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October 14, 2013: The Army’s $5 Billion New Uniform Already Being Replaced
The Daily Beast ^ | October 14, 2013 | Caitlin Dickson

Posted on 02/15/2014 7:48:03 PM PST by Red6

In 2004, the Army decided to scrap the two traditional camouflage uniforms that had long been used by the military—one meant for woodland environments, another for the desert—and claimed to have come up with a universal pattern that could be worn anywhere and blend in with any environment. The $5 billion dollar experiment with the universal pattern is over as the Army is phasing out the uniform after less than a decade of use. But many soldiers and observers are wondering why it took this long and cost this much to replace an item that performed poorly from the start during a period when the money could have been spent on other critical needs, like potentially life saving improvements to military vehicles and body armor.

(Excerpt) Read more at thedailybeast.com ...


TOPICS: Military/Veterans; Miscellaneous; Outdoors
KEYWORDS: acu; army; camouflage
The uniform itself is awesome and functional, i.e. the design, materials, workmanship, etc. It is a uniform that was designed to last, work with body armor, be comfortable for someone crawling, running, climbing, etc. It's not a uniform for a garrison military that wants pressed creases and no baggy pants, but for a combat uniform, this is an excellent design.

However, the camouflage absolutely sucks. It defies the most basic concepts in camouflage! This is basic stuff:

1. Match colors to surrounding 2. Break human body pattern (people see patterns) 3. Reduce light reflections 4. Match pattern size to patterns in environment 5. Match pattern shape to shape of patterns in environment

It's that simple-

The ACUs universal camouflage pattern fails because what they really tried to do was to create a "jack of all trades" which we know ends with "master of none." So bad is this camouflage, that just a light brown (no pattern at all - coyote) would work better in Iraq and most of Afghanistan. This universal camouflage is essentially ineffective everywhere, and multicam is only marginally better, but because it has a cool factor it will live on. There is no such thing as a "universal camouflage," unless you're a Chameleon. You can likely group certain types of terrain/vegetation together and have two (like the Marines) but for sure three basic patterns with colors that cover near all of the world where we would likely fight, but the idea of a single camouflage is unrealistic even if we use computers and elaborate processes to come up with some gee-wiz solution that on paper tells us it's a mathematical average of colors, patterns etc. If we want to equip every soldier with uniforms that work, we need to issue them at least two but likely 3 different cammo sets.

The other alternative is to issue one camouflage pattern and simply use the one that is in demand, as in the Cold War where we issues woodland as a standard to all. The old 3 color BDU was for desert actually a superb camouflage and the old woodland was great in northern Western Europe or Korea. It also worked very well in jungles may that be Asia, Africa or Central/South America. They should have thrown the old 3 color desert on the new uniform, and they would have had something very nice for Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else we find ourselves in the Middle East/North Africa/Persia/or some Stan in the future.

These areas are the center of mass for our foreseeable future regards security, as it is for Europe, and we are only fooling the public temporarily in believing we are disengaging from that region. We can't: oil, radical Islam that is exported and governments there breed, long range missiles, nukes, US persons in these countries, vast emerging markets, arms trade, piracy, major canals connecting the world, allied nations like Israel that get attacked... If it's not Egypt, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan (in the future they will be in trouble too - rising militant Islam, old tiring dictator)... it will be someone else in that region. This is where we will be for a long time, just accept it. The 3 pattern desert was a great pattern. Those troops heading to Africa, Asia, etc will likely be part of smaller contingencies and could be equipped on an as needed basis, as we did with desert and arctic camouflage in the Cold War.

I suppose the new uniform needed a new cool camouflage, so sticking with what worked very well wasn't an option.

1 posted on 02/15/2014 7:48:03 PM PST by Red6
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To: Red6
Obama wants the new uniforms to be pink.

If you military guys and gals don't agree...he'll issue an executive order...or something like that.

Pink!

2 posted on 02/15/2014 7:50:11 PM PST by RoosterRedux (The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing -- Socrates)
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To: RoosterRedux

With velcro buttflaps?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_VOTD7u5JnOY/TROQHaRZq2I/AAAAAAAAAMY/g_ROO0Nz7CE/s1600/buutt.jpg


3 posted on 02/15/2014 7:54:09 PM PST by Red6
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To: Red6
follow the $$$$$!!!!!
4 posted on 02/15/2014 7:54:37 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Chode

The new uniforms will be Made In CHINA....and designed In Belarus..by a subsidiary of CGI....who brought us the Obamacare wesbite.


5 posted on 02/15/2014 7:57:42 PM PST by MeshugeMikey ("When you meet the unbelievers, strike at their necks..." -- Qur'an 47:4)
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To: Red6

I don’t know why everyone criticizes the universal camouflage pattern; it’s just as good as universal health care under ObamaCare.


6 posted on 02/15/2014 8:04:30 PM PST by Pollster1 ("Shall not be infringed" is unambiguous.)
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To: Red6
Here's two words for you:

Invisibility Cloaks.

7 posted on 02/15/2014 8:08:43 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: MeshugeMikey

So they are stealing and hiding money.

