Army Chief Says New Camouflage Coming

ACU_pattern

The U.S. Army’s top officer says the service is poised to pick a new camouflage pattern for uniforms.

The selection comes after tests showed the existing design, a grayish-green digital pattern that appears on the standard-issue fatigues known as the Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, was poorly suited for environments such as Afghanistan, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

“It’s the wrong color,” Odierno said during a May 7 breakfast with reporters. “It’s not the right patterns,” he said. “Every test we’ve done [says] it’s wrong. So we’re going to come up with a new pattern.”

The service may spend as much as $4 billion over the next five years to replace its uniform and related protective gear, according to a September report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Military.com last month reported that Army Secretary John McHugh was briefed on Gen. Odierno’s recommended replacement for the so-called Universal Camouflage Pattern, which the service adopted in 2004 to replace its woodland and desert camouflage uniforms.

The Army last year awarded contracts to develop new camouflage designs to four companies: Crye Precision LLC, ADS Inc., Brookwood Companies Inc. and Kryptek Outdoor Group.

Odierno didn’t specify which design or designs he recommended, only that the existing pattern was insufficient.

“All the testing we’ve done say it doesn’t work in environments,” he said. “It puts our soldiers at risk. That’s why we changed the uniform in Afghanistan. So to me, it’s a low-cost, almost no-cost, solution to change it. It’s the right thing to do.”

The Army in 2010 selected a design called MultiCam, which is popular with Special Operations Forces, for soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.

All four services wore the same Army Battle Dress and Desert Camouflage patterns before the Marine Corps introduced their own digital patterns in 2002. The move left Army, Air Force and Navy scrambling to provide their troops service-specific camouflage patterns, the GAO said.

Government auditors recommended for the military services to work together to develop camouflage uniforms. By not doing so, they stand to lose “millions of dollars in potential cost savings,” according to the report.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

132 Comments on "Army Chief Says New Camouflage Coming"

  1. go to OD green like the ones they had in Vietnam…worked well! Tiger Stripe works well also!!

  2. O.D.Green fatigues were the reason for the change to BDU's in the early 80's: They sucked. A Soldier in that uniform usually stuck out like a sore thumb…and, just to make it more surreal, we had a camo cover for our steel-pot helmets, with spit-shined jump boots on. No, the Army is, at least, TRYING to move in a more tactical direction, IMHO. Eventually they'll get it right…after the Military Clothing Industry has soaked every last dollar from the troops trying to stay in the proper uniform…

  3. It is interesting to note that the Israeli Defense Forces do not use a camo pattern on their BDUs. It's just OD…

    My second choice would be the ubiquitous Khaki. It kind of blends in most environments, except for Artic… Close relation to Coyote Brown…

  4. What concerns me is that the same process for choosing the last pattern may be choosing the next pattern.

  5. How about a woodland and desert camo with a solid color for kit that works with both…..oh sorry, the Marines already did that……made too much sense anyway.

  6. A shade of OD green, or a form of coyote, has a lot of benefit to it. It got us through a couple of major wars and police actions. Also, everyone should be wearing the same uniform, except for the Navy aboard ship. If SpecOps needs a camo special uniform, they have funds to buy them The main thing is get everyone that is involved in ground combat, or ground operations wearing the same uniform. That goes for the USMC, they are the smallest of the services and the one we could most easily do without, or merge with one of the other services. If the various services want their own distinctive class A uniform that is one thing, and they can have their own distinctive hat. For a work/combat uniform they should all be the same. If a distinctive camo for different terrain and/or climate must be issued, make it a reversible smock, common to all services.

  7. Joe-in-the-Stan | May 7, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply

    How about just sticking with the pattern that actually works, is widely in use and already in the Army stocks: MULTICAM! Soldiers have been using it for years, there is an abundance of gear available in it, IT IS VERY EFFECTIVE in a myriad of environments and did I say the Army already has plenty of gear for it?

  8. Why dont all services have the same pattern with maybe a different style for the bouses/pants? This should also lower the cost on accessories that are used. Same color boots etc. More produced should lower overall cost and create more R&D into the actual pattern.

  9. New camo "coming", doesn't mean they'll ever adopt it!

  10. Single colours are GARBAGE! In Canada we had OD as our uniform until the early 2000s. By comparison the OD stick right out, and requires more work to camouflage once in a static position.

    Multicam or some other multi-environment uniform makes sense, as does multiple uniforms for different environments. One is just cheaper than the other.

  11. camo patterns have become the least important thing about warfare in the last 12 years. this may come as a shock to some of you but… our "oh so important" camoflage aint fooling anybody, least of all the people who shoot at our men and women in uniform.

    flat, mat olive drab/khaki, and if a state-side douche bag wants to add some starch… more power to him. awww hell, lets go with some confederate chestnut, or maybe a subdued cavalry blue, and some yellow leg stripes.

    the point is NOBODY gives a shit. 4 billion dollars for a fashion show…?

  12. j i hawaii | May 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply

    ru u kidding me? odierno just figured this out? grey in the desert works for aircraft (which we said we would do but did not) and not for troops. please please stop spending my tax payer dollars on new uniforms. i retired and cif refused anything green, tan, desert tan, abdu, or anything other than acu. now it's a myriad of uniforms no one has control over. one uniform. now. 12 yrs and 5 changes. each less effective until milti cam…which resembles usmc. howabout we all get on board and use the same stuff for the same mission?

  13. When will they ever stop?

  14. A HUGE waste of money….how many times are we going to change the camo for each branch of service because it doesnt match/blend into the environment we are fighting in?? This is yet ANOTHER reason why we are BROKE and cant even afford anything besides multi-billion dollar defense projects like waste of space JSF.

