Equipping the Force

Wednesday April 11, 2007

What is it? Equipping the Force is a process to manage equipping units based on assigned priorities, missions, and position in the rotational cycle. The Army has developed a number of initiatives and processes to balance near-term readiness, operational commitments, and longer-term modernization needs within fiscal realities while at the same time take care of our most valuable asset, the Soldier.

What is the Army doing? Driven by operational requirements, Army equippers use the Army Force Generation Model (ARFORGEN) and Theater Provided Equipment (TPE) program to ensure allocation of the correct mix of equipment to provide a sustained capability of operationally ready units, to include Army National Guard units performing Homeland Security and Homeland Defense missions as the first military responder.

The Army uses the semi-annual Army Equipping and ReUse Conferences (AERC) to synchronize requirements, modernization plans, and delivery of equipment with requisite training. At AERC, senior leaders and force developers review, validate, and refine existing sourcing plans based on updated requirements that factor in modular force conversion plans, operational requirements and prioritization, funding, production deliveries, reset rates, TPE, and other essential factors to develop mitigation strategies to address equipment demands. In addition to new procurement and depot-repaired items, the Army uses all available equipment to fill holes. ReUse is a process the Army has instituted to use all available equipment in the inventory, whether new or used, to fill formations of the Total Force.

In concert with AERCs, the Army conducts Equipping Synchronization Conferences (ESC), the objective of which is to synchronize unit's modernization, equipment fielding, and training plans with the progressively increasing readiness requirements of ARFORGEN. The desired end state is a unit equipped, trained and ready to execute assigned missions when they come into their ARFORGEN ready phase.

Rapid Equipping Force (REF) and Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) are two Army-wide programs that bring technologically advanced force protection equipment to deployed and deploying units in a fraction of time as legacy fielding systems. REF works in partnership with industry, academic, and military leaders to provide field commanders with readily employable solutions to enhance lethality and survivability--often using off-the-shelf and developmental technologies. RFI enhances capabilities of our fighting force in a systematic and integrated manner commensurate with the Soldier-as-a-System (SaaS) philosophy. By the end of FY07, the Army will complete initial fielding to a total of 984,000 sets of equipment.

The Army uses "Reset" to help maintain readiness and
equipment reliability. Reset actions include repair or replacement of equipment lost to combat operations or worn to the point of being uneconomically repairable. Reset also includes recapitalization of equipment. A combination of Rest, new production, and equipment ReUse helps build capability in our future.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The Army's Modernization Strategy--Future Combat System (FCS)--will provide leap-ahead capabilities in active protection systems, mobile command and control, and common chassis linked to a modular formation to provide an exponentially more capable force than current combat formations by increasing situational awareness, reducing sustainment burden, and placing boots back on the ground by doubling squad strength and reducing BCT manpower by reducing crew sizes.

Why is this important to the Army? Given today's wartime imperative, the Army cannot afford transformational change and modernization over multiple decades. The Army's balanced approach to equipping ensures our Soldiers and their commanders receive the best possible support and capabilities as soon as we can provide them, now, and in the future.

The 2007 Army Modernization Plan discusses the Army's equipping efforts. To learn more, click here.


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