Sounds like a scenario I read about the Civil War where a guy got a govt contract to supply shoes to the troops.

To make a bigger profit they manufactured the shoes so they would fit on either foot.

No left and right...just straight shoes.

Thieves are not Patriots.


8 posted on 02/15/2014 8:20:21 PM PST by JouleZ (You are the company you keep.)
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To: Red6

Meanwhile, Taliban do just fine without a uniform.


9 posted on 02/15/2014 8:24:53 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Red6

I would just use whatever American Veterans are wearing because the people at the Veterans Administration can never see them.


10 posted on 02/15/2014 8:25:23 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Red6

This is Obama’s America. The new uniforms will have a target on them that also glows at night.


11 posted on 02/15/2014 8:25:57 PM PST by Starstruck (If my reply offends, you probably don't understand sarcasm or criticism...or do.)
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To: Red6

12 posted on 02/15/2014 8:27:40 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Red6
once upon a time, operators had to make their own from simple green utilities and black spray paint...

13 posted on 02/15/2014 8:27:47 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Red6

The ACU is nice, but they’ve gotta lose the hook-and-loop, lose the drawstring, and the seat gusset could be better. I like the new pocket locations though, especially on the “combat shirts”, which I wish we’d had in the Gulf War.

On a semi-related note, I’d appreciate any empirical info from anyone on the thread on all the new “tactical” boots. They all seem to have glued soles, instead of vulcanized or welt soles. My experience is that those don’t last long under hard use, so I have steered clear of them, but it’s getting tough to find the old-style boots, and most don’t match up well with the new uniform.


14 posted on 02/15/2014 8:35:33 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yeah, I remember when Presidents would talk to the men of the military without all the front rows taken up by stern looking women.


15 posted on 02/15/2014 8:40:50 PM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Last Dakotan

I imagine that is an infantry unit. There were no women in the combat arms at that time.


16 posted on 02/15/2014 8:45:11 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2M for Sarah Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Pollster1
I don’t know why everyone criticizes the universal camouflage pattern; it’s just as good as universal health care under ObamaCare.

"If you have your ACUs, you can keep your ACUs..."

17 posted on 02/15/2014 8:47:47 PM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: MeshugeMikey
prolly not to far off the mark...
18 posted on 02/15/2014 8:48:45 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Kirkwood

Yes, they all wear running shoes.


19 posted on 02/15/2014 8:55:13 PM PST by SFC Chromey (We are at war with Islamofascists and their useful idiots, now ACT LIKE IT!)
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To: Red6

5 billion for a million soldiers. That’s about 5000 bucks a soldier. Wasteful BS.


20 posted on 02/15/2014 9:04:39 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Chode

Only back then nobody used the silly term “operator”. An operator was what my mom was. She connected your phone call.


21 posted on 02/15/2014 9:07:48 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Red6

22 posted on 02/15/2014 9:10:19 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: DesertRhino
yeah, i guess Trooper was just too mundane after the war was over...
23 posted on 02/15/2014 9:24:18 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: RoosterRedux
I think the changing of the uniforms including whoever thought of the berets is a payback move to some big elite supporter....

how many middle class kids could get to college with $5 billion?...or how many taxes could be reduced?.....

24 posted on 02/15/2014 9:31:56 PM PST by cherry (.in the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.....)
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To: Little Pig

Acquisition for the DoD has undergone many radical changes over the years. The current state is a mess that seeks to miracle-ize the acquisition process. First, requirements at the highest ORD level are often times are based on pure fantasy, and are not checked for technological achievability. It is not surprising to me that the requirement to meet camouflage in all environments, despite the obvious impossibility of such a task, became a “must have” in a uniform program.

Requirements for items to have characteristics that are incompatible with the required capabilities are common. This results in conflicting requirements that don’t necessarily say, but mean, “light but heavy”, “thin but thick”, “flexible but rigid”, and in this case “light but dark” or “tan but green”. Another huge issue is backwards compatibility, where users often insist that each new product be 100% compatible with every military product made since WWII. I call this one “new but old”.

Once a program is begun, it is not turned over to an expert like ADM Rickover to implement, but GS employee Program Manager (PM) who most likely has no idea or experience with the item. A subject-matter expert, whose job it is to represent the users interest, and to keep the fantasy element alive, is often brought in to participate, but the program remains in tight control of the PM.

Source Selection is an additional farce, where the guy who lies the most almost automatically wins the award. Either the firm is lying to government, or they lie to themselves. It does not matter as the result is the same. In the process of source selection, the unfortunate end result is not to pick the best player, but to rehabilitate the worst player(s) until they become acceptable. Realistic, truth-telling vendors are almost always eliminated as either being too expensive or not meeting (impossible) requirements.

The concept of “spiral development” has the unintended consequence of allowing the Product Team off the hook when major requirements are not met. The idea is that the product will be improved in future iterations. This does work in some cases in the private sector, but oftentimes it is just used as a “flex” when needed by bureaucrats. The otherwise effective Spiral Development concept conflicts directly with the Acquisitions Milestones model, and this is where faulty products and vendors are locked-in. They “shoot the engineers” who are often dumbfounded as to why the process has failed so miserably, yet marches on under full steam.

