Senate Passes Bill that Likely Halts Army’s New Camo

Afghan National Army mountain clearanceThe Senate passed Wednesday evening a bill that includes a provision that effectively blocks what was expected to be the Army’s announcement of its newest camouflage pattern to replace the Universal Camouflage Pattern.

Language inside the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2014 restricts any service from introducing a service-specific camouflage pattern and requires the Defense Department to start wearing a join camouflage pattern by 2018. The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama to sign into law.

Before the Senate’s vote, the Army confirmed it was continuing work on adopting a new camouflage pattern. There have been reports that the Army has settled on a new pattern and had plans to announce it earlier this year before lawmakers started questioning service chiefs about the service-specific camouflage patterns and their costs.

William Layer, an Army spokesman, said the service was focused on adopting MultiCam — the pattern worn by troops in Afghanistan.

“This appears to be the most effective uniform and is effective in a variety of scenarios that we’ve reviewed. We expect that we’ll make a decision soon on whether we adopt this uniform for the entire Army,” Layer said in an e-mail to

Earlier this year, the Army concluded an extensive, four-year camouflage improvement effort. Some test community officials maintain that the 2004 adoption of the UCP was a mistake that could have been avoided, saving the Army billions of dollars on uniforms and matching equipment.

Two separate studies performed by Army scientists from Natick Soldier Systems Center, Mass. — one completed in 2009 and the other in 2006 — showed that the UCP performed poorly in multiple environments when compared to other modern camouflage patterns.

In both studies, MultiCam, a pattern popular with Special Operations Forces, outperformed UCP, the pattern the Army adopted nearly 10 years ago.

With the passage of the camouflage provision, it’s unclear how the Army will proceed. Service chiefs are cognizant of Congress’ frustrations with the money spent by the different services for the different camouflage patterns. It’s not unique to the Army. The Air Force and Navy have had their own problems to include the Air Force’s old Tiger Stripe uniform and the Navy’s current blueberry pattern.

Of course, the Marine Corps started the trend in 2002 with the introduction of MARPAT that included the Marine Corps symbol sewn into the uniform. Since then, a certain level of pride has grown with the service-specific camouflage and there are many troops, especially Marines, who want to keep them separate.

41 Comments on "Senate Passes Bill that Likely Halts Army’s New Camo"

  1. UCP, making stone cold killers look like the computer nerd from band class, since 2003. Might as well have issued them jeans and pocket protectors. MARPAT should have been used service wide, and multicam was a great choice as well. But nah, let's just throw some dudes out there in grey pajamas, no one will notice.

  2. People blame the Marines for starting this charade, and maybe they did but, they didn't take it too the budget busting black hole of stupidity that the army "fashionista's" have achieved.

  3. Acquisition Guy | December 19, 2013 at 3:28 am | Reply

    Have you ever seen the Taliban or any Middle East insurgents? I have–and here's what they wear–cheap Chinese made slippers, two dollar rag garments, and a hat. Some carry some cheap, used cell phones. The good ones carry cheap Chinese or Eastern European made $90 AK-47s. $200 bucks for all their gear tops!

    Ever see our guys? I have–and here's their kit–about $20,000 worth of weapons, clothes and footwear, kelvar helmet and goggles, Night-Vision, radios and computers that are networked, and ballistic plates front and back.

    So, why are they fighting us to a draw or better?

    We obsess about gear but the generals needed a strategy to win. More gear won't deliver that result. Leadership will.

  4. The Army *knew* this was coming and instead of pushing forward with their delayed-delayed-delayed decision despite having all the information from the camouflage improvement effort YEARS ago, they held out until just past the deadline, then said "You know what, everyone in NATO and in SOCOM uses Multicam. We developed it, studies show it works, and we're going to stick with UCP because we're incompetent and not to mention retarded in politics".

    Fudge the Army brass is stupid, and care about their political careers instead of troops because after they get out they know they'll become advisors in some company continuing CEO excellence of an old boy system.

  5. Now everyone is wearing camies, military, police and gov agents of course. Almost EVERYONE respects the military and not so much the other groups. The other groups do not need cammo, regular uniform would do, and there presence is usually supposed to be known. Every set of fatigues means a different thing. If they came out with a new police or dhs cammo pattern no one would want to emulate. The only reason this would be good to do is if your making a huge police state in which all dept and braches look the same. It will appear like martial law until the Cammie wearing cops are replaced by another dept wearing the exact same uniforms.