  15. Why not adopt the Marine Corps patterns? I could care less if the Marines developed it first because we all work for the same bosses and chew the same dirt. If we don't go with that, just issue the multicam. Pretty simple and it don't take years to decide this.

  16. The Oberst | May 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply

    LOL….. I still support the body painting idea.

  17. Yeah, tha current ACU is "insufficient." Yeah, that's why our troops are getting slaughtered in foreign lands by non-state combatants wearing bedsheets and sandals. And what qualifies Odierno to be wasting this much money on a new camo pattern? Oh yeah, he's a general officer in charge of a full-time standing uniform board of senior officers always looking for something to spend mony on. Perhaps SecDef Hagel needs to call somone on the carpet to answer a few basic budget issues. Hey Chuck?

  18. CamoReader | May 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Reply

    I am going to say a few things…

    1. Solid colored uniforms are stupid. They do not disrupt the human axis symmetry and does little to match the texture of the environment.

    2. It has been a long time with a lot of waste. The Army will get it right this time for the most part.

    3. Israel may be using OD uniforms still but that doesn't prove anything. At best is shows that they can't afford camo or just too ignorant.

    4. All branches should wear the same camouflage pattern (except for special operations)

  19. Glockster20 | May 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    Carhart tops and bottoms? Would be cheaper. But on a serious side we have nothing but fools running the show. It will be interesting. The other issue I have is why does everything have to match!! Maybe we should do like the Marines and have IBA, Rucks and so on one colour.

  20. USMColddawg | May 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply

    If Army leadership is smart; they will select US4CES camo since the Marine Corps is being stingy with theirs.

    http://www.adsinc.com/company/solutions/camo-solu

  21. Keep multicam for transitional pattern with od green vests.

  22. The military, as a whole, needs to get rid of this "reactionary thinking"! Instead of choosing a durable material firstly, then a servicable/practicle pattern, then a dye which will last in operational care conditions, and LASTLY two patterns (one desert/one forest)……. well, these starry-shouldered chair polishers want to choose a new pattern every few years, which matches the "current operational theater" the best.

    The obvious second flaw in all this: Having administrative desk-flyers make the decision, instead of those Soldiers,Marines,Sailorws,and Airmen who have to wear and maintain that uniform in the worst of conditons. Those people who live the field-experience, instead of manning an office in a big building, within the Beltway!

    Choose a uniform that is practicle and durable, and let it be! I'm beginning to think that these Generals hold stock in the manufacturers which spin-up these disposable uniforms which they force on the troops every few years!

  23. retired 462 | May 8, 2013 at 4:31 am | Reply

    Don't do anything 'til ONE PATTERN can be used for ALL!

    Stop playing these games every other year. The next chief of staff will more than likely have a say on the same subject. Needless to mention what it cost to change paterns per person.

  24. Regrettably I'm not a solider so maybe I'm just talking out of my ass. The first thing that comes to mind is why not make it a consensus and let the troops decide or at least have input?

    Next thing that comes to mind is counterfeiting; maybe not a good idea to use OD or any solid color because of how easy it is for the enemy to copy? The thing is, why can I as a citizen go to proper.com and order a field coat with the ACU pattern (and others)?

    Lastly maybe the best idea is to rotate the patterns on a semi-yearly basis or some other time frame so the enemy can't get used to what to look for. The human eye is pretty good at learning how to pick out patterns – any patterns – given enough time. With a modern enemy that doesn't wear uniforms we may want to focus on blending in vs. hiding (e.g. camouflaging). On a archival/reflective note: Remember first years in Afghanistan the Special Ops guys grew beards and we got complaints? If we're setting them up to fail why bother wasting money on uniforms – just put them in day-glo orange with a 12×12 American flag on their backs.

  25. Robert everhart | May 8, 2013 at 5:33 am | Reply

    Again with the army-then the Navy-marines. Why don't we change the uniforms of the boy scouts to. This money should go to help wounded troops that wore the uniform of what ever color. You top brass just need to get your head out of your a$$.

  26. leftoftheboom | May 8, 2013 at 5:49 am | Reply

    It's funny that the posts get so uptight. All camo patterns will be affected by the environment. Soldiers may start out clean but they don't stay that way (unless you are behind a desk). The environmental color blurs the lines anyway.

    Movement negates camo. So who exactly is evaluating the effectiveness? Are our snipers telling us that our troops stick out (because that would be my vote for operational testing, so long as they don't shoot me)? Or are we asking the Taliban?

    My problem with the ACU is the zipper, the crotch seams, and the stupid velcro.

    If I am not moving, and not wearing International Orange, I stand a good chance of not being spotted even in jeans and a t-shirt.

    Forget the color games and just make one that doesn't wear out or fail all the time and has to be held together with hand sewing.

    If you must have a color, make them reversable. coyote and olive drab changed environment and turn your cloths inside out. Each pocket is accessible from both sides and has a button. DIRT will give you blending. Who evaluates camo that is clean anyway?

  27. One Garrison uniform (can be service specific)

    One CONUS Camo uniform (because camo in garrison looks unprofessional)

    and whatever theater Camo is appropriate

    Really, how difficult is that concept???

  28. It took 10+ years and tons of money to realize that the ACU is bad!!?? What are these idiot generals thinking!! They should be fired!! They allowed this to happen and put soldiers lives in danger!! Now they want promotions and medals!! The modern general is more of a corporate CEO than a tru combat leader. Almost allof our current generals never heard a shot fired until they made multi stars and that was an echo in the Green Zone!! These guys won't take a dump unless it enhances their careers!! Sure they have lots of combat hash marks indicating their time spent in the big bases living large and in comfort. They are NOT true combat leaders all those who are got retired or fired!! Even McCrystal never got shot at!! I'm reading his book, very dissapointing. Look @ Petreus what a shame!!

