PEO Soldier launched the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) in 2002 to streamline the process for distributing equipment to deploying units and ensure that all Soldiers—regular Army, Guard, and Reserve— were outfitted with the most advanced individual and unit equipment available, providing significant improvements to Soldier combat effectiveness, survivability, and operational quality of life. To date, RFI has equipped nearly 1.5 million deploying Soldiers.
RFI coordinates the activities of three closely aligned cells responsible for the planning, logistic support, and fielding operations associated with the expeditious equipping of deploying Soldiers and units. The focus of fielding operations has transitioned over time from immediate-response, in-theater fielding efforts to scheduled, home station fielding events coordinated to minimize the impact on pre-deployment training.
Equipment fielded by RFI currently consists of 73 items procured by the Project Managers that provide capabilities enhancements essential to combat operations. Items currently fielded by RFI include individual Soldier mission-essential equipment, such as the advanced combat helmet and ballistic eye protection, and organizational force protection/mobility items, such as urban terrain equipment and infrared strobes. The list also includes critical unit lethality enhancement items such as improved ammunition packs, small binoculars, and advanced weapons optics.
As Soldiers deploy for their second, third, or fourth combat tour, RFI has implemented the Lean Six Sigma (LSS) processes to minimize duplicative fieldings of equipment. The process, called “Lean Fielding,” saved the Army over $84 million in its first 12 months. RFI’s latest LSS project for accountability transfer automates support systems and reduces the administrative workload on gaining commands in updating property books and effecting lateral transfers of equipment to individual clothing records. Furthermore, RFI planning and fielding activities fully support and complement the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) operating cycle.
PEO Soldier is restructuring in order to institutionalize the RFI process through the establishment of a G4 Directorate. This is aimed at achieving the greatest synergism and efficiencies from the acquisition and fielding cells within the Project Management and Director Offices to field the Soldier as a system. This transformation also encompasses a reduction of the historical reliance on supplemental funding for Soldier equipment in order to provide more predictable requirements over time and facilitate programming of funds to support the modernization process.
PEO Soldier Public Affairs
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