Army’s New Camo Could be ‘Joint’

We reported back in July that the Army was looking for industry’s ability to come up with three different camo schemes: a “woodland” pattern, a “desert” pattern and a “transitional” pattern — thanks to a tip from our friends at Soldier Systems Daily.

Well, officials with PEO Soldier fleshed out the current status of Phase IV during a roundtable interview with reporters on August 10. Apparently, they’re ultimately looking to test three different patterns from three different companies against two government-designed patterns. And a final decision is due to be handed to the Army COS in 2013.

Officials left open all possibilities, including that only one “universal” pattern is chosen, that one is used for garrison and two others are kept in the warehouse for certain AOs or that the Army goes with two patterns worn interchangeably like the Marine Corps.

But PEO’s Jeff Myhre shocked this blogger when he seemed to leave open the possibility that the solution could be joint — i.e. a family of camos worn by all the services.

We have folks, not only from the Air Force, which is very interested in what we’re doing and is taking part in all these assessments and very much wants to see where this goes and leverage whatever the Army becomes, but the Navy and Marine Corps are also watching and seeing what we’re doing. So this has the potential to be a joint service solution at the end of FY ’13.

PEO’s Lt.Col. Mike Sloane added that they’re trying to come up with a scheme that makes the new camo palate more economical. He said it might be that the “transitional” pattern would be able to be worn effectively with the other two patterns, making it so the Army doesn’t have to buy packs and web gear in two or three different patterns. Think of it like the Corps’ Coyote brown…

As we have this family of patterns … what our intent is to have a suite, if you will, that can reach from the desert to that multi-terrain area all the way to that jungle/woodland area. … The idea would be to have a pattern that has 5-8 colors across the three different uniforms and on the [packs and web gear, etc] have three different colors but have the same pattern. An example would be if it was going to have a digital pattern, it would maybe be 8 different colors, but when you have the [gear] those would have 3 possibly 4 of those same shapes and patterns but in one broad match of 3 or 4 colors that would match all those different environments. So you can just pick up your kit and no matter where you’re going you’re wearing that same piece of equipment. And if you need the uniforms once you get on the ground … you can ramp up in one of these other flavors, if you will.

That quote, in a nutshell, reveals more about the sophistication of the Army’s search for effective camo than anything else and also should serve as a lesson to other services on how to do it right. It’s interesting that in the final days of John Murtha’s life, he’d pushed the Army to rethink its controversial (and counter to lab results) decision to go with UCP and what could result is a thorough, logical, modern and potentially joint solution to the varied battlefields our troops might encounter in the future.

Now if they could just do that with the M4…

  • Rob

    Here is the thing the army just spent all sorts of time in Afghanistan testing a bunch of different camos in all different environments including woodland and desert… and they picked Multicam… I don’t see the point of looking for new camo that will work in woodland and desert environments when YOU ALREADY HAVE A DESIGN THAT WORKS!!!!!!

  • Bob

    A good idea that will never see the light of day. It makes too much sense, would save too much money, and you would never get all four services to agree on the direction that the sun raises each morning, let alone a common cammo uniform. The federal government and military procurement just don’t work that logically.

    • Big dog

      I agree….LOL

  • William

    Amen Bob… Does anyone know which patterns the Army is testing out? I think they should just take the MARPAT… seems to be the most effective in an arid environment. all that really matters is that they find something 100% more effective than the ACU.

  • John

    Agreed. Maybe in another time or place but the Pentagon has proven these last nine years that they are incapable of making logical, cost-efficient solutions. After almost 5 years of “intense” development and “input from line personnel” the ABU turned out to be a joke costing millions.

  • kevin

    So why not just do like the Corps and have single color for our kit. They have coyote lets use something a little darker or lighter.

  • joe

    I like the references to “Like the Marine Corps has done” in most of the article.