  29. Jamie Scheirer | May 8, 2013 at 6:11 am | Reply

    Yeah! Another fine example of useless, waste, and borderline abuse of government funds to replace something that is nowhere near in need. Aren't we suppose to be cutting OUT frivalous spending? And top leaders and politicians wonder why we're broke and where the money goes…what the price tag on this flipant adventure?

  30. Well they spent this money so they might as well pick what was most effective in each environment. I love both OD Green and Coyote but you can not dispute how effective MARPAT woodland and desert patterns are in their respective environments. You ALSO can not dispute how well multicam performs in different environments compared to solid color uniforms. SOCOM paid for a pretty bad a** teir one team to develop a more "universal form of MARPAT" so it would still have a high degree of effectiveness in one area with some ability for transition. That unit actually uses concealment on a daily basis and is the best of the best in NSW so I am sure their sniper/recon guys had a clue as to what they were doing. If they don't choose a new pattern that they paid for, they should at least go with the MARPAT or AOR patterns and at the least, the Air Force should be forced to follow along (since they should be apart of the Army anyway).

    1. Body armor and pouches can be made of a combination of coyote and OD Green to prevent that one big solid color that stands out.

    2. Troops need to be allowed to purchase AND USE their own gear if they want to pay for camo pouches and the like. Helmet covers can be reversible with the woodland and desert pattern on each side but soldiers should be allowed to add netting to adapt their camo to the environment.

    3. Soldiers should be trained on properly painting any solid black gear and weapons as to not interfere with function. They should be encouraged to take active camo measures rather than discouraged.

    4. A reversible, elastic and/or waterproof ruck cover should be issued to the troops so a transitional only or solid color ruck (OD or Coyote) can be covered with the best concealment pattern for the area. The British have been doing this for years and it still shocks me that we don't. It would also help in floating your ruck.

    5. Boots should either be OD green, Coyote or in the transitional pattern with Coyote.

  31. Wish the Army was a better stewart of taxpayer money-especially after spending oner 3 million on the last camo design and now saying it's no good.

  32. I think constant changing of uniforms has become more of a fad than a necessity.

  33. This was basically my understanding of how it went down. USMC was tasked with developing a new pattern for all services. MARPAT hit the scene at a development cost of $300k +. Army decided they wanted their own pattern, so USMC said screw you and stuck the EGA in limiting its use. Air Force not wanting to be left out blindly pushed ABUs at a development cost of about $4 mil. The uni is ineffective in 70% of test and too thick. This caused USAF to issue light weights (more money) and MultiCam to deployers (more money) resulting in an absolute bust for ABUs. Meanwhile the Coasties attempted to team up with the Navy for new unis. The Navy felt they were getting left behind and jumped without the USCG resulting in the Navy foregoing huge cost savings associated with the partnership.

    In the end USAF has been advised to follow suite with the Army in whatever decision they make to take advantage of potential cost savings. MultiCam has some advantage in that it is already being issued and inventory has been built up. This means that a lot of the initial cost with implementing a new uni has already been absorbed. The GAO directed the services to have their uniform agreements in place by end of Q3 FY13, so we should start hearing details soon.

  34. Can't we just all switch to the OCP (aka multicam) and be done with it?

  35. i will like to join the army!

  36. Joe-stan – The reason is that it will cost just as much to issue the Army multicam as it would to issue it a more effective pattern. BTW, According to the ’08 Army camo analysis (http://www.scribd.com/doc/19823845/Photosimulation-Camouflage-Detection-Test) multicam beat UCP in 11 of 12 tests (p.15) but desert MARPAT beat multicam in eight of those 12 tests! (and another two if you include woodland MARPAT). The new patterns are supposed to be even better than MARPAT.

    97B50 – Many SOF are wearing AOR 1 & 2 along with certain units even wearing ATACS as well as the old woodland pattern. We only see the pictures of Multicam.

  37. BINGO!!!

  38. bugkill – great question and very much ignored in the whole camouflage fiasco.

  39. Oh, NOW they want to do the right thing! ACU has never been good. The Congressman who's wheels were greased must have moved on. Pricks.

  40. More waste of tax payer money. $4 billion that doesn't need to be spent.

  41. "slaughtered?" That's a "bit" of hyperbole. We lost almost as many in one day as we have in over a decade of war. The rest of your point is valid but you hurt your case with the "slaughtered" bit.

  42. Peter Gonzales | May 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply

    It would make equal sense for black for night, white for artic and some neutreal grey/beige the rest. The military should stop wasting dollars it does not generate and take the money wasted and will continue to waste on some hi tech camies that are nano or LCD based to change with the terrain which the operator is in..

  43. camoreader – Have you heard of paint?

    Solid colors aren't obsolete and have many advantages like COST. Patterns are great and nice to have but the mindset of many is finding a material solution to a training issue.

    Many think "camouflage" is only a noun. It's a verb also and by and large we suck at it.

    There's a lesson there…

  44. Interest Only | May 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply

    I think I need my secret decoder ring for your post :-)

  45. Army Times asked soldiers back in '02. They picked MARPAT.

  46. Where is A-tacs I love that camo pattern

  47. You're right except the Corps was never tasked with producing a camo pattern for all services. I have never seen any reporting that the USAF was advised to follow the Army.

    It will cost the same to continue fielding multiam or a new pattern. The cost for new patterns is already sunk.

