Army Unveils Design Changes to Combat Uniform



The U.S. Army rolled out its plan today to outfit every soldier with Army Combat Uniforms in the new Operational Camouflage Pattern. We ran a story on the effort today on

The new pattern — which replaces the Universal Camouflage Pattern — is very similar to Operation enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or MultiCam, soldiers have worn in Afghanistan.

But in addition to a new camouflage, the ACU will feature several design changes based on soldier feedback, according to Col. Bob Mortlock, the head of Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment.


The new collar features a fold-down design. The Army eliminated the hook and loop closure and the mandarin collar flap extension.

The new collar features a fold-down design. The Army eliminated the hook and loop closure and the mandarin collar flap extension.


The upper shoulder pockets no longer have a flap with hook and loop closure. Instead there is a side zipper closure and large field for mounting patches.

The upper shoulder pockets no longer have a flap with hook and loop closure. Instead there is a side zipper closure and large field for mounting patches.



The new pen pocket now has two pen slots instead of three.

The new pen pocket now has two pen slots instead of three.



The Army removed the draw cord and barrel lock on the cargo pockets.

The Army removed the draw cord and barrel lock on the cargo pockets.



The flap on the lower leg pocket no longer has a hook and loop closure. Instead there is a single button closure.

The flap on the lower leg pocket no longer has a hook and loop closure. Instead there is a single button closure.


Uniform officials have also removed the drawstring on the trousers. The ACU will no longer feature internal elbow and knee pads. Uniform officials have sewn up the elbow and knee pad pockets but left the extra layer of material for double reinforcement.

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Matthew Cox
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  • Colonel G

    It only took over a decade and a few hundred million dollars, but the army finally seems to gotten it right. Well, it is a start……

    • pete G 48th AHC 71

      i miss the OD green, field jacket and nomex two piece
      flight suits!!

  • Lance

    ALot better than crappy Grey UCP!!

    • Greg

      Lol, so true! BTW, why are people giving yout down votes? I thought everyone hated UCP? People need to clean their ears!

  • Karma

    So, its more like the Air Force ABU’s….. shit


    Why not just sew the rank back on the collar? They could actually bring back branch patches.

  • Guest

    Why all this concern about patches. Sew a name tape and US Army tape. Rank can be the old black small pin on. For a field uniform unit patches are unnecessary. Everyone knows what unit they belong to. Save the unit patches for the Class A uniform. Just get rid of the velcro, it is nasty stuff and attracts stuff.

    • Jack

      It is useful to know the unit of the person with whom one is dealing or discussing an issue. In the field, a glance at the unit patch can orient the conversation in the right direction tremendously. Or for that matter wherever the conversation occurs. A person who makes the statement that you made is not someone who has had to deal with a number of people from different in different units in a rapidly changing environment.

  • Guest

    I worry about the use of buttons for pockets. Do modern soldiers know how to sew a button back on?

    • Russ_JD

      modern soldiers…. CAN DO ANYTHING !

    • Greg

      Anyone born before 1994 know, or have leared to sew something. The ones after that, they much rather have things done the lazy way.

    • Guest

      Got a brand new set with a shattered button on the cuff, replaced it myself in five minutes.

  • Stefan S.

    Can we DX the US flag patch while stateside? “No shit Sherlock” we have the US Army nametape the flag is useless. Like we’d be mistaken in Fayetnam for being Canadian invaders.

    • Flippy

      That’s always puzzled me about your forces, the National Flag I can understand but why service name tapes? Saying that I think the Royal Navy do the same, I know both the RAF And RAF Regt do.

  • 5 branches

    I liked the normal acu pattern of the army uniform but I do like multicam

    • Greg

      If you mean “UCP”, than hell no! It sucked, and you know it.

      • 5 branches

        No it didn’t I do like the multicam and I like it better than the “ucp” or what ever you called it

        • Greg

          The ACU design (specifically the 1st Gen) had flaws. But this is a much better step. Not perfect, but better.


