The U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) is opening up a contest to highlight servicemember and civilian ideas, inventions, and processes aimed at finding new solutions to military problems. The contest, called Innovation Oasis, is a “Shark Tank”-like innovation competition where USCENTCOM will select on October 12 the five best ideas with the greatest potential to improve operations, policy, or the lives of troops.

“General Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander, has identified the Culture of Innovation as a key priority and desires to recognize, embrace, elevate and leverage the ideas of service members from across the command,” the department said. “We’re all going to have to innovate, to develop new ways of looking at old problems, to reset the way we think.”

USCENTCOM maintains that these ideas “don’t come from the top” and the “military brass do not have a monopoly on new ideas,” and believes that some of the best ideas are lurking inside U.S. military formations already.

The panel for deciding on the ideas includes top executives from Google, SpaceX, and NASA, along with senior uniformed leaders from across the U.S. military.

“Your idea must highlight a problem and propose a solution. The panel will need to see some sort of visual presentation displaying what it looks like in implementation,” said USCENTCOM. “The visual presentation must contain the problem you want to solve and the solution.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.