  48. cant wait to what it looks like because i leave in 4 weeks for army bootcamp and hopefully by time i retire ill be wearing these new ones.

  49. ive never said that israel is perfect, but to say that "they're ignorant" is one of the most laughable things i have ever seen in my life.

    Israel DOES have camouflage Btw. theyre designed to be worn over the uniforms like Russian KLMK camo suits, which make far more sense in my opinion.

    I cannot really say why Israel fields OD green. Perhaps it is to distinguish them from the plethora of camouflage patterns Arab soldiers wear, or simply because they're inexpensive. Unlike the Iraqi and other Arab armies (and the american army in many instances), they rely on substance rather than appearances.

  50. "Aren’t we suppose to be cutting OUT frivalous spending? "

    No because if you suggest that, you are a dirty commie, pinko liberal muslim socialist that will lose your seat in congress because thousands in your state depend on a government jobs program from their sacred cows.

    Oh and dont forget, without a increase in military spending every year (blown out of proportion as "budget cuts" even though the growth isn't cut), the North Koreans are going to invade and occupy the united states /sarc

  51. hey guys look at the bright side. at least the army doesnt wear that disgraceful joke they call the ABU (tigerstripe in ACU color with dark green boots…W….T….F…)

  52. The ACH helmet cover is covered in dozens of little eyelets that allow the user to insert things like small twigs, and blades of grass if they need to use that kind of camouflaging (and if they are allowed to) they are allowed to paint parts of their weapons, the problem is that when they go to turn them in they can't be painted, and no one wants to have to figure out how to get that paint off without scraping off the weapon's black enameling, too. The current desert tan boots are perfectly acceptable; if for some reason they were not, I would recommend Coyote over OD green, since it blends into more environments.

  53. NOTHING, @ this point can beat MULTI-CAM..not for all-around camo.

  54. Multicam works great. I've used it in Afghanistan and its hard too make out Soldiers beyond 100 meters. Some of the Terps and Afghan Solders were using ACU and they stood out like a sore thumb. You could adjust Multicam with more brown for desert and more green for jungle/woods. The current Multicam is a great in between uniform….and the Army already has some on-hand. This is just the opinion of an Infantryman with three years downrange.

  55. Ditto…

  56. I don't care what pattern they go to as long as they get rid of the Velcro and zippers. That was the worst design on a uniform I have ever seen.

  57. The navy uniform turns a bright orange when it is soaked saltwater…

  58. Yeah..that comment about Israel and "ignorant..", DUMB. When they've had to literally fight 'everyday' since '67 or there-abouts. My guess, because I don't KNOW, is they DO HAVE an Israeli-BORN/natural citizen military requirement to serve their country and with the 'probable' intent of SAVING money, they utilize OD. Can't think of another reason for the draw to OD..

  59. The REASON we have so many different camo choices and the evolving of camo over the years is NO different than the discussions on this forum. Nobody can AGREE and EVERYBODY has an opinion on what's best. The biggest difference/problem is they spend ALL this damn money…to DO IT OVER AGAIN several years later!

  60. I always thought it was so they could camouflage the ship in an air raid… lol

  61. Um John, that is a myth. They don't really turn orange when exposed to salt water… if so, my NJROTC SNSI's uniforms would have to have been replaced at least 5 times by now.

  62. john,

    no F*@#(ing way!?

  63. Mike Burke | May 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    In the Navy we have Three separate colors of Cammies…. If you want to invade the smurf village we've got the Digital Blues, Desert Digital NWU Type II is very good pattern, and the Woodlands NWU Type III is good to Go. Just ask and the Navy will give you the patent. Hell, I wore the Tri-color woodland BDU's up till 1.5 years ago.

  64. Hello Bill Jordan, I hear opportunity knocking…..

  65. SSG Skygod...11B3P | May 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Reply

    Israel is not ignorant about camo…they have the best helmet cover around, it may look tacky or whatever, I know numerous CSM's that wouldn't approve…but it works…I also say bring back the "Manchu Doo"…

  66. SSG Skygod...11B3P | May 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Reply

    Robert…the reason you can go to propper.com is the fact that big Army didn't trademark, patent or restrict development/sale of the pattern…which is exactly what the USMC and the Canadians did do…the only thing you are not legally able to purchase is the glint tape and IR Reflective flags…

  67. SSG Skygod...11B3P | May 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply

    I for one was glad when they got rid of that damned "LEG BERET"…there were way too many out of shape pogues looking like chef boyardee…

  68. Israel also does not deploy so they can get buy with OD accented by netting and other things they use in their battle rattle. When you only have one environment to blend with it gets easier. However the USA has several climates within its own borders and we are a global force.

  69. Has anyone added up the costs of these repeated and mostly unnecessary uniform changes? In a time of limited and declining funding these constant studies and constant changes are ridiculous. Put everyone in OD, and have pre-set brigade size packages for the few situations where a specific camo pattern really is needed, i.e., artic or desert. Issue only for combat deployments or perhaps major training exercises.

  70. Just what we need to be spending money on AGAIN. How many different camo uniforms have we had in the past 10 years? I've lost count. DOD is just keeping a bunch of textile and clothing manufacturers in business. And the money that is spent on "testing" the new patterns??? Give me a F—ing break. Someone in the upper echelons needs his or her ass kicked.

  71. The coveralls would still be another "uniform" to issue. Doesn't the NWU replace two different uniforms (the "gas station attendant" looking thing and the jumpsuit)?

