your affiliation.

As a Government user, only other Government users can see your profile information including your name, email address, and organization affiliation. Non-Government users do NOT have access to this information.

The report feature in Vulcan allows assessment lead(s) to document feedback from a team assessment for publishing to Government enterprise, direct feedback to technology developers, and export in Adobe PDF form for external dissemination.

Note: Other assessment team members can create reports of their own assessments for export and sharing within Vulcan. But only Lead(s) have the ability to publish reports to Government and non-Government users following curation. Team Assessments are never viewable by non-participating team members until they are curated and published in reports by Assessment Lead(s).

  • If the SMEs are government employees, then invite them into Vulcan to help with the assessments through
  • If they are CTRs, please read below and contact the Vulcan support team at contact@vulcan-sof.com.
    • Your Government Organization is solely responsible for who you identify as SETA/ Support contractors with active requirements to protect information through Non-disclosure and OCI avoidance per FAR/DFARs.
    • The Vulcan Team verifies access for SETA/Support contractors with their Government sponsors (Civilian or Active Duty) who then take responsibility and ownership for such access under FAR/DFAR contract, as well as the Vulcan Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Published assessments are found under the ‘Government Evaluations’ section of a scout card. If the assessment has not been published, it is only viewable by the assessment team within their assessment dashboard.

Note: You can also see Reviews under this section. The difference between reviews and assessments is that the latter are formal team-based assessments that are usually conducted on scout card submissions in response to specific calls for capabilities. Reviews, on the other hand, represent individual insights from any Government user who may view and comment on the scout card.

To find and/or navigate to assessments that you are part of as a designated Government team member,

  • You must first be added to the specific assessment by your team lead(s) or Manager(s)
  • Navigate to ‘My Page’. Then click on the ‘Assessments’ tab.
  • You can filter by ‘Open’ vs. ‘Closed’ and access assessment dashboard by clicking on its title.

Also, Government users also receive both in-app and email notifications when added to assessments.


Only Government assessment lead(s) or Manager(s) can add you to their assessment and define your role. So, if you do not see a specific assessment that you expect to be part of, you need to contact your team lead(s) or Manager(s).  The Vulcan support team is not the right contact for assessment team management issues.

In Vulcan there are two distinct, yet connected, objects that allow you as a Government user to create engagement opportunities with the innovation ecosystem: Collections and Events.

  1. Collections can be set up for private or public use, as well as be broadcast as calls soliciting submissions from other users. Besides serving as a dynamic space for you to collect scout cards of interest within Vulcan, you can turn them on  (‘Allow Submissions’) to broadcast a request to a wider user community and collect submissions per your own requirements (i.e., submission documents, etc.)
    • Public collections mean that all other Government users can view the collection contents, but only specific users designated as editors can manage or alter them.
    • Private collections mean that only you (and those you designated as viewers or editors) can see and access them on Vulcan.
  2. Events are specific interactions and engagements scheduled on a calendar basis that may or may not be tied to other scouting activities. These events can either be physical or virtual, but they reflect actual engagements and interactions with participants.

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