  6. Issue everyone but the Navy Marpat and have done with it. The wet Navy can go back to their dungarees which served as a good shipboard work uniform of many decades and wars. If land bound Navy personnel need cammies, they can wear Marpat like everyone else. That way money is saved, the uniformed services are uniform and those that need it have an effective camouflage uniform. All the surplus cammie uniforms of different patterns and hues, will be a boon to various civilian agencies, and the homeless. .

  7. Maybe all services should adopt the marine camo since it is effective and inservice. Maybe the Army should go retro and adopt the Khakis as the Class B uniform since it is inservice w/ the Navy! The Blues w/ white shirt really looks impractical and stupid like the UCPs!! The Class B Khakis were issued when I came in in 1977 and looked good, had history and were cost effective, blues being so expensive to wear everyday. Get with it Army!! The Generals are not always RIGHT!!

  8. OCP (Multicam) has already been introduced, so is expanding it's issue service-wide really introducing a NEW service specific camouflage?

  9. Conventional Navy's implementation of AOR (into the NWU patterns) is an example of how badly military bureaucrats can handle the most basic decisions. Marines are allowed to whine about brand identity, NSWC tells Big Navy that NWU will have to be rotated 90° from AOR (thus negating most of its effectiveness) or what–they'll stomp their feet and cry? Assault the Pentagon?

    Let the Marines keep their legacy, millennial patterns (funny how they're not so passionately defensive of MARPAT Woodland, a pattern rejected by MARSOC in favor of old school Woodland–on the shaky premise that they want to be visually indistinguishable with the forces they partner with–WC is good but it doesn't make you a foot shorter), put everyone else in the Multicam family. Army, Navy and Air Force get to bury their bad decisions, and we can do what we've always done with Marines–give them their own sparsely populated sectors where they can operate alone without imperiling "differently" attired attached elements.

    Or, as an even GREATER cost-saving measure, talk to the Canadians about a wider implementation of Kramer's "__4CES" (it's no longer US4CES, apparently–CANSOF is implementing it) pattern. The Canadians, after all, have been one of our most reliable and tenacious allies. Then again, most of our other allies (Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, Danes, yada yada yada) have gone to Multicam variants. But again, teh Marines REFUSE to be outvoted, or consider the merits of newer research.

  10. Shows we should have never left woodland and 3 color desert BDUs in the first place shows off more Army Brass stupidity.

  11. Let's see if I get this right: UCP is a acknowledged failure and costs precious lives. The army says it now has a proven replacement that will save lives. Congress wants to punish the Army (and perhaps all the services) and says no – stick with the acknowledged failure. No one at the top has the guts to bring this to a logical and positive conclusion. And all this from the greatest nation and military force on Earth. It's still morning, but I need a drink.
    SOLUTION: (after having a drink) Since we must copy other nations uniforms e.g. the beret, let's do as Straps suggest and copy the Canadians, after all they started the whole thing.

  12. Bottom line…..what ever the budget ends up to be and the Big Bang for the buck to accommodate all the services.

  13. Wow…THIS has really stirred up a SHEET-Storm. From the Article:
    "Language inside the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2014 restricts any service from introducing a service-specific camouflage pattern and requires the Defense Department to start wearing a joint camouflage pattern by 2018. "
    So…who here does NOT believe that this will start all the in-fighting over again?

  14. Once more, looks like all options are back on the table. Here we go again!

  15. I’m speechless . Millions , if not billions of dollars wasted all for a “our uniform is better than you’re uniform” cat fight . On top of all the brass being nothing but political brown nosers , the administration and congress have just about destroyed our nations military. Thank god I got out when I did .

  16. Is camouflage really effective anymore? Armies don't fight the way they did circa World War II, Korea or even Vietnam. Did the enemy utilize such uniforms in Iraq or Afghanistan?

  17. First of all the Army should of never went away from BDU's and DCU's. The ACU pattern was a mistake from the get go. They served us well and are still being used in other countries. Come on, ash grey color? Once again the military higher ups taking orders from politicians who should but out. Maybe we, the Army, should take a lesson from the Marines for once.
    The Muliti-Cam is great, we love it, but the Army will find a way to screw this up also. Waste on waste and we no lose our pay and benefits to cover the cost of this foul up.
    Where did are leaders go ? Where they even there?

  18. Service-specific field uniforms are "feel good necessities" & represent a tremendous waste of resources which could be used elsewhere. What are our decision makers' priorities? Where is leadership? (Foolish questions.)