  72. It wasn't that cheap. The Marines spent $319,000 to develop MARPAT. The Army spent $3.2 million to develop UCP and $3.4 million on developing OCP (Multi-cam). The Air Force spent $3.1 million to develop ABUs. The Navy spent $435,000 to develop the NWU type II/III.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/108509040/GAO-Report-on

  73. Either way the Marines plan on using MARPAT for another ten years. There's no real need for the Marines to change anything right now. The Army would be better off getting the Air Force on board to reduce costs.

  74. Where do I start…. The military is talking about cutting troops. how about cutting wasteful spending? It is stupid to that the military changed uniforms three times while I was in from 1999-2001. First it was OD Green. Then it was desert tan for Iraq and two years later we went to the ACU. Rather stupid I think! Then they required the trrops t get berets, that they later got rid of. Now they are talking sequestration to cut costs, but what they fail to realize is that cutting troops won't fix the problem, the need to cut wasteful spending in Washington D.C.

  75. So, the only submission example MIA is Crye. It seems like US4CES has the best blend between the gear and all 3 variants. It also seems to be the best at using a distinct disruptive patterns that still works greater than at close range. Kryptek is good, but I can imaging that some may think that it is too radical of a design. The woodland variant's colors seem to blend in too much to break up. Their temperate is excellent, but maybe not green enough. I do not see any advantage in Brookwood's entries. They still look like watercolors when seeing the arid uniform. The other is extremely similar to the old woodlands. Not that that really matters as long as it works, but I do not see it. I am not sure how they could have beat A-TACS and Pencott. As long as they pick the best based on research this time, all is well. Just get rid of the ghost UCPs.

    As for the Navy's blue NWUs, as stated before, it is in no way used for camo. It was adopted because the Navy and Sailors wanted a military uniform, not a prison or garage uniform. Secondly, the colors were chosen based on traditional blue, and the other colors to mask gray paint spots, dirt, grease, etc. The Canadians, US Marines, Army, and Navy all use the same pattern, but with different colors.

  76. I believe the Army should go to a polo and tactical or khaki pant for normal garrison activities. In fact some commands, including NORTHCOM, already use this type of uniform for meetings and events. The army could provide 4 or 5 polo style shirts with an emblem and area for rank and 2 pairs of khaki stule pants for a fraction of the cost. Then, pick a tactical uniform for the field and mobilization. There is a lot of traction for this idea in the units I work with.

  77. Just another way to spend more money, now the Army is going thru budget cuts and they don't want buy a replacement rifle for the M-4. Now the Army is going to have to buy new body armor, flight suits and every thing else. I wonder who/ what company is pushing this great new idea??? And how much they will benefit too; and how many soldiers are going to have to buy new uniforms.

    It really sounds like a total, total, great awsome plan now with all the budget cuts??? Hoah.

  78. CamoReader | May 9, 2013 at 5:40 am | Reply

    Actually, camouflage patterns can conceal movement to a significant degree.

  79. CamoReader | May 9, 2013 at 6:10 am | Reply

    "You don’t know as much as you think you do about camouflage."

    I know much more than most people in the world on the scientific and designer point of view. In the tradecraft perspective of a military servicemen, I know very little.

  80. CamoReader | May 9, 2013 at 6:26 am | Reply

    The Army screwed up the first time so they have to restart the whole thing again. This time they made the program even bigger in hopes of getting it right this time.

    Once this is over, the Army will have the biggest collection of scientific data on all aspects of camouflage in the world.

  81. CamoReader | May 9, 2013 at 6:30 am | Reply

    Blame the Marines for causing this fashion show and then blame the Army for screwing up by developing a shitty pattern and thus having to start the whole process over again.

  82. Multi-Cam all the way!!! The people (Generals and Fat cats) should realize that to use the Multi-Cam would be cost saving since it is an effective uniform. Otherwise why would we be using it in Afghanistan?… Common sense plays a part… Or are we going to get another 'garrison' uniform and keep issuing out the 'real' uniforms for deployments?

  83. It's like everything else, we can't have one thing for all branches. Never should have spent all the money developing Stryker, when the LAV is in the inventory ( and with as big a gun as a Bradley), How about this time you let field soldiers design them. No velcro, no pen pockets, make it so you can roll the sleeves like we used to and the other branches still do. If you put buttons on the pants put them on the shirts, if you put zippers on the shirts put them on the pants. And for the love of God get rid of the Ghost uniform these things suck said it from the first day I saw it.

  84. Unfounded and unreasoned.

    One simply has to look at UCP and the four new proposals (comprising 12 different camouflage patterns [arid, transitional, temperate) to see that the Army won't make the same mistake.

  85. The company is called Hyperstealth and they worked with ADS to develop one of the four finalists in this contest, the US4CES pattern.

    the predator camo is a ways off.

    US Army needs a new camouflage ASAP and can't wait for sci-fi.

  86. haters got a hate, even if they don't know why. This is the least expensive of any Army program.

    Uniforms will need to be replaced because they wear out. Why keep replacing them with a pattern proven to be unsuitable in nearly every environment?

    If you are going to buy a new uniforms, then those uniforms should be the best possible pattern.

    Apart from the R&D, it is cost neutral.

  87. Anyone who says the IDF doesn't use camo as weak Google Fu.

    They use camouflage mesh oversuits worn OVER their nifty OD fatigues.

  88. A large part of the testing of the patterns was having thousands of soldiers look at the photographs of the patterns in different environments and selecting the patterns which worked best.

