The REF was created in 2002 after U.S. Soldiers realized the need for non-standard equipment to meet the demands of new terrain, warfare tactics and their assigned missions. Since then, the REF has met challenges as diverse as enhancing Soldier mobility, providing improved surveillance in austere locations, equipping operational energy sources and enhancing communications.
The REF is the Army’s quick reaction capability for getting urgent materiel solutions into the hands of Soldiers. The organization is able to do this through unique authorities, and by maintaining a presence near the point of need. REF personnel are positioned in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait and mobile laboratories are available for quick solutions. Additionally, the REF empowers the Army at a grassroots level, enabling individual Soldiers to communicate needs directly through simple request forms.
Along with leveraging existing technology to meet urgent needs of Army forces deployed globally, the REF also informs longer-term materiel development for the future force.
The REF currently supports priority equipping efforts over a wide range of challenges including solutions for subterranean operations, electronic warfare, unmanned and counter-unmanned aerial systems, intelligence, and expeditionary force protection.