The idea for the organization goes back to 2003 when Josh Davis, one of the founders, began a dialogue with James Neushul about open-sourcing a project they were working on. Next Josh met Heather Burke with whom he shared the idea of pulling together a military based open source software conference. Heather introduced him to John Scott, the other founder of Mil-OSS. Over the next several months key individuals joined the conversation including Mike Howard, Gunnar Hellekson, Kit Plummer and Kane McLean.
By 2008, the organization had taken shape and the first annual Working Group (WG1) was being planned for the summer of the following year. Needing a quick online rally-point for the new community, the Mil-OSS Google Group was started along with other social media outlets to support the organization.
About the same time, the Mil-OSS decided to team up with Open Source For America (OSFA). Mil-OSS decided that operating as a working group under OSFA’s umbrella would benefit both communities more than working separately.