    Same old shit at the expense of our boys serving our nation.!!!!!!!!

    • the thinker

      What about the women that serve?

  • aka_Mick

    They need to change to the subdued flag as well.

    • Greg

      Are you ashamed in showing old glories true colors?

      • aka_Mick

        Since I still wear the uniform the answer is no. Why spend more tax dollars to have multiple flags for combat and garrison?

        • Greg

          Just two simple versions.

          Camo subdued

          Full color

          Why the need for an IR subdued flag is beyond me. When you already dawn IR tabs on the shoulders, and other IR devices.

          • SAM

            There are many thing that POGs do not understand . IR patches should only be allowed for operational troops, not desk jockeys.

  • denny crane

    do pens actually stay in those pockets?

    • Jose Cornejo


    • SAM

      The only problem that I ever had with the pen pockets are when the lowest bidder stitched them over the forearm, as opposed to the outside of the arm. Otherwise they are a good use of space.

    • user

      Yes, and if you get one stitched bad then sharpies will too. As a medic, this was important.

  • jhamlet74

    The whole issue is so silly. This is an AMAZING throwback in style and pattern to the woodland pattern BDU’s that were replaced in 2006-07 by the current pattern. Gee, why didn’t we think of it before – buttons on pockets? Really? Oh, yeah, that’s right – we DID have them on the BDUs. Collars? Yep, had them, too. Well, a lot of money spent for nothing. And there is definitely nothing new under the sun. It all comes back around at some point…..

    • Rod

      Follow the Money..Someone has gotten Rich over the years on this (On Our Tax-Money) : (

  • JohnD

    Look, BDUs with pixel pattern! Worth every bit of 100 million dollars and 10 years of expensive studies and reams of decision papers! All for a new camo pattern that we could have had 10 years ago! Gotta love those generals, they could screw up a good dream!

    • Josh

      Umm, wear are you seeing a pixelated pattern? I have heard Multicam or Scorpion W2 or whatever you want to call this pattern alot of things but pixelated is not one of them. A pixel pattern example would be the UCP, MARPAT, AOR 1, AOR 2, and the Navy water camo stuff.

  • scdan2002

    My old faded summer BDUs look almost exactly like those.

    I wonder if I can save some money here.

  • Greg

    Ditch ALL the g** damned velcro!

    Pens can go in the breast pockets.

    Fix those last two things, and were cool.

    • SAM

      The reason for taking the pen pockets off of the chest is that they can not be reached under multiple layers or body armor. They also do not belong on the chest when you are working, pens can bind on straps and the various gear that the actual warfighter uses. Chest pocket pans are fine for support personnel and POGs, but in the field the sleeves are a much better option. A pouch for pens, pencils, compas, protractor and map would work better, as in the sleeve pockets on the combat shirts, which are very functional, but that would be asking too much of the desk jockeys who decide what is best for the actual warfighter.

      • Greg

        When not wearing the armor, the pen pockets are just another silly extra staple. When not dawning the vest, and out on leave, the breast pockets can serve the exact same function. With all the improvments to vest loadouts, you can stick your pen into one of the pouches, or in some unused crevest anywhere.

        • SAM

          POGs usually do not understand this issue because they never experience the problems that made moving the pens a good idea. Pens never get crushed or bind straps, slings or lanyards at a desk now do they.

  • Jackie Allen

    .I’ve been out of the military for almost 15 yrs. and in that time frame.I bet there has been at least three.different uniforms. what are they have Fashion show? But they want to cut the retirement programs? What a waste of tax’ payer money.

  • nestor Irizarry

    3 suggestions

    1. Put rank back on collar
    2. Do away w pen pockets on sleeve and allow to roll sleeves back up
    3. Officers wear non subdued rank in garrison.

