Dragon Tank Challenge: Let your voice be heard!

Dragon Tank

The 81st Training Wing has developed a program called the Dragon Tank Challenge which allows anyone in the wing to submit their idea, product or service in the hopes of landing wing approval and immediate funding to implement it. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Do you have an idea to improve your work center or an innovative new approach to accomplish the mission?

Well, Keesler Air Force Base wants to hear it!

The 81st Training Wing has developed a program called the Dragon Tank Challenge which allows anyone in the wing to submit their idea, product or service in the hopes of landing wing approval and immediate funding to implement it.

Beginning at the top with Chief of Staff of the Air Force David L. Goldfein, the Air Force is going ‘all-in’ with innovation and putting their money where their mouth is. Air Education and Training Command is taking that spirit of innovation and empowering their wings to break barriers in the education domain.

Keesler’s recent win in the AETC Innovation Challenge Mission Accomplishment category earned the base a monetary award to be used for operations and maintenance according to a news release from the headquarters.

“We teach the next generation of Airmen to learn more rapidly than their adversaries,” said Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast, commander of AETC. “We teach how to innovate more broadly across a series of networks to more ideas.”

In the spirit of finding innovative ideas at the lowest levels, the wing developed the Dragon Tank Challenge to encourage all Airmen to come forward with their ideas.

“The 81st TRW’s success is the direct result of the innovative ideas of our team members,” said Lt. Col. Michael Manning, 81st Training Group deputy commander and co-leader of the Dragon Tank initiative. “The wing and group leaders recognize that innovation and process improvements are accomplished by our Keesler family and they have developed the Dragon Tank to bring together inputs from every level with the opportunity for immediate implementation and immediate results for the base and the local community.”

Keesler Air Force Base is opening this opportunity up to all Airmen, civilians and spouses. There is no idea that is too big or too small to be submitted for the Dragon Tank Challenge.

There are three ways to submit:

1. You can send your submission form to: 81TRW.CCX.DragonTank@us.af.mil.

2. Find the Dragon Tank page on the Keesler App, and fill out the form. That will be sent to the email above automatically.

3. Finally, you can submit via the Keesler SharePoint page: https://keesler.eis.aetc.af.mil/dragon%20tank/default.aspx (This link will take you to an external site that requires CAC access)

All submissions are due May 23. Submissions should be made on the standardized form that can be found here: www.keesler.af.mil/DragonTank  

Everyone who participates will receive a Dragon Tank poker chip, recognition in a Keesler news article and a letter of appreciation from Col. Debra Lovette, 81st TRW commander.

On June 12, semi-finalists will advance to the mini-tank where individuals or teams will pitch their idea or product to a panel of subject matter experts. The top 10 individuals from the mini-tank will advance to the Dragon Tank to compete for investment. Everyone who presents in the mini-tank will receive a one-day pass.

During the mini-tank, the panel will have the authority to declare “just do it” for ideas that meet the pre-approved threshold.

On June 28, the finalists will have five minutes to present their innovations to a five-member panel which will include the wing commander, the wing command chief, the training group commander, a junior officer and an NCO. There will be a 10 minute question and answer session after the presentation. Everyone who presents in the Dragon Tank will receive a two-day pass.

“We are excited to see all the great Dragon Tank submissions and look forward to the impacts they will have on Keesler’s mission and quality of life over the coming years,” said Manning.