    How about, jus go with what the “Marine Corps has done”…maybe remove the Eagle, Globe and Anchor from the pattern for different services. And the Coyote Brown fits all idea…Hmmmmm…we could have saved Billions of dollars, maybe, just maybe, even enough that would keep a Army Brigade from being cut…if only…naw, that aint gonna happen, Go ahead and waste billions more on research boys, your gonna do it anyways.

    Sad, so very sad….

  • joe

    For some reason I can not make “comments” on…but

    I do hope they think first of issuing these Multi-Cams to the Ground pounders first before the guys in the rear…I know, thats not how it works Joe…but it would be nice if thats how they issued the gear.

  • Wow, judging from the picture, Orgun-E’s come a long way since ’04… building and everything!

    Back on subject- I can only hope that if nothing else comes from this that they finally cut the crap-tastic UCP and just switch all of us to Multi-cam. That alone would be a vast improvement.

  • militaryman

    Military Logic doesn’t work like that. Military logic works like this; We got lighter ammo so now your gonna carry more.We got all jets up, nobody’s working, lets all sit here and waste time. We’re not gonna design a uniform that camouflages, we’re gonna make this crap and issue it so a couple years down the road we can another couple billion dollars on a uniform that does work.

  • hamchuck

    Oh god, will this never end…

  • Tmash

    Go with Marpat and save some money. Let the Navy and Air Force keep there NWU and ABUd for garrison wear etc. And for a transitional pattern just combine woodland and desert marpat basically making a digital multicam.


    No kidding… the whole CAMO thing has literally been a joke to the American tax payer. Too many people are looking for retirement bullet points on their performance appraisals. We have lost the ‘one team one fight’ motto and that’s such a sad thing.

  • Phil

    Why not make Crye Design a Desert and Woodland camo in Multicam schemes and go with Mutlicam gear? That’s somewhat costy, but works really around the world!

    • William

      “Never forget that your weapon is made by the lowest bidder” This quote goes with just about everything..including camouflage unfortunately.

  • …because we don’t want to copy the Brits?

  • Anthony

    Just use MARPAT and call it something else holy **** thats what the Navy did and I thought they were the slowest of the branches.

  • H Black

    An open declaration of how much has been spent since 9/11 on ALL uniform changes, DOD wide, would be interesting. In this ever increasing mantra of “joint”, one uniform design/pattern should suffice. If Mr. Gates is really interested in cost savings, stopping this uniform swap cycle should realize a portiion of military budget savings. Of course the AAFES organization would cry foul.

  • Albert

    The Uinted States military has always had the worst camo next to other countries in the world for years. It seems as if they design this stuff on a computer without setting foot in the enviroment. They seem to have the “I’m a General and I know”, mentality going forthem. Get the input from the troops that are there in theatre and actually set foot in the theatre of operation and look at it. And for heaven sakes, GET RID OF THE VELCRO JUNK!!!!!! Buttons work just fine!!!!

  • Pete Sheppard

    How about vehicle camo? ACU stands out like a spotlight against woodland painted vehicles. I suspect Mulit-Cam would as well.

  • Gallogls

    This looks more and more like a circle jerk fashion show than a war.

  • SGMjbuck

    In 1962m under the Army Suggestion Program, I submitted the idea that establishing a joint uniform, suitable for all branches, would save billions over a period of just a gew ueats. The idea was simple, use the same basic uniform for all services, diferences being color, headgear and accoutrements.
    The same problem existed then as does today…while it would cut costs for the gocernment, it would diminish profits for the manufacturers. We can’t allow our requirements to be driven by economics.
    BTW – The French “Tiger-stripe” worked well in VietNam, but we couldn’t “copycat another nations uniform (until we went with the pull over sweater from the Brits)

  • mulehead

    Its all about some contractor making Big Money at the expence of poor GIs, there wasn’t anything wrong with 50/50 BDUs or DCUs

  • Lance

    I think if the whole military adopts a pattern it should be the Marine MARPAT over the failed ACU or Air Fore Digis. Dump gray it was a bad idea to goto gray in the first place. The older woodland 3 color desert had not much complaints in the first place till some general had to have a digital pattern uniform. I dont see this going any where since all services have what they want. The army needs to adopt Multicam as standerd BDUs and dump ACU. The Marines are fine and the Navy is fine with older woodlands.

