Magazine article National Defense

Future of Army's 'Rapid Equipping Force' Still Uncertain

Magazine article National Defense

Future of Army's 'Rapid Equipping Force' Still Uncertain

Article excerpt

The U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force-which was created to meet soldiers' urgent technology needs-still is an experiment that keeps growing, according to service officials.

Led by Co. Bruce Jette, the REF has expanded from 14 to 40 employees most of whom are soldiers, according to Paul Stoskus, REF deputy director.

"Approximately half of those are forward most of them in Iraq," he said at the National Defense Industrial Association international armaments symposium. The REF has dispatched one officer and two non-commissioned officers to every division that is in Iraq, in addition to a contingent in Afghanistan.

"We have been getting some additional missions." said Stoskus.

Although the chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, has pushed to make the REF a permanent organization, a lot of politics is involved in the process, said Stoskus. "For the moment I still do not have a charter and table of organization," he added.

The REF has been ordered to assess and insert technologies for both the current force and the future force. Among the most urgent tasks is to support the Army improvised explosive devices (IED) task force said Stoskus.

The top priority for the task force is to train soldiers on how to detect or avoid IEDs, said Stoskus. "In 60 percent of the problems with IEDs, the casualties can be dealt with most effectively by TTP-related [tactics, techniques and procedures] efforts, and not technology," he said. "Technology is only about 30 percent."

To help with the training, REF has sent to the field so-called explosive hazards awareness training kits, said Stoskus. …

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