  19. Apparently many aren't aware, or have conveniently forgotten, that right from the beginning of the development of MARPAT, the Army flat out told the Marine Corps that black wasn't a color found in nature, and went their own way to develop their own, failed, digital cammo….sans any black coloration. As usual, the Army attitude was that the Army always knows better than the Marine Corps. Wrong! That was billions of wasted Army dollars, and perhaps wasted lives ago. Now….the Corps is taking flak for staying their course. Never mind the smoke and mirrors, and the tap dancing……lay the blame where it is deserved. Right at the feet of the stubborn Army leadership and their "superior than thou" attitude that they've always had toward the Marine Corps. I don't believe I even need to comment on….blue cammo clad sailors. Semper Fi

  20. The army has a long history of screwup uniform procurement. With the change over to BDU's thearmy in its wisdom decided to make a desert camo soon to be called chocolate chips that was designed to fight a war in the deserts of the southern Soviet Union. The result was we stuck out like sore thumbs in Saudi and Kuwait while the Brits in Kaki's were almost invisible. They fielded Lightwieght BDU's which when washed the first time came out of the dryer looking like you'd been shot with birdshot. If you snagged it on anything the uniform would rip to a point of unrepairability. The idiots actually used female 71L's setting in airconditioned offices at the Infantry Hall (BLD 4?) to test the uniforms!

    Everything else they got after that was worthless. The guys incharge of these programs are morons that waste billions every year.

  21. First of all the MC patented MARPAT so no other service COULD use it. Second they added the EGA in the pattern to insure no other service would want it any way. Now all thse MC lovers say that everyone else should just wear MARPAT Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

    There was nothjing wrong with BDU's I wore both the first version starting in 85 and later the LW version when it came out and it was not as "fragile" as the above poster says. Maybe "choclate chips" were a mistake but there was nothing wrong with the tri color version that everyone wore in both Afghanistan and Iraq for years.

    I never really understood the idea behind "Aquaflage" there was nothing wrong with the circa 90's version of utilities which were far more durable/functional and for that matter better looking than "dungarees" or everyone wearing "nametaped" blue coveralls.

  22. How does the MC patent a design? What are they going to do sue?

  23. I just got censored on here for wishing ya'll Merry you know what. We have truly reached the very situation I thought I served 8 years against!

  24. The Navy got the 'blue berry', the bluish NWU to save money. When a sailor falls overboard, the ship's captain knows he'll never find him, so they steam on, not wasting valuable fuel circling, looking for the sailor. (Smile).

  25. Even though I am retired Navy, I really like the MARPATs. We should all go to that uniform. God forbid, though, we ever fight a jungle war again; then back to the woodland. In Vietnam, we all wore the same uniform, GREEN…so why do we all have to have a different working uniform?

  26. Soldier Systems Daily has a very detailed account as to why this article is incorrect.

    The cliff-notes version is that the legislation has so many loopholes as to make it an empty gesture. I tend to give SSD deference with regards to this issue as he has been on the forefront of reporting on the camouflage improvement effort.

    He maintains the Army is going forward with transitioning to Multicam for the entire force. The political climate has caused Army leaders to avoid making a big announcement. They will quietly produce a policy change within the next year authorizing OCP for garrison wear.

    Quite honestly the top brass is deluding themselves if they think it won’t become news if they don’t do a press release. I never doubt the ability of the top brass to delude themselves however. Either way I’m eagerly awaiting the change.

  27. I say again. This whole issue is a red herring. A complete waste of time. And utterly bogus for Congress to be getting involved at such a granular level. The amount of money saved on this doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

    Wanna save some real money? Adopt a UNI-form for the entire military. All branches. Identify the individual services by shoulder tabs on both service and field uniforms… Hmmm. Guess the money saving idea doesn't sound so good now, does it?

    Now. Can we talk about something, you know, IMPORTANT?

  28. no need to have a cool pattern, uniforms change every few years, and they are expensive. It ain't fair to the troops to have to purchase the new cool uniform every enlistment. We have effective camo, that should be the goal. Decent boots, and lightweight stuff, cool don't win wars or save lives, effective does. How about spending the money on a .30 cal rifle that kills people and has penetration on targets. Enough with the politics, we've seen the disaster with the 9mm pistol.

    Seems the goal is to borrow and spend money, exactly what the financiers want.

  29. What, ANOTHER New camo pattern? Really? I thought these guys had it figured out the LAST TWO TIMES.
    And while I'm at it, WHY oh WHY does the Navy NEED a camo pattern at all, to say nothing of a DARK BLUE one?
    To make you harder to find if you fall overboard?