  • More evidence that common sense is spreading through our acquisitions process. We have more patterns then we know what to do with. Switch off to a joint pattern and save the cash.

  • Joined 1976

    “one pattern’ for all the services? If my closet reveals the truth, the USAF, USA & USMC all had BDUs in the late 70’s.

  • sgtyates

    I still think MultiCam has it over all the other camo suggested. When I first saw MultiCam 6 years ago when Crye Precision entered for testing, I knew that after all the inter service bickering that MultiCam would rise to the top!

  • USAF SrA

    Screw it…just give me back my BDUs! I’m sick of all this crap! I’ve spent over 300 dollars for uniforms in the past 3 years! Ridiculous!

    • crackedlenses

      I hate to say it, but you probably don’t want BDUs right now, it might make you look like those “right-wing” militias supposedly trying to take over the country. If I recall those Hutaree guys were all in BDUs. And the domestic terrorist training camps and Mexican drug armies are probably using it too…..

  • strikehold

    “PEO’s Jeff Myhre”

    Ain’t he the same guy who led the UCP program?

  • lorejeanr

    What a bunch of waste of money – Camouflage has never won any wars. Look at the Vietcong’s, they wore black pajamas. The Israeli Military still uses OD Green and they live in the desert and won many wars or conflicts. Once again look at our enemy, they still wear sandals and simple desert clothes with an AK-47. How many years have they been at war and still going strong?

    Read more:

  • USAF SrA

    The difference is subtle but way more important than just color…I earned the right to wear the uniform and to have a name tape that says U.S. Air Force. I’m not going to let a bunch of whack jobs diminish the fact that millions of other service members from every branch fought and died in that same uniform.

    • crackedlenses


  • someguy

    In order to sell a joint uniform, the solution must perform better than MARPAT or AOR in environments intended for use. I doubt the other services will be on board with less effective patterns or patterns that only provide a 60% universal solution.

  • jwdant

    whoopee doo, more money to spend, all these comments and not one realizing that this is tax dollars, yours mine and everyone elses being wasted…the government, civil service, postal service and the military are the biggest wasters of tax payer dollars in uniforms and salaries…


    If we all go to the same uniform – it will confuse our enemies – they won’t know which branch of the service they’re shooting at!

    I think we ought to NOT wear a uniform at all – wear what the locals wear and really confuse the hell out of them enemies! U-know, uncoventional uniforms for an uncoventional war – But, if both side agree to wear uniforms – then it only seems fair to save uniform costs on both sides!

    Green and Desert does have a tendency to show up really well in SNOW though! I kinda like having the best we can afford, vrs., the cheapest – usually goes along with SAVING LIVES! Besides I don’t think they make a “Pungey Stick Proof Sandal/Disease Proof Sandal – Maybe they do, and I just ain’t heard of it yet!” LOL!!!!

    • USAF SrA

      Only one problem with your Not wearing a uniform idea…that little thing called the Geneva Convention. Without a uniform you’re no longer a combatant but some idiot running around with a rifle/rocket launcher/tank/B-52…

      And before anyone starts with the same stupid comment “But our enemies don’t follow the Geneva Convention so why should we?” Well, that’s just one of the millions of ways we’re better than they are!

  • Dylan

    I don’t understand the big deal. First of all ACU works GREAT in Afghanistan! I’ve been there, done that! Second of all, does camo really matter when most patrolling is done from HMMWVs and MRAPs? Foot patrols are usually done along roads! ACU does NOT work in woodland areas, which is the problem with the grassier areas. That is the only reason I’m glad it’s being addressed…for futures conflict sakes.

