What is Vulcan?

Vulcan is an innovation scouting platform, sponsored by USSOCOM, 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 Vulcan 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 that exemplify Vulcan activity by Government users:

  • Created an end-to-end tech scouting process for non-traditional innovation and prototyping under OTA authority.
  • Collected large numbers of technology submissions and performed multi-team downselect and technical evaluations leading to acquisition decisions using FAR and non-FAR instruments (i.e., OTAs).
  • Used platform to eliminate the need for travel in support of technology assessment activities. Engaged forward-deployed operators 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 for your individual capabilities or technology solutions in Vulcan.

The scout card contains summary information about a specific solution and made available to government users within Vulcan. We understand that capabilities evolve over time. That is why scout cards are dynamic and you retain the ability to update them in order to accurately reflect the state of maturity and/or capability of your solutions.

Government users can interact with scout cards by adding them to collections, reviewing them, assessing them or sharing them with other government users. They can also directly engage scout card owners or POCs.

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 two ways to enter Scout Cards into Vulcan. Note: All submissions in Vulcan are in response to pull actions from Government Users.

  1. The first is via a direct request (invite) from a government user, which sends you with a one-time submission link for that specific solution.
  2. The second, is submitting a solution to a “Call”. All of the open calls in the platform are actively seeking scout cards on behalf of a participating government agency.

You may upload any applicable solution that applies to any of the open calls. And you can use the same scout card(s) to respond to other similarly applicable calls from other agencies; hence, providing you with an efficient means of exposing your solutions to a network of Government users. Also, regardless of how your Scout Card comes into the platform, it is shared readily and by default with the Government users through search.

Both of the methods above ensure that content in Vulcan is vetted and of specific relevance to government problem space.

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

Vulcan is FREE to use! The Platform is built on the foundational principle of vanishing barriers to entry into the U.S. National Security Innovation space.

Government users have end-to-end scouting capabilities in Vulcan that allow them to perform a variety of actions including, but not limited to:

  1. Targeted search and discovery of solutions of interest to specific challenges;
  2. Direct engagement of other Government users, as well as solution owners and POCs;
  3. Sharing and organization of solutions in custom collections;
  4. Node-to-node collection and organized collections of submissions according to user-defined criteria and requirements;
  5. Screening and full team assessment of solutions and submissions;
  6. Full reporting and publication of assessment results and feedback.

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 is a low-barrier-to-entry platform. To gain access follow these easy steps and join the ecosystem:

  1. Navigate to vulcan-sof.com and click ‘JOIN’.
  2. Select type of access: ‘Commercial’, ‘Academia’, Non-Profit
  3. Enter a valid email address that matches your access type above and your organizational affiliation domain.
  4. Check your email for a link that will guide you to the registration form.

After you complete the registration form and set your access credentials, you will receive an email confirming your registration. If there are errors or inconsistencies in your registration, you will be contacted by admin.

Note: One of the causes of delays in registration approvals is the mismatch between your email address and your organization’s domain. So please ensure that you provide the right information for speedy approval of your access.

  • Non-Government users can 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.

White paper attachments are often required by the Government users who set up their organizational calls. The reason for the required attachment is usually to provide specificity and/or answer specific questions or areas of interest to their mission set and/or challenge.

The Vulcan support team assists users with questions regarding the use of the Vulcan platform. The Vulcan support team does not control nor manage active calls by Government users in Vulcan. The specific details for such calls and engagements are set up by individual Government users or organizations.

Scout cards and their associated attachments are viewed by Government users and your verified colleagues from the same organization.

Scout cards can NOT be viewed by other commercial users who are not affiliated with your organization.

See question about ‘who has access to Vulcan’ and refer to the Vulcan Privacy Policy for more information.

You can increase the discoverability score of your scout cards by providing more information, keeping them up to date, and sharing them. Note: As Government users interact with your scout card(s) by, for example, viewing them, sharing them, assessing them, the discoverability score of your scout card(s) increases.

Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to increase the reach of your scout cards within the Vulcan ecosystem:

  • Add more attachments, multiple POCs, images, videos, 3D models, patents, tags.
  • Use your scout card (if relevant/responsive) to respond to other calls from other Government agencies and update their content(s).
  •  Engage your partners in Government by sharing the link(s) to your scout card(s) and integrating the links into your digital media, website, etc.
  • Make use of the unique QR code provided for each of your scout cards on your printed media at events and conferences for easy scan and access.

Vulcan provides you with a tool to quantify engagement from Government users in the form of temporal views of your scout cards. The number of views represent total views of all your scout cards by individual Government organizations.

When creating or editing a scout card, you can upload a 3D model as follows:

  • Navigate to the “files” tab and in the ‘Documents’ section, select ‘Document Upload’
  • Upload any .glb file and give it a file name.
  • Select ‘3D Model’ in the dropdown menu under ‘File Type’

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.

Your scout card profile contains the most up-to-date version of your solution/capability.

Updating a scout card does not alter scout card submissions that you may have previously submitted. Those versions are locked to individual call(s) in order to retain their compliance with the requirement and context set for those calls.

To view your scout card submission history, refer to the ‘Submission History’ table on the Home page. If you select one of these older versions, it will alert you to the existence of a more current version with the option to view it.

