REF generators for site

A series of diesel generators on a mini-grid power a Combat Outpost at Ft. Bliss. REF is working on better, lighter ways to bring power to soldiers based around the world. (Alex Chadwick/Burn)


The U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force – REF for short – is a little-known agency making big changes in how soldiers fight. It was created after an officer saw a video of soldiers trying to clear an Afghan cave with a rope and grappling hook – why not robots, he wondered?

That was 10 years ago, and as BURN host Alex Chadwick reports, since then REF has become an innovator in many fields, including energy.