In "James Bond," the latest military technology is whipped up by the the miracle workers of Q Branch, the fictional research and development division. The stuff they give him is always cutting-edge and ready to go.

In real life, the process of developing and producing the latest military technology isn’t so simple. It involves lots of red tape and, often, too little connection with the private sector working on the most innovative projects outside of clear military priorities.

But the United States military now wants to connect the dots between innovators and people in the Army who have the bureaucratic know-how to make bright ideas reality.

That’s the idea behind the Army Applications Laboratory which is meant to smooth the process of military innovation and do far more than just outreach to Silicon Valley. It’s a similar model to the Defense Department's Defense Innovation Unit, which was founded in 2015 to bring civilian innovation into defense operations.

As the U.S. faces new types of threats and increasing competition from countries with their own programs aimed at fostering military innovation, this is a great step for the military.

The AAL, officially, is “the Army proponent for disruptive innovation.” In plain English, that means it’s a permanent organization that deals with technology not already designated as an official priority. Essentially, the Army is looking for new ideas and providing a dedicated channel to bring them to fruition.

Adam Jay Harrison, the chief innovation officer of the Army Futures Command, made clear that the AAL was about more than just wooing innovators, though. At remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association, he explained that it was also about ensuring that existing expertise was factored into new projects. He sees this latest endeavor as a sort of “concierge service,” connecting those with ideas with the people who know how to make them a reality, including navigating bureaucracy, funding, and military specifications.

Everything they try isn’t going to work, of course, but having a dedicated framework to consider and possibly implant new ideas means that the Army has more information on what kinds of options exist and how they might be useful in operations.

New ideas, entrepreneurship, and critical thinking are key to America’s past success and will likely be key to future success as well. And, while it’s important to continue to develop traditional capabilities, future conflicts will likely be waged with artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and other cutting edge innovations.

For the U.S. to remain competitive, dominating the oceans with aircraft carriers is no longer enough. The Army Applications Lab is clearly meant to address those concerns and capitalize on American ingenuity to do so.

Although Army Applications Laboratory isn’t yet fully in place, it is doubtless a step in the right direction. This is exactly what the Futures Command should be doing.