INNOVATING FROM THE GROUND UP: THE DRAGON’S LAIR
Posted byJoseph Buccino April 15, 2021
Since the interwar period, the U.S. Army has sought to gain advantages over adversarial forces and potential enemies via new weapons, armaments, methods of fighting and methods of organizing for fighting.
Dragon’s Lair, a new program that the U.S. Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps introduced in August 2020, seeks to coax new ideas into the light to improve all aspects of land power through a publicly promoted contest. The program is partly theater – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who likely is unfamiliar with Army procurement, promoted Dragon’s Lair for the Corps on Twitter, and each iteration is referred to as an “episode,” seeking to replicate the NBC reality show “Shark Tank.” This theater, however, is in service of the larger goal of shining a spotlight on Soldier innovation. Dragon’s Lair is focused on creating an innovative culture across all echelons, ranks and formations, and generating awareness of the program is key to the long-term success of Soldier-led innovation.
While Dragon’s Lair is a new initiative, Army innovation is not. Since the interwar period, the U.S. Army has sought to gain advantages over adversarial forces and potential enemies via new weapons, armaments, methods of fighting and methods of organizing for fighting. After World War II, in particular, the service sought revolutionary change in every corner of Army life. From large-scale reinvention of combat maneuver exemplified by the airmobile concept developed by the Army Operations Office in the late 1950s, to quality of life upgrades such as the development of private barracks rooms to accommodate the All-Volunteer Force in the early 1970s, America’s land power service has long sought improvement in all areas related to military service. This tradition continues today as the Army encourages innovation across all echelons.https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/articles/dragons-lair/