  89. SSG Skygod...11B3P | May 9, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply

    CamoReader…I am not "butthurt" as you stated in the defense of yourself…I am just pointing out the obvious…so pull your cranium from your fourthpoint of contact before you suffer oxygen deprivation…or don't…

  90. crackedlenses | May 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply

    "a dirty commie, pinko liberal muslim socialist"

    Actually, the politician you described sounds more like a racist, homophobic, xenophobic gun nut patriarchial fundamentalist Christian 1 percenter who hates kids, women, and old people, who's going to get voted out because Obama said 90% of Americans support background checks…..

  91. that's a relief – i thought they were going to add a touch of pink to it….

  92. Is it just me or does the Army sounds like a 17 year old girl who just can't pick out her prom dress?

  93. Paralus – Recheck your sources. Don't believe "thousands" participated in the study.

    The patterns are not common knowledge. Try and google them. It will take some work and not everyone reads SSD.

  94. >>The service may spend as much as $4 billion over the next five years to replace its uniform and related protective gear, according to a September report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.<<

    4 billion, really….

  95. I am sure that I am not the only one who has figured out that the companies that make military uniforms, have a very strong lobby in Washington and given the fact that a large number of our high rqanking officers have asperationsl of becoming lobbyist and in seeking other high ranking government jobs on their retirement, they respond to every whim of these lobbist's no matter what the cost, more time is spent trying to figure out what camo pattern is best for the areas we have troops fighting in then how to win the war or save money to give them a descent salary for what they are doing. The lowest pay raise in god knows how many years and now we need new uniforms to fight in a country we are leaving by the end of next year??? Of course the Afghani's will need to be well equipped perhaps this is what is driving the train. God help us!!!!

  96. you arent understanding my point

    my point is that comparing one "universal" camouflage to two specific niche patterns (MARPAT desert and woodland) is apples and oranges. The only way for the comparison to be fair if there was a "desert" and "woodland" multicam, which contradicts the intent of multicam to begin with.

    that doesnt change the fact that multicam is the best overall "universal" camouflage and MARPAT the best pattern of camouflage with its combined woodland and desert patterns. the army has to ultimately make a decision whether to compromise on a universal camo that is less effective across a wide range of environments, but offer a single uniform, or two different patterns that are very effective within specific environments.

    i agree. one pattern is not a 100% solution. anytime you see the world "universal", it basically means marginally effective across all terrain.

  97. ignorant is not even remotely correct.

    israel fielded camouflage uniforms before. they still do now with the oversuits. that should tell you something.

    personally, i believe the oversuit is the best solution. of course, that would mean we learned something from the soviets and well…that is "BAD!"

  98. You are right, it is was thousands of pictures by soldiers.

    But being ignorant is no excuse, SSD or not. Anyone can do a google search for "Army Camouflage improvement" and get juicy results.

  99. They will spend BILLIONS trying to come up with a different design, and yet there is not enough funding for the basics like training and maintenance…They will spend BILLIONS on this and they can't hire enough pharmacists at Ft Hood…They will spend BILLIONS on this and yet our soldiers only get a 1% raise…

  100. You obviously didn't look at the study did you? Desert MARPAT (one pattern) did better than Multicam (one pattern) across the 12 different environments tested in the study. In the 4 categories where multicam did better than desert marpat, woodland marpat beat multicam but even ignoring woodland Marpat, Desert Marpat was better than multicam, eight to four (twice as better). Desert MARPAT is the better "universal" camo pattern if you want to go down that road.

  101. Agree ignorance isn't an excuse but the question is what would soldiers pick. Someone said multicam. I'm saying one doesn't know unless soldiers are asked and show like Army Times did back in '02. (they were likely ignorant back then also as MARPAT hadn't been adopted and most didn't know it was existed, though it still got picked)

  102. A no cost solution, really 4-billion, he mst be making millions, big dud!

  103. T. Jefferson | May 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Reply

    OD green for jungle and forest, khaki for desert. Both take advantage of natural shadow while every "camo" pattern I have ever seen sticks out like a sore thumb by putting shadow where it doesn't belong.

  104. "You obviously didn’t look at the study did you? Desert MARPAT (one pattern) did better than Multicam (one pattern) across the 12 different environments tested in the study. "

    Im looking at the median on page 15, which is what ultimately matters when you are forming a conclusion based on what camo a military should adopt. Im not doubting the effectiveness of desert MARPAT, especially in, well, desert environments. It performed better in the desert and urban environments than multicam. Its comparative overall inferior effectiveness in the woods makes it less than ideal as a universal camo.

    "Desert MARPAT is the better “universal” camo pattern if you want to go down that road."

    With page 15, table 8, im not sure how you can draw to this conclusion. especially when you go to page 20, "MultiCam’s performance in the desert and urban environments was not as good as the Desert MARPAT and Desert Brush patterns; however, it was significantly better than both patterns in the woodland environment."

  105. LOL!!!

  106. Well, the army was forced into multicam by congress, perhaps they'll do the same DoD wide when the announcement is made.

  107. How can I say MARPAT is a better “universal” pattern? Because I’m looking at the test results and interpreting for myself vs. cherrypicking quotes that I think support my bias from a study whose focus was UCP. Eight is bigger than four (the number of times Desert MARPAT beat Multicam) ALL day. BTW, your last quote implies a tie, not that multicam is the best.

    Let’s be clear, I was never promoting a universal pattern. I’ve always wanted to give the service member the most effective pattern(s) whatever that may be.

    My point here is that Multicam fans have been saying for awhile that multicam is the best when it clearly isn’t. The study I’ve shared is evidence vs. opinion. The fact is the Army said the heck with testing and selected UCP because it was someone’s fav, just like multicam fans are doing over MARPAT.

    So it’s hypocrisy to ding the Army for emotional unsupported decisions when one is doing the same in championing Multicam.

