The Bayonet

Wednesday, Feb. 05, 2014

Around the Army : Army affirms REF as enduring need

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FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The Army has affirmed the continued existence of its Rapid Equipping Force, thus maintaining the service’s ability to quickly address Soldier non-standard equipment needs.

In the past, the process for meeting Soldier operational demands was often not as quick as commanders would like. The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force was stood up in 2002, to fill that role — to provide rapid solutions to problems Soldiers in Afghanistan encountered while conducting their mission. Such solutions can be developed in-house by REF engineers, and fielded quickly to Soldiers using commercial off-the-shelf or government-created technology.

In a Jan. 30 memo signed by Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, the Army recognized the REF capability was something the service needs for the long-term.

“The Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff have determined that the capabilities afforded the Army by REF must be rendered enduring,” Westphal wrote in his memo.

Col. Steve Sliwa, director of the REF, said the memo underlines the importance of the REF to the entire Army, and also dispels rumors about REF disbanding after the conclusion of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“With this decision, the Army ensures the institutionalization, not only of a rapid equipping capability, but the invaluable lessons learned after more than 11, comprehensive years of delivering tangible results,” Sliwa said.

The memo outlines the implementation plan for transferring the REF, its military and civilian personnel, along with their functions and funding, to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC. That transition should happen no later than Sept. 30, 2015.

8-week SHARP course launched

WASHINGTON — The Army launched an eight-week Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response Program schoolhouse pilot program at Fort Belvoir, Va., Jan. 27 to better prepare sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates and trainers.

The pilot program extends the training by an additional six weeks, and was directed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and G-1 Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, after they brought in sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates from across the Army for a panel discussion during the June 10 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program stand-down.

SHARP Director Dr. Christine Altendorf opened the first day of the pilot class of 31 Soldiers and civilian students, which consists of newly hired Mobile Training Team instructors and select SARCs and VAs from across the Army. She told them when they return to their commands to teach the 80-hour certification course, “you’re going to have to get in there and say by-standing is not okay anymore.

“We have to reinforce that it’s not the victim’s fault and provide that environment of victim advocacy, and we also have to make sure we know what we’re doing when it comes to prevention — to keep it from happening in the first place,” she said. Subject matter experts from the Army Management Staff College, the Office of the Army Surgeon General, Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Office of the Judge Advocate General are scheduled to address the class at different times during the course. Additionally, the Army Training Support Center will prepare trainers to facilitate small group instruction.

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