Army uniform officials will present the results of the service’s Phase VI Camouflage Improvement Effort to the Army Uniform Board on February 28.
I spotted this on the Predator Intelligence blog and confirmed it with Program Executive Office Soldier. It’s hard to say if this will mean anything or not. PEO Soldier officials are tight-lipped as ever. They would only say it may be a recommendation or a path forward to where to take the effort that started out as an attempt to find a replacement for the Army Combat Uniform’s Universal Camouflage Pattern.
The Army launched its massive camouflage improvement plan in 2009 when its pixellated UCP came under scrutiny from soldiers, lawmakers and the Army test community. Two studies conducted by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center — one completed in 2009 and the other in 2006, showed that the UCP performed poorly when compared to multiple camouflage patterns such as the Marine Corps desert pattern and MultiCam.
Late last year, the Government Accountability Office put out a report, urging Defense Department leaders to work together and avoid the “fragmented approach” the different services have taken on camouflage development in the past. Each service has developed its own camouflage uniform over the past ten years. Military service leaders have introduced seven new patterns — two desert, two woodland and three universal — since 2002.
The Army’s camouflage effort achieved some success in the summer of 2010 when the service selected MultiCam to replace the UCP in Afghanistan. Since then, the pattern has performed extremely well — not a big surprise to the special operations forces that have been wearing it into battle for years now.
Whatever happens, the Army’s decision will likely hinge on whether the mandatory defense spending cuts for all the services under Sequestration take place on March 1. I can’t imagine the Army replacing anything if it has to cut training money for up to 80 percent of its combat units.
We will update you as soon as we know something.