  108. Yet AGAIN another change of uniform pattern to waste te tax payers dolars to make richer the oligarch owners of this contracted companies which include top service leaders. What about education for the troops ? What about taking real concern on te disabled veterans and lowering the suicide rates in the ranks, what about making the army stronger morally that would really help the future of the army and America's future by making veterans that can go back to the workforce and can contribute to their communities .

  109. Walker Knight, LTC ( | May 12, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply

    The British use to hace a good idea. In the late 1900's the standard field uniform was Olive Drab (OD). In combat a soldier in a combat position was either in the prone position or in a fox hole. Only the upper body would be partically exposed. So instead of developing an entire camouflage uniform, the British developes a large size jacket like camouflage park. Differeny patterns could be used according to the terrain in the combat area. A light weight shell for hot areas and a heavier one for colder zones. Soundes much more economical than redesigneing the camouflage uniform every 10 years.

  110. OMG! Stop with the OD! I know, lets go back to M-1 Garand's, steel pots and no body armor too! Personally the sharpest uniform we had was the 1942 Paratrooper Jumpsuit rigger modified. I'm thankfully retired and could give a rats ass what those Obama cheerleaders pick!

  111. Moondawg,

    In terms of motility and tactical value, the Marine Corps is indispensable. They are a unified, cost-effective, holistic solution for the 'small' wars we have been fighting in the last 30 years. Marines incorporate air, naval, and infantry warfare into a single package with a more streamlined chain of command than inter-service operations can usually manage. This means that you can have a centralized operation with greater effect, simplicity, and communication. The 'small' size of the corps streamlines this as well. Additionally, there would be no advantage to dissolving the corps, and they are already incorporated into the Department of the Navy at an administrative level. While a universally agreed upon camo design (or set of designs) MIGHT be more cost effective, the individual uniforms should be discrete between branches to meet individual needs and foci and to promote ease of inter-service recognition. Finally, with all due respect, I suggest you take some time to read about the principles behind camouflage design: solid colors just ain't the best idea; reversible uniforms are only useful in rapidly changing environments (6 months in a single theater doesn't require too much versatility) and may suffer from impracticability or increased costs; and smock / hat differentiation is just dorky. I appreciate your attempts at a simple solution, but you may wish to understand WHY choices are made before you lambast them.

    Cordially,

    ZD

  112. i understand your point and i agree that universal camo patterns are compromising effectiveness to maintain only one single camo pattern.

    and cherry picking? its not cherry picking, those are conclusions based off of the test results. if anybody is guilty of cherry picking, it is yourself because to concede that desert MARPAT is a "better" universal camo than multicam is ignoring table 8 and ignoring the conclusion paragraphs.

    and i honestly do not care which pattern the army adopts. but comparing two camouflage patterns to a single one is not a fair comparison.

    to me, camo uniforms are a waste of time and the US needs to adopt a pull-over camouflage in the likes of what the Israelis and Russians have developed. Of course, the service will never do that because our military is focused on appearances rather than substance.

  113. FUCK!

    enough with the OD camo calls!

    solid color uniforms were largely abandoned for a reason: disruptive patterns reduced casualties and well, worked far better. jesus christ, this is basic shit learned during the early days of world war II.

    I guess we have two logical choices if we want to save money:

    1.) tell the marine corps to fuck off and issue MARPAT to everybody. If the secretary of defense orders it, what will the marines do about it??? oh thats right. jack shit. they should shut the fuck up and take it.

    2.) ignore MARPAT, give the marines the finger, and adopt the NWU III woodland and desert patterns. Go back to brown t shirts and coyote brown boots.

    but no. the army will continue to waste money and the air force will continue walking around looking like a bunch of fucking idiots in their joke ABUs. This whole goddamn thing is a debacle.

  114. Your conclusion from page 20 states MARPAT did better than Multicam in two out of three categories. Again 2 is greater than 1 ALL day (twice as better in fact :). It's all pretty simple.

    I am not unfairly comparing two patterns against one. I compared Desert MARPAT against Multicam alone AND added the woodland version also. Those are two stand alone comparisons.

    Pullover camo doesn't allow you to get to equipment quickly. It's also an additional piece of kit where we have too much anyway. Our military may be interested in appearance but to say it does so over substance is unsubstantiated opinion. BTW, the Russians commonly issue camo uniforms.

  115. idk. i dont understand your perception then. it was pretty clear to me.

    Im aware of what the russians do. thank you. like the us military, there are certain aspects of them that are up to date and others…not so much…

    unsubstantiated opinion in regards to "looks over substance"??? bullshit major.

    you fucking know better than that. When you have a army that adopted the UCP to begin with; the stryker, the bradley, soft skin humvees during the initial stages of iraq, and the MOLLE system, you know it is about appearances rather than substance.

    the only apologists that exist are the apologists for the big boys.

  116. SSG Skygod...11B3P | May 13, 2013 at 4:01 am | Reply

    Ok..Having read this blog and all the comments, I have 2 questions…1)Do you really think the powers that be will actually read these comments?…2) Then will they give a rat's butt?…just asking…

  117. Could do without the marines? One example for you…Heroshima.

  118. 1.) Have a few sets of reversible uniforms, each side for a different environment.

    2.) Each branch having environmental uniform sets specific to were they will be mostly.

    3.) make something that confuses people, we have all these optical illusions why not make a uniform that works much the same way?

    4.) Definelty not solid color, imagine a group of green smudges running through a field…hmm noticeable much?

  119. Best camo out there A-TACS FG and A-TACS desert, 25 dead yotes can't be wrong! Blends in well with woods, desert, grasslands. Must have both styles no one uniform covers all environments, my 2 cents.

