Transformation is a journey. It is not a destination. And transformation is not synonymous with modernization. It is not only done in the material dimension of the process. It involves doctrine. It involves organization. It involves training. It involves the way we develop our leaders. It involves the way we structure our installations; the way we train, equip, raise our soldiers; how we treat our families.
Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker
Chief of Staff of the Army
THE RAPID EQUIPPING FORCE
The Rapid Equipping Force (REF) has a broad mission to rapidly increase mission capability while reducing risk to Soldiers and others. REF was created to help warfighters and Soldiers address urgent needs on the battlefield that require a quicker response than the normal fielding process or for which there are no currently available means for acquisition. The REF accomplishes this mission in three ways:
- Equip operational commanders with off-the-shelf solutions or near-term developmental items that can be researched, developed and quickly acquired.
- Insert future force technology solutions required by engaged or deploying forces. Develop, test, and evaluate key technologies and systems under operational conditions.
- Assess capabilities and advise Army stakeholders of findings to enable our forces to rapidly confront an adaptive enemy.
Why Rapid Equipping?
- Enhance mission capabilities and reduce risk to the Soldier.
- Provide an established means to assess the emerging requirements of combatant commanders and to suggest solutions that can be rapidly implemented.
- Evaluate solutions for their possible contribution to the future force.
The REF concept is not a new one. Other wars have spawned similar groups with the mission of rapidly meeting unique, battlefield-specific needs. REF seeks to get the best possible solution to the warfighter, and realizes that sometimes the 80% solution right now is better than the 100% solution in two years.
REF personnel in-theater collect warfighters' battlefield needs that have not been addressed. Based upon both operational priority and the potential for the problem to be solved rapidly, REF works to solve these technical problems and bring a solution to theater.
Often, REF follows the progress of this initial equipping to gain feedback and engages in "spiral development" to improve the product until it more fully meets the theater requirements.
To learn more about REF and see examples of successful projects, click here.
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