The scout card you deleted will still appear in your submission history.That is because we can not erase history.

However, your active scout card is deleted, which means that you removed that specific capability/solution from search by government users, who no longer are able to find and engage your scout card.

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”

Please contact the Vulcan support team at contact@vulcan-sof.com to request and verify a change to your email and/or your organizational affiliation.

Submitting an existing card to a new call does not alter any of your previous submissions. You are encouraged to tailor each scout card submission to the specific call and its submission requirements.

No. Vulcan provides you with a direct line to Government users in order to accelerate the discovery of your solutions by the professionals who need them to address critical national security challenges. We do not act as a gate for the free interface between you and the Government.

We, however, ask you to comply with the Vulcan Terms of Use. We monitor the platform for potential non-compliance and enforce the terms of use.

First, when you submit a scout card successfully, you will receive an on-screen message noting that ‘You’re all set!’.

Second, If you submitted in response to a call from that calls submission page:

  • You will find your submission listed under the tab marked ‘Already Submitted’. You can edit this submission all the way until the deadline of that specific call. Also note that the version you submit will be preserved for that call once it closes.
  • You can also track all your submissions on a searchable tables on the ‘Homepage’

Finally, If you submitted in response to a direct request from an individual government user, your scout card is available to you via the global gallery and you retain the ability to edit it at any time.

The government users/organization who post the calls in Vulcan decide whether to make POCs available for contact by interested submitters. It is up to them whether they make that information available. Under the terms of the Vulcan Privacy Policy, we do not make available the contact information of individual Government users.

Once the Government team completes its assessment, It may publish a report with feedback for your submitted solution. When that happens, the POCs on the submitted scout card receive a notification.

To view the assessment feedback for a specific scout card:

  • Click on the scout card and scroll down to the middle of the page where it says ‘Government Evaluations’
  • Click ‘Reports’. This will display a list of assessment reports that are available for this scout card.

Your organization affiliation in Vulcan allows you the ability to unlock the ability to collaborate with your colleagues on submissions and also to discover your organization’s innovations and team members, depending on organizational size. It also allows for access roles that enhance the protection of organizational content and submissions.

So, your verified domain for your organization is important. Your user affiliation with any organization is verified and validated; hence, any change must be vetted, verified and similarly validated before it is allowed.

You can submit requests for organization domain names to Vulcan Support at Contact@vulcan-sof.com

Affiliation and content are recognized through Organizational hierarchies in Vulcan.

If you would like to get a parent/subsidiary structure set up in Vulcan, please contact the Vulcan support team at contact@vulcan-sof.com.

Only government users and users within your own organization(s) are able to view your profile. You control the contents of your profile except for the access/affiliation information which must be verified.

Note that Government users are not only able to search for your scout cards, they are also able to search for other users with requisite expertise in various domains of interest. So if you are interested in being engaged as a subject matter expert, then we advise you to complete your profile in order to increase its discoverability.

A scout card, which depicts and summarizes a capability you submitted, is assigned a strength score based on three key factors:

  1. Completeness: The richer the content that is provided in the scout card, the higher its strength score. Higher allocations of the score (in this category) are provided to rich media content such as videos, and 3D Models. However, all fields contribute to scout card strength and users are provided with a visual containing suggestions on content elements that may enhance scout card strength based on Completeness factor.
  2. Age: The older the content, the more scout card strength regresses. The higher regression in this category begins 3 months since the last scout card update. Note that age is relative to the last update and not initial submission.
  3. Engagement: Vulcan tracks government engagement with scout cards and assigns an engagement score to them that is included in their overall strength. Government engagement spans a range of actions that are available to Government users including sharing, poking, reviewing, assessing, etc.

Scout card strength informs discoverability and search prioritization in Vulcan. The higher the strength, the higher its prioritization within the Platform. Note, however, that there are several other factors that affect search in Vulcan, including search context, natural language, facets, and filtering techniques available to Government users.

Vulcan uses a hierarchical taxonomy structure to complement other capabilities such as NLP in order to enhance discoverability and content mapping.

Vulcan Tags are keywords or phrases that describe an area of interest/practice that your solution may be directly related to. You can select from an existing list of Vulcan tags where available. Tagging provides you with an additional means of mapping your solutions to potential search terms employed by Government users in Vulcan.

Several organizations have open calls in Vulcan that allow them to keep an eye on emerging solutions to persistent problems. They keep monitoring those calls and engage as they see fit.

Note that Vulcan allows you to submit a scout card to one call and re-use the same scout card to submit to other relevant calls. (Do not submit duplicate cards). Also, it makes your capability discoverable by other government users who log in to Vulcan daily looking for specific solutions / capabilities.

In other words, a call is your invitation in, but then your capability works for you inside the platform by being discoverable by other Government users…and saves you time on your next submission!

Vulcan calls posted by different Government users / organizations may or may not be mapped to acquisition strategies. Each call is different depending on agency processes and requirements. Vulcan is a discovery platform that allows Government users to execute market discovery efforts and potentially refer them to acquisition processes and systems. note that the mere awareness of the existence of a given solution / capability can lead to direct engagement and/or the initiation of potential acquisition activities.

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