The condition of the Army today can only be understood when one considers where we have been and where we are going.. The changes in the world have made us realize that to ultimately be successful in the Global War on Terror, we must transform our capabilities. We will not be ready and relevant in the 21st Century unless we become much more expeditionary, more joint, more rapidly deployable and adaptive, as well as enhance our capability to be successful across the entire range of military operations from major combat to the condition of stability.
Dr. Francis J. Harvey
Secretary of the Army
RAPID FIELDING INITIATIVE
What is it? Rapid Fielding Initiative RFI leverages current programs and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to give the Soldier increased survivability, lethality, and mobility capabilities. The RFI list is updated periodically by the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to keep the list relevant to the war and its lessons learned. The RFI list comprises two types of equipment:
- Equipment every Soldier receives (items such as helmet, clothing items and boots) and
- Additional unit equipment fielded only to Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs). The unit equipment kit includes lethality and specialty items not used by every Soldier, such as weapons optics and Military Operations on Urban Terrain kits. Several items are fielded simultaneously with, but are not part of, RFI. These include Interceptor Body Armor, Thermal Weapon Sights, Night Vision Goggles, and the Army Combat Uniform.
What has the Army Done? In October 2002, the Vice Chief of Staff, Army directed Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier to develop the RFI program to equip all deploying Soldiers with enhanced capabilities for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). This directive initiated the U.S. Army's largest equipment fielding effort since World War II and is intended to supplement unit and Soldier equipment with essential capabilities required for success in the GWOT. The Army is fielding RFI equipment to every Soldier, regardless of component. Priority of fielding is to Soldiers deploying to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Horn of Africa, Balkans, and then the remainder of the operating Army until complete. As of November 2005, the Army has fielded RFI equipment to 500,000 Soldiers worldwide. The RFI fielding facility in Iraq completed its mission in November 2004 and is now operating in Kuwait. The goal is to conduct RFI in accordance with the "Equip, Train, and Deploy" concept in order to maximize home station training. Every attempt is made to field RFI to units and Soldiers prior to deployment, however, an RFI fielding site remains in Kuwait, as well as Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan, to field RFI equipment to any OIF or OEF individual or unit that does not receive RFI at home station. The Defense Logistics Agency instituted an in-theater RFI sustainment strategy on October 13, 2004, to sustain Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment items at their forward warehouse in Kuwait for units to requisition. RFI fielding to the Army at large began in June 2005.
For more information on this topic, please visit http://www.army.mil/aps/06/maindocument/infopapers/19.html