AFRL Commander’s Challenge – 2024

AFRL Commander’s Challenge – 2024

Start Date: Apr 19, 2024

End Date: Apr 19, 2024

AFRL commanders challenge banner image

The AFRL Commander’s Challenge immerses participants in rapid innovation, developing warfighting technologies within fixed budgets and limited time frames. Addressing complex problems, participants gain hands-on experience, leadership skills, and insights into AFRL processes. Although AFRL-led, the competition leverages talent and resources across the Air Force Materiel Command, contributing to national and strategic impact. It serves as a platform for technological innovation and a catalyst for career development, potentially changing participants’ career trajectories. The AFRL Commander’s Challenge is an investment in the future of Air Force innovation and leadership.

Maj. Gen. Scott A. Cain, AFRL’s Commander, revived the AFRL Commander’s Challenge, announcing it in a letter to the Air Force Materiel Command on February 29, 2024. The tradition, paused since 2020 due to COVID-19, calls junior officers, enlisted military members, and DOD civilians across the command to develop low-cost solutions for intercepting and defeating slow-moving, high-altitude aerial targets. Known for solving mission-critical problems since 2006, the 2024 challenge aims to inspire innovation.

Managed by AFRL’s Center for Rapid Innovation (CRI) with Wright Brothers Institute support, the event starts late spring 2024, concluding with a final competition seven months later. Six teams, each with six to eight members, will develop prototype systems. Applicants, including junior military and civilian personnel with <10 years in government service, apply by April 19, 2024, expecting a significant time commitment.

Beyond fostering a warfighting culture, the AFRL Commander’s Challenge aligns with the 2023 AFMC Strategic Plan, strengthening teamwork and leadership while developing the next generation of Air Force leaders.

Individuals who wish to be considered for this year’s competition must apply by April 19, 2024. Applicants should submit to Anthony Ligouri ( and Bon Strout ( a short email indicating their interest and include a 1-page résumé reflecting their background, education, experience, and other qualifications, to include applicable extracurricular activities.