Information Papers

Rapid Equipping Force

What is it?
The mission of the Rapid Equipping Force (REF) is to equip operational commanders with commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf solutions to increase effectiveness and reduce risk, insert future force technologies and surrogates to validate concepts and speed capabilities to the Soldiers and assess Army business practices, desired capabilities, and acquisition techniques to effect institutional Army change. The REF serves as a solutions catalyst, canvassing the military, industry, academia, and the science community for existing and emerging technologies. The REF maintains a direct support relationship with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and the Army Asymmetric Warfare Group. REF forward teams are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to identify and evaluate deployed force needs and desired capabilities.

What is the Army doing?
To date, the REF has introduced 550 different types of equipment and provided more than 75,000 items to units supporting Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, as well as units deployed to remote locations worldwide in support of the Global War on Terrorism. In addition, it has transferred 70 projects to acquisition program managers or the Army Materiel Command. REF life-saving projects include the Sniper Defeat system, which developed capabilities to prevent, react to, and survive sniper attacks; the Ballistic Protection Experiment that developed armor designed to defeat Explosively Formed Penetrator Improvised Explosive Devices; the Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery to provide energy independence to isolated battlefield locations; and the Enhanced Logistics Support Off-Road Vehicle to provide support to Soldiers over extreme terrain.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The REF is an enduring Army organization that will continue to bring off-the-shelf technological solutions to Soldiers on the battlefield while documenting a streamlined methodology for acquisition within the oversight of the Army Acquisition Executive.

Why is this important to the Army?
The REF saves Soldiers’ lives. It is a change agent for the Army that provides Soldiers with capabilities that increase lethality, improve force protection and enhance survivability.