    • Col John Lesko ret

      Right on!!!! Who the hell can see your rank with the present crap they wear and also put back the branch insignia

  • SAM

    I am looking forward to a uniform with less velcro closures. I am not a fan of the mandarin collar either, so glad to see that feature going away.

    I just hope that the lowest bidder who is making this round of uniforms knows where the back of the forearm is. pens on the inside of the forearm get in the way and hook every strap, lanyard or sling that a warfighter must use. I hope this material is strong enough to be able to lift a casualty by the pockets. Our current pajama bottoms were not designed to do this if a casualty weighs over 140 lbs.

  • John Doe

    ‘sigh’ Funda gap oldtimers, Please go away. The Army has moved on from pointless things on the uniform. Leave the rank as it, do not place it back on the collar as the collar is design to be folded up to protect the neck while wearingbody armor it is not designed a camoflaged ‘dress unifrom’ like the BDU’s were. Velcro is not going away and is only realy on the sleeves as they’ve removed it from the rest of the uniform. Next thing we’ll see is all Funda gap old timers crying about how they miss the pointless black boots and polishing BS. The rest of us are concerned about combat and a unifrom that functions well in combat and not a parade ground pretty waste of time of the 80s/90s BDU’s.

    • Me in Missouri

      If you’re going to be insulting, at least get it right. It’s FULDA not Funda young pup.

    • Guest

      The black boots seemed to work pretty and they could be shined so that on occasion, like a parade or inspection, what was on peoples feet looked profession. In garrison there is no reason soldiers should always look like rag pickers, urban nomads, and the homeless.

    • Old MP

      Good points Doe, just remember that us old timers come from an era where we had to be able to spell to get in the Army at all…….

    • Greg

      BDU design (in some circiles) was far better, functional and comfortable! Not that i’m championing for the entire design. The pockets being removed from the waist was a good move. Obviously you lost on the collar issue, since most didn’t fold the collar up to begin with. Velcro all over the place, including for patches is just plain lazy. You don’t even have to sew them in, if it really somehow kills you to figure out how to sew. You can buy patches to iron on! Do it once, and there on. What do you think happens after that shit goes through several dozen washes and spin dry cycles? It wears the hell out! If you might care to remember, velcro was only sought for use by SF. Not regulars. I’m not championing for spit shined boots, but a black suede would be appropriate in concert with the decent woodland pattern they have. This is both about a functionally good, and decent looking Combat uniform. Not the unkept rags that was seen with the first gen ACUs, and the god awful abomination UCP! Lastly, its “Fulda”.

  • Yo momma

    I thought I had heard somewhere they were going to come out with light and dark variations for desert and jungle environments as well. Can anyone confirm that?

    • Gordon

      Crye Precision (the company that owns the MultiCam pattern) has added Tropic, Arid, Snow and Black MultiCam patterns.

      Unsure if the Army will adopt Tropic, Arid or Snow for various AORs.

      • Greg

        The Army can just tweak this one into different colors.


    Is important you guys get it right since you do wear your combat uniform everywhere/anywhere (grocery store, airport, honeymoons….doesn’t matter…you guys are in your cami’s

  • IAC

    #1- I still say the Army was penny wise and Pound foolish in choosing Scorpion 2 over Multicam!
    #2z I’m LMEFFAO that the Army adopted the Mandarin Collar on the ACUs because it was supposed to be more protective; but has gone back to the old style collar that the Marine Corps NEVER LEFT !

    • Josh

      I agree that the Mandarin Collar was about the dumbest thing I have ever seen and never saw it used. As for the Army adopting Scorpion W2 over Multicam I disagree. Crye Precision developed Scorpion W2 for the Army and the Army holds the pattern on the design which means the Army will not be paying Crye Precision Around $10 a uniform to use Multicam if I recall correctly. Plus Scorpion and Multicam are virtually identical patterns to begin with.

      • Gordon

        Scorpion W2 uses the same colors as MultiCam. The only difference is that Scorpion W2 lacks the vertical “twigs” that MultiCam has.