  30. Camouflage is unnecessary in most cases. Going back to the old sateen uniform would work just as well in most scenarios. The Army UCP looks like pajamas and allows the fat slob officers at the Pentagon to hide their beer bellies. The Navy in blue camouflage looks just plain stupid. What? We're afraid of snipers shooting them off the decks of ships so they need to be blue and blend in with the grey of the ship? The Marine summer MARPAT looks just as ridiculous as the Army's UCP. The Air Force wearing camouflage is as ridiculous as the Navy. Most of the Air Force never even gets in-country let alone in a ground combat situation. Give me a break!! Go back to the old green sateens for everyone but the Navy, who should stick with dungarees, and keep the old jungle or woodland stocks in war reserve in there's ever a need for them. Walk around the corridors of the Pentagon any day and just see how stupid our uniforms have become. I

  31. Speaking of the Army wasting money… I would like to further point out that Structured Self Development, a promotion required software program, is a botched abortion attempt to teach young soldiers basic Army lessons. The Army is mired in waste and they just can’t get the Generals to pull their heads out of their ass and start making changes.

  32. Funny, I managed to survive 2 tours in Vietnam as a combat engineer – '66-'67 and '69- '70 – with no camo at all. And people were regularly making an effort to harm me with rockets, mortars and booby traps (that's ied's for you kids). At first I wore regular fatigues (… pretty close, but with subdued Army patch, name tag and rank). As these wore out we were issued jungle fatigues, same color, but with more pockets (… ). I liked the blouse but not pants so I kept trading for more fatigue pants as needed. IMHO, the camo fetish of the services began with SF wearing tiger stripes and the regulars feeling left out. The idea that the Navy or AF needs camo – apologies to SEALS, SeaBees, AF FAC's, and other people who actually can see their enemies – is ridiculous. As for saving money using a one-type-fits-all camo, that's likely BS. The services order such huge quantities of uniforms, making each order unique should be no problem. How many types of clothing does Walmart carry without a problem?

  33. MARPAT was/is copyrighted by the USMC so that is why other services cannot just use it and MC Commandant would not release it for use by other services in the early years of its use. That was when the army and air force went out on their own. And it was in Army Times last week that the DOD is paying a user fee to the Canadian company that owns the rights to Multi-Cam patterned uniforms and equipment for every set of uniforms and other OCIE issued in that pattern. That is outrageous and expensive. Been paying that fee all along and it just now came out. Shame on them for charging the US govt and shame on our govt for paying it. No reason everyone cannot wear the same uniform while BOG!!!

  34. Finanlly some intelligents on Capitol Hill. I’m sorry pride it not enough to avoid fratricide, I saw this comin years ago, it’s about time.

  35. Jesus Christ is Lord!

  36. Perry the Platypus | December 26, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply

    Ironically most of the focus turns to the effectiveness of uniforms, tactics, RoE, etc… reality is that it's all about the money and politics. The billions of dollars that go to equip our modern soldiers are going to the pockets of the large corporations which design and produce it all. In turn they are making sure the politicians who support them are back in office. They are also making sure we still have a war to fight.

    Tactically, we are still in Afghanistan because our leaders need an excuse for us to be in the Middle East to give us a base to watch over our interests… I digress, none of it matters, because we are a part of a system which has placated the masses into a false sense of security and selfish ambitions.

  37. First of all I believe that there is really no universal camoflage. The closes thing that comes to it is multi-cam. Second, having two or three different camoflages for various environment doesn't work either. Simply because of your gear that you wear won't blend perfectly with one of the two uniforms. Also light desert camo would not work well at night. It would highlight you. Lastly, camoflage is really obeselete these days because of Infared capabilities. Not to say all of our enemies have IR capabilities, but let's face it you can buy it on the civilian market. Maybe we should find a way to make IR camoflage because that would be what is needed on the battle feilds of the future. Olive drab, tans, darker greens and a tad of black should be in the new camo pattern.

  38. Sometimes I do wonder what the Army is thinking. I was in for 22 years (enlisted & officer), so many changes it got a bit silly. When we got the BDU's the tag said DO NOT STARCH. Guess what? We were told to starch them. Fast forward to the 1st Gulf War, we went over with black brass, (as an 03), some 06 didn't get saluted, so we had to go to the rank brass that shined in the sun, guess what, when we hit the desert that brass went into the pocket. Think all branches should use the same one.

  39. Merry Christmas to all!

  40. I have full faith and confidence the politicians involved will choose the worst option, completely free from lobbying.

  41. So… the value of a "UNIFORM" uniform for the uniformed services was beyond the grasp of our military leaders?

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