  • Rob

    I’ve been to both Iraq and Afghanistan and the ACU does not work, and from I did see while in Afghanistan the SF guys wearing BDUs and our sister Battalion wearing Multicam blended in way better than we did and we were doing almost all dismounted patrols in the mountains so we didn’t have the luxury of riding around in and hiding in MRAPs and MATVs so I think having a camo that works is very important.

  • Bob

    The GREEKS wore nothing at all …

    • crackedlenses

      The GREEKS were athletics freaks who invented porn….

  • Andy

    Holy Hell just go with multicam already one uniform for all branches, WTF why does some general have to come up with it why does it have to be so difficult. Tax money wasted when there are good patterns out there. The marines seem to be the only service that has a clue and I am not even in the marines.

  • AA

    Im a nobody in the big picture here, all the uniform talk is a waste of time. Look at history…Colonial uniforms stood out and got a lot of people killed. We adopted ideas from the indians on camo and hiding and a diffrent style of fighting and this is what helped us defeat the Brits, along with other ideas and doctrines. The military really needs to get with modern times and warfare. Stop it with the high and tight haircuts, uniforms that makes us a target, stupid base decal stickers on our cars that basically make it so any one can sabatoge our cars off base. Seriously….to be successful we need to blend in and disappear so we can work unoticed. Out of sight out of mind……more lethal. This idea is to much for these crusty old CSM’s and Generals and heads of personnel doctrines etc. They cant let go of the 80’s and 90’s military. That time is over, we need to fight this unconvetnional war unconventionally. Whats the deal..WAKE UP !!!!!!!!

  • Jonathan

    The Marines would make it a HUGE deal if the Army chose to use MARPAT. Marines are too prideful to let the Army use the same cammo as them.

  • Travis

    Yeah I wore ACU’s guess where in a freakin jungle the best part about the uniform was when we were training I could see another soldier from a 1000+ meters away. The uniforms have their advantages at night because with NODs acu’s are almost invisible,but what ever they test is sometimes defective like my buddy’s assault pack that glowed white with NOD’s employed.

  • medicANC69

    BDU and DCU with the current modications minus the velcro. And keep the Multicam and the boots. More pressing need would be adopting a replacement for the M9 or M4. The entire country has had to make cut backs on nonsense spending ,Army get with the program. How is Jeff Myhre part of this process ,mister mandarin collar himself.

  • firedog99702

    SrA are you serious. I guess you never deployed before. sitting behind your little desk whinning about what other people are doing. This is my 6th deployment and in the Air Force. Airman like you really give our service a bad name. Even though you seem patriotic and probably have a NCO tell you about the Geneva Convention or doing your annually CBT. Sit down and shut up!!!! The only stupid comments are made by you. And thanks for showing the other services how dumb our airman are…

  • Payce

    Is it just me or does it look like the guy in the middle and the one on the left have Air Force ABU pants on?

  • This should be a joint design for all branches of the service; both home and abroad. To distinguish American service men from foreign troops. Former Army Vet

  • private joe

    how about ya take the money and upgrade the overseas barracks. bein an infantryman in germany is ******, havin 2 roomates in a 10×12 room, and a half *** stocked shoppette. we got guys with families and kids that have been living in hotels for months on end because they cant get sponsership, simply not enough housing. a uniform honestly does not dictate quality of life. put what little money the army does have towards neccessary things that will take care of joe.

  • Eric B.

    Cray’s Multicam pattern is based on HUMAN visual perception and fooling it with special colors/pattern combinations. So far it has proven the best in multiple environments, hence the “Multi” in Multicam.

    Personally my own experience in hunting in various scenarios from Eastern woodlands to southwestern deserts and western mountain I have found that a predominance of brown shades works on virtually all of these environments. That’s why I like the USMC’s brown/green pattern and why I think more browns in Multicam may be a better way to go.