      • CAC

        Come on now, the mandarin collar was used all the time….by the movies and television shows that were too ignorant to research how the uniform was supposed to be worn without body armor….

  • IAC

    And BTW,this new pattern that is designed to work well across multiple operating environments ?
    The Army still has to adopt two Marine Corps type patterns for jungle and desert !

    • Greg

      This pattern will work well in the “Transitional” environs, A-stan land (between desert and woodland), but not too well in woodland, or perfect in deserts. There is no such thing as a “universal” camo, except for camo that can somehow bend light when you press a switch. The army proved that with UCP.

  • Vitsing

    The Army’s obsession with Velcro and Patches has compromised the basic concept of Camouflage in the “Operational Camouflage Pattern”.
    I thought we had learned this lesson in Vietnam when the White Name Tape, Black and Gold US Army Tape, Unit Colored Patches and Shiny Rank; were replaced with subdued (OD/Black) equivalents that matched the uniform.

    • Greg

      Sometimes, lessons can be lost from time to time.

      • jeff

        Modern warfare has changed. We’re not worried about dulling our shiny surfaces because we’re too busy shooting terrorists in the face.

  • ding

    and in three years when it will be mando across the services, because let’s face it army is the biggest so we’ll have to get their stuff even though marpat works outstanding as it is. Marines will be going back to the days of starch, and tailoring because peacetime doesn’t give us enough to do

  • 0812USMC

    Geez! Again?…Who the fu#& is in charge of the Army’s “wardrobe”? Paris Hilton…..Yes I said wardrobe.
    There’s Wrong….and then there’s Army Wrong. Semper Fi!

  • buck

    Another contract to the friends of some General officer….

  • Scouts Out!

    It should be the BDDCU or BDDCCU either Battle Dress Desert Combat Uniform or Battle Dress Desert Camouflage Uniform. because really for all of us old school veterans it looks like a cross between the BDU’s and the DCU’s. and maybe lets try going back to collar rank. this way when you get pinned you really get pinned. I’m ok with the unit being Velcro but your flag and branch and name should be sewed on unless you are SF or Ranger. the only reason I’m good with the unit being Velcro is because on deployment you can get moved around and when you are stateside again, well most of us pcs and therefore we have to replace our unit patch with something different. and for the love of Aries get rid of that OEF because some of us were OIF and few of us remember Desert Storm.

  • Glockster20

    What I would like to see is a flap to cover the pens on the sleeves. Aviators heave them on their unifomrs. This way you do not catch them on things.

  • Stephen H. Franke

    How about our Army taking a simpler route and just adopt the USMC’s three variant (per climate zone) versions of MARPAT field uniform, substitute a “U.S. Army” logo instead of the USMC logo ink-stamped on the left front jacket pocket, and drive on…?

    FWIW, several of CENTCOM’s Arab counterpart military forces in the GCC region have basically gone that route by adopting apparent clones of the USMC’s Desert MARPAT BDU.

    Hope this adds to this thread. Today is Wednesday, 3 June 2015.


    Stephen H. Franke
    LTC, FAO (Middle East/”Gulfie), MI, SOF
    US Army Retired
    San Pedro, California

  • holulu

    great idea

  • Christian Robles

    I’m I the only one who sees the upper shoulder pocket in a odd position leaned back? The flag is going to be leaned backed instead of perfectly aligned or leaned forward

    • Wickedsensation

      The pockets are wrong. I have to believe it’s a production mistake. I have a set and it looks horrible.

  • JohnD

    Wow, some lab coated,genius remembered BDUs and the problems with velcro. I love how,the military wastes money on reinventing the wheel! Got rid of greens for the blue monstrosity to,save money. Now soldiers are using 10 white shirts a week so the cleaning bills are up! Why not bring back the khakis as class B uniform? In the system, the navy uses them. It was a functional, practical and traditional uniform so there is history! Also,there is practical aspect for non combat uniform wearing troops.