Veterans Day - A Look Back at 71 Years Of Innovation

In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower.

On September 18th 1947, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and ever since that day our airmen have served their country with unparalleled courage and determination to ensure the safety of our nation.

Flying Aces THREE LIONS / GETTY - Courtesy of TIME Public Gallery

Flying Aces THREE LIONS / GETTY - Courtesy of TIME Public Gallery

In those 71 years, we’ve also been responsible for some of the most important innovations in modern times, from the rapid advancement in jet engine technology to the 1970s’ pioneering work in satellite navigation.

Today, AFWERX — the Air Force’s visionary program dedicated to solving some of the toughest problems the Air Force faces via collaborations between the nation’s top intrapreneurs, industry experts, academic professionals, and non-traditional contributors — continues on that tradition by issuing public “Challenges” that have already led to imaginative, resourceful advancements in everything from pilot training, to mixed reality platforms, to advanced microelectronics supply chains.

Recently though, AFWERX asked for innovators to submit components, materials, or technologies that could specifically improve the USAF Helmet used by its pilots and aircrew.

And on November 14th, the 30+ solutions it chose from the 100+ submissions will be featured as part of a grand exhibition at Enclave Las Vegas. This event is open to the public, so if you will be in Las Vegas, you can go ahead and RSVP here.

The next day, a select number of those teams will then be invited to meet with the project management office at the 30,000-square-foot AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub and be given the opportunity to attain over $500K of prototype and experimentation funding, a $20M+ government contract, or potential SBIR funding while allowing for customer collaboration with industry and government and official recognition of companies or ideas.

“To stay ahead of our adversaries, we can no longer rely on just a few large companies to solve Air Force problem sets. Instead, our approach here at AFWERX, is to crowdsource a nation’s worth of talent and ideas to ensure that the best possible solutions reach the warfighter and in turn, ensure our national security.” — Colby Edwards, Deputy Director of AFWERX Vegas

Today we honor those who serve and have served - thank you. Veterans are an important part of our ecosystem so we encourage all Veterans to review our challenge areas, submit ideas for future challenges and if in the Las Vegas area, come to this week’s events to see what dozens of innovators will present for our future men and women in service.