"Because the enemy adapts and the environment emerges and changes every day, we want to see what's changing, see what the Soldier needs. We want to very rapidly turn that and get it back into the Soldier's hands."
Colonel Gregory Tubbs
Director, Rapid Equipping Force
Rapid Equipping Force
What is it? Rapid Equipping Force REF is an operational activity that rapidly provides combat commanders with cutting-edge solutions that increase lethality, improve force protection and enhance survivability. The REF takes operational guidance from the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and reports to the Vice Chief of Staff, Army. REF works directly with operational commanders to find solutions to identified equipping requirements. REF accomplishes its mission by working in partnership with U.S. Army Material Command, industry, academia, Army senior leaders, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Army acquisition community, and the Army Test and Evaluation Command to meet immediate Warfighter needs. The mission of the REF is to rapidly provide operational commanders with employable solutions to enhance lethality, survivability and force protection through insertion of commercial/government off-the-shelf and future force technologies, while ensuring the Army remains ahead of an adaptive enemy. A primary task of the REF is to focus on solutions to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and to directly support the Joint IED Defeat Task Force. In its General Support role to the Army, REF forward teams quickly identify and evaluate the needs and desired capabilities of our forces. The REF develops and rapidly acquires appropriate solutions while documenting a streamlined methodology for acquisition with the cooperation and oversight of the Army Acquisition Executive.
What has the Army done? To date, the REF has introduced over 87 different types of equipment, providing more than 15,000 items to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom units. REF solutions include: robots like the PACKBOT and MARCBOT for interrogating caves and suspicious packages for booby traps and improvised explosive devices; personnel and vehicle scanning systems; persistent surveillance systems; digital translators for Soldiers to communicate with locals in their own language; explosive material detectors; and much more. REF technologies save Soldiers' lives. REF adaptive practices are at the forefront of Army modernization and serve as a catalyst and change agent for Army transformation.
For more information on this topic, please visit http://www.army.mil/aps/06/maindocument/infopapers/18.html and http://www.ref.army.mil.