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News   Defense News

Army Invites Innovators to Enter 7th Dragon's Lair

June 17, 2022 | BY SGT. MAXINE BAEN, 18TH AIRBORNE CORPS PUBLIC AFFAIRS

For the first time ever, the 18th Airborne Corps will partner with Army Futures Command to co-host the seventh installment of the innovative series Dragon's Lair. This next edition of the "Shark Tank"-style competition will take place Aug. 16 in Austin, Texas. 

In August 2020, the 18th Airborne Corps, known as America's Contingency Corps, developed Dragon's Lair as a way to give soldiers of any rank across the corps a platform to convey their innovative ideas and concepts to civilian technical experts and senior military leaders. This new partnership with AFC will now bring ideas to the forefront of the  Army's premier institution, which is charged with modernizing the Army and its future readiness at a faster rate. 

Seven service members pose for a photo next to a sign.
Group Photo
Dragon's Lair 5 contestants pose for a photo before pitching their ideas to a panel of senior military leaders and civilian industry experts from across the technology sector. The seven Army contestants, from left to right, are: Maj. Ben Hall, Capt. Stephen Sheets, 1st Lt. Mahdi Al- Husseini, Lt. Col. Michael Hefti, Lt. Col Jason Harlan, Sgt. 1st Class Michele Rebelo and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew Swift. The 18th Airborne Corps established the Dragon's Lair program in October 2020 to provide Sky Dragon soldiers a platform to share ideas for addressing problems across the corps.
Photo By: Air Force Sgt. Marygian Barnes
VIRIN: 210927-A-UR389-272

 
After five successful iterations of the program, the 18th Airborne Corps realized that Dragon's Lair could go beyond the Army's reach and decided to open it up to all military service members across the Defense Department to seek more innovators and diversity of ideas across the joint force. 
 
The partnership with AFC brings an opportunity to unlock new ideas for the advancement of the U.S. military. In the past, Dragon's Lair has taken the previously unsought ideas of a cooling apparatus for body armor, an algorithm to predict a building's layout, an app for the exceptional family member program, and an armored vehicle safety system, and it has elevated them to the next level for the betterment service members.

A man stands next to a podium; images of helicopters are on a screen behind him.
Presentation Pitch
Army 1st Lt. Mahdi Al-Husseini, assigned to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, pitches his presentation on artificial intelligence pilot performance feedback at Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 27, 2021. Al-Husseini was one of seven soldiers taking part in Dragon's Lair 5. The program was established in October 2020 to help increase innovation across the 18th Airborne Corps.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Marygian Barnes
VIRIN: 210927-A-UR389-497
 

DOD service members can submit their innovative ideas on the Dragon Innovation website. Users must create an account, which does not require a Common Access Card and is available from civilian systems. All concepts must have a description of the innovation and the problem being addressed. Ideas must be submitted to the site by July 24, 2022, to be eligible for consideration for Dragon's Lair 7.