Q: What types of items do you equip?
A: 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, ISR, and expeditionary force protection.
Q: What makes the REF fast?
A: REF is rapid because it combines requirement validation, acquisition authority and funding under one roof. The REF is also adept at creatively leveraging resources to produce solutions quickly. REF solutions may come from commercially available technologies that already exist, repurposing existing equipment, or prototyping new items in one of our mobile expeditionary labs.
Q: What are expeditionary labs?
A: Expeditionary labs (Ex Labs) are mobile and self-contained structures that allow Soldiers an opportunity to help design solutions at the forward edge of battle. The labs include 3D printers and prototyping capabilities for immediate product creation. They are manned with an engineer onsite and reach-back capability to the full breadth of expertise at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. The REF currently has three Ex Labs, one of which is in Afghanistan.
Q: Does the REF partner with other organizations to provide solutions?
A: Yes. The REF actively seeks to collaborate with other Army and U.S. Government entities across relevant mission areas to leverage their expertise and experience to devise solutions. We also share information with the broader Army to inform longer-term equipping efforts. Additionally, we partner with industry and academia to remain informed of emerging technologies.
Q: What is the REF?

A: The Rapid Equipping Force provides innovative materiel solutions to meet the urgent requirements of U.S. Army forces deployed globally and informs materiel development for the future force.

The REF supports priority equipping efforts including solutions for subterranean operations, electronic warfare, unmanned and counter-unmanned aerial systems, intelligence, and expeditionary force protection—with the goal of providing a solution within 180 days or less.

Q: Why was the REF created?

A: The REF was created in 2002 after U.S. Soldiers realized the need for non-standard equipment to meet the demands of new terrain and warfare tactics. Since then, the REF has met challenges as diverse as enhancing Soldier mobility, improving force protection, providing improved surveillance in austere locations, equipping operational energy sources and enhancing communications.

Q: How is the REF different than other Army organizations focused on equipment?

A:  The REF’s focus is on identifiying and equipping deployed and deploying Soldiers with essential equipment in a very short period of time using the best technologies available. The REF focuses on specific units that are engaged in operations.

Q: Who does the REF serve?

A: Our customer is any Soldier or commander that has a threat or challenge in their operational environment.