  120. I wonder which Nobama Dumocrat got this deal going…Another waste, like so many others!

    Spiff

  121. People with a lot of these comments don't understand how things work. Buncha retired Master Sergeant Major Ranger Commanders who drive cabs.

    3 patterns is best. It is better than the Marines. Why not do it? Either way we make new shit. We can make it patterned at no additional cost.

  122. Roy Holbert | May 15, 2013 at 6:20 am | Reply

    The ODs I wore in Viet-Nam and still wear hunting still works in any wooded environment.

    Those wearing OD can hide in the shadows. Cammo is designed for a specific type of forest,grassland or desert. Not all cammos will work in all areas, ie; importing woodland cammo to Viet-Nam. Designed for the hardwood forests of the eastern U.S., it didn't work too well in the teak forest of SE Asia. There is NO ones size fits all for BDUs, unless it is

    olive drab. Save our military and our money; go back to what works.

  123. Another uniform change to benefit who?

    Newer, better, faster??

    Who pays? Does the clothing allowance cover this change?

    My thought … net needed, unnecessary, too costly.

  124. During Desert Shield helicopter pilots said the hardest soldiers to see were the Brits. They wore plain kaki uniforms. The US soldiers in the Choclate Chips were by fare the easiest to see. Even the ACU's were better than what we force our soldiers to wear right now. I have faith in our army and they will screw up this uniform too.

  125. At Least CSA Ray Odierno admits the ACU's don't work and is on a path for solutions rather than just going with the flow on "it's not my problem". It's only lives at risk. For the most part, 85% of the Army is made up of support people who don't give a rat's azz about camo, because they really don't have to… so surveys by them is what failed us in the first place…. the REMF's telling the Spartans what to wear. Change the color of Grays to Olive drabs and tans… just change the colors at least, tans, browns, olive drabs… get rid of the Gray… I had to lie to my middle eastern counterparts who I was advising because the first impression we gave them were: "what do you Americans have to teach us? You can't even dress in the right uniform for the desert… You guys are idiots stay away from our fighters, we at least can dress in olive drabs and tans for fighting in the desert, you Infidels are idiots who can't even dress in the right colors for this environment… you have nothing to teach me or my men."

    Not exactly helping our mission overseas as advisers and mentors by dressing us up in clown gray. We can not even give the ACU's away to 3rd world nations… they won't accept it… can you imagine if we ever went to war down in South America? We would be screwed. We actually have had our Soldiers put the ACU's in the mud and dirty them up to "dye" them temporarily brownish to blend in. At least CSA Odierno will at least admit ACU's are a disaster. Look at some pics of some poor soldiers going through the Jungle Warfare school in Hawaii and that is what they will look like under enemy fire in a jungle environment – screwed.

    It only took 6+ years to admit it, I could tell you my first day wearing it. It only was billions with a "B" wasted. If we do not stop it now, it will be billions spent stockpiling it and to keep producing a failure. We have to stop now and at least cut our losses. Keep producing a $100+ uniform that doesn't work? That would be a real dumb azzed way to bury your head in the sand. Go figure some people are willing to do that- I call them sheep. They are already spending your tax money, at least do it right in olives and tan colors. If you don't want to give the royalties to crye, change the ACU dye colors, that doesn't cost anything.

  126. I have a pile of Army gear that was issued from CIF worth thousands of dollars; most of this gear i never even used. If the defense department want to save money on gear they need to stop issuing unnecessary gear to service members.

  127. If we are to believe the DoD and that they are intent on fiscal responsibility, I humbly recommend the following:

    1. The DoD enforce a service agnostic tactical pattern which would reduce cost due to the volume of production. The last 10 years of frequent uniform and equipment changes resulted in corresponding requirements to remain within service standards, a requirement that service members have had to fund frequently out of pocket. The only loser with this course of action would be the vendors who have benefited the most. A common service uniform would be more cost effective, efficient, and save the soldier money at clothing and sales.

    2. The military could go back to basics in how and when the camouflage uniform is worn. It makes no sense to require camouflage in a garrison or office environment unless on a detail or conducting a task that would require it (post clean-up, ammo detail, raking dirt at Forts Bragg or Benning). While many may have to pony up for another dress shirt, this would still save money in the long run on replacing fatigues instead of having “field sets and garrison sets.”

  128. 3. If we must replace the current ACU in the Army, and in my opinion the ACU was a disaster from the start, use something basic, durable, and test it using combat arms branches within IBCTs and ABCTs and other service equivalents in a wide range of environments (wooded, jungle, desert, urban, etc). As for the Navy and Air Force, there is no reason (other than an OER bullet and pork spending) why they required camouflage outside of the SOCOM and security communities. The only purpose to the current Navy camouflage pattern is to make personnel recovery more difficult when a sailor falls overboard. The Navy and Marines have been the best services in embracing its traditions and maintaining traditions. Are you listening Army? A dress uniform change during combat operations in two theaters was unnecessary and a waste of time and money.

  129. There was nothing wrong with the old BDU's. They have worked well for so many years and would still work better than all the digitized crap they've come out with. IMO the old BDUs with foliage green gear, body armor, and desert tan suede boots would work just fine for the rest of the services minus the marine corps.

  130. Patriot scott key! | August 5, 2014 at 2:28 am | Reply

    Usa ! Usa! Stop complanig,. Bunch of old ass bitches.

  131. Probably should have just stuck with the BDU camouflage in the first place!

  132. Maybe someone will get the Army to allow the M4 to be a little less visible too. Not applying camouflage to weapons makes no sense.

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