The links that show how Entities are related.

We have a few different types of Connections that help characterize Entities in the Graph.

Connections and Entities are the two foundational building blocks of the Data.

We are currently exploring these Connections and may add others. As with Tags, there is a lot to debate and try to understand, so we welcome Feedback. In the Data, these types of Connections are called Links to differentiate from actual Connections between Entities.

Org Chart

An Org Chart connection links parent and child in an organizational hierarchy.

Almost all of the existing maps look at this dimension, which is important, especially for Government Organizations (which are subject to the views of their parent organizations and leadership, not to mention funding).

EXAMPLE: The Defense Innovation Unit has an Org Chart Connection to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), which is its parent in the organizational chart.


To be in Collaboration is to have mutually-supportive shared efforts, which could link any number of Entities.

While somewhat flexible (and, thus, subject to change or redifinition) we wanted to include this type of connection in order to demonstrate ties that we know exist and make a difference.

EXAMPLE: Platform One Collaborates with Black Pearl even though the prior is an Air Force Organization and the latter is a Navy Organization.


Funding identifies a connection between an Individual or Organization and another Organization, Group, or Activity..

This type is useful for understanding non-Org Chart Connections that many might be familiar with, but not fully understand.

EXAMPLE: The Defense Innovation Unit has a Funding connection to Saildrone, a Commercial Organization.


The Research link connects an Individual or Organization to an Organization, Group, or Activity.

As the name suggests, this .

EXAMPLE: RAND has Research links to the US Army and US Air Force.


A Member Connection links Entities through participation in a membership function.

This link type is useful for understanding non-Org Chart Connections that many might be familiar with, but not fully understand. As with Contributor, it is unlikely to be receive Verification, but may be helpful for some working on their own Graph views.

EXAMPLE: The Air Force is a Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Contributor links connect an Individual to another type of Entity, such as a Group, Activity, or Repository.

One of the more prolific types of Individual links, Contributor allows for flexibility between Entities, opening up a number of different Graph opportunities.

EXAMPLE: As an Author, Jay Long is also a Contributor to the Modern War Institute, an Organization that maintains a Repository.

NOTE: The most likely source of a Contributor link will be from the Individual in question themselves. As such, it is unlikely, even for public Graph views, that such links will receive Verification, if nothing else due to quantity.


The Author link connects an Individual with an Artifact.

Writing is an important part of national security innovation, with ideas penned by some spawning Activities generated by others. This link type, similar to Founderand Contributor, is best suited for evaluating the graph of an Individual.

EXAMPLE: Writers August Cole and P.W. Singer each have an Author link to the book Ghost Fleet, an Artifact.


A Founder link ties an Individual to an Organization, Group, or Activity.

This link is best suited for understanding the impact of Individuals on the broader national security innovation ecosystem, in concert with the Contributor link.

EXAMPLE: Enrique Oti has a Founder connection to Kessel Run.

NOTE: The goal of the Founder connection is to show a specific type of Contributor, but may be applied more broadly than to only a couple of Individuals, depending on the situation. We are also sensitive to "serial fake founders" that seek inappropriate credit and may remove this link type if it proves problematic, as with any link type.

DEF Community

The DEF Community link connects Entities in a specific configuration for graph visualizations.

This is DEF specific, helping create graph views that summarize the ways DEF links different national security elements as a way of illustrating its value and potential to the community, or opening opportunities for discussion.

It is likely to change over time.

EXAMPLE: In one Graph view, the Air Force has a DEF Community link to the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum and another DEF Community link to AFWERX.

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