The final issue I see is the “executive-ization” of higher level Government employees. They have enormous power and prestige, and have slowly forgotten their responsibilities as Civil Servants. Publications like Government Executive only serve to feed their egos. If I were in charge, the first thing I would do is eliminate the name “Senior Executive Service” and change it to “Senior Civilian Service”. If you want to be an executive, then you should to go into private industry.


25 posted on 02/15/2014 9:52:26 PM PST by BRK
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To: Red6
I am waiting for the navy to re-think their hilarious "water" camo utilities.

First time I saw them, I almost fell over laughing at the poor squid wearing them.

It was a true "WTF?" moment.

26 posted on 02/15/2014 10:10:49 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: Last Dakotan

Wonder when the last president talked to troops that did not have the bolts to their rifles removed like the current usurper does?


27 posted on 02/15/2014 10:13:28 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: Red6

The Marine Corps still use 2 basic camo patterns - one woodland MARPAT (Marine Pattern) and one desert MARPAT. Multicam, the camouflage pattern used in Afghanistan, worked pretty well during several western hunts a friend and I organized. The British have developed a version of Multicam using some of the shapes from their old woodland DPM (disrupted pattern material) combat uniform.

My nephew gave me one of his ACU shirts in Multicam for the aforementioned hunting. Like one of the other commenters, I found too much going on. The hook-and-loop system, the zipper and the gusseted back seem superfluous compared to the Marine Corps Combat Uniform blouse.


28 posted on 02/15/2014 10:47:25 PM PST by 12Gauge687
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To: doorgunner69

My nephew calls the Navy utilities “blueberries.” The Navy actually has one or two other digital camo uniforms, one is for EOD and SeaBees.

Several Marines think the “blueberries” were designed to hide stains and reduce frequent washing in the name of sustainability. I believe these Marines are onto something. If you think that squid looked sad, imagine if he fell overboard and the ship turned around to look for him.


29 posted on 02/15/2014 10:55:31 PM PST by 12Gauge687
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To: BRK

I actually got a certification in gov contracting a number of years ago. Interesting stuff, if a bit dull.

The big failing with the ACU colors was that they completed the entire testing cycle, then decided on a color scheme that hadn’t been tested at any point during the program. At least the MARPAT colors were based on real-world testing and previous research. Ditto Multicam, which again has some actual environmental colors. The ACU is almost a literal example of “what color is the sky in your world”.


30 posted on 02/16/2014 1:30:22 AM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: RoosterRedux

There was a time when “Pinks” were a standard dress uniform for officers.


31 posted on 02/16/2014 4:02:35 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Red6

I guess that’s what happens when you have gays running lose in the military uninhibited. At least you’ll look fabulous when some nut in a turban kills you. People are so stupid.


32 posted on 02/16/2014 4:14:38 AM PST by Politicalkiddo (Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crused it. -M. Twain)
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To: Red6
I wonder when the Navy will scrap their ridiculous blue camouflage uniforms they had for about 5 years?
33 posted on 02/16/2014 4:53:08 AM PST by castlegreyskull
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To: Little Pig
"decided on a color scheme that hadn't been tested at any point during the program"

Assuming what you are saying is true about this particular program, you can't really test anymore if the DT&E and OT&E Milestones are already past. It's almost impossible, and to go back and test again would have been considered a huge failure and a threat to some government "executive's" advancement. So you see what I mean when I say the concepts of spiral development are at odds with the linear Milestones model. They should have went back and tested.

Now, years later, no one will be held responsible and they can just go through the entire process again with new taxpayer money.

34 posted on 02/16/2014 5:58:41 AM PST by BRK
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To: castlegreyskull; doorgunner69; 12Gauge687

The Navy with “cammo” is about the damned stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

Granted, if you were a sailor on a ship sunk in enemy waters, and your enemy happened to be the Japanese who were looking to kill you as you treaded water, that might be the only utility I could see.

Otherwise, what a joke. It is downright embarrassing.


35 posted on 02/16/2014 6:07:11 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: rlmorel

“The Navy with “cammo” is about the damned stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

Granted, if you were a sailor on a ship sunk in enemy waters, and your enemy happened to be the Japanese who were looking to kill you as you treaded water, that might be the only utility I could see.

Otherwise, what a joke. It is downright embarrassing.”

They wouldn’t wear these at sea. At sea you wear “coveralls”. They wear this crap in-port. They will wear these top-side on a submarine entering and exiting port. However, if you were manning the rails, you would wear the dress uniform of the day.


36 posted on 02/16/2014 6:13:22 AM PST by castlegreyskull
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To: Little Pig
I have heard of combat veterans who were incapable of any other response than a severe rolling of the eyes when they talked about velcro in combat.

I can only imagine, and if you have ever tried to quietly open a velcro even on a shirt in a setting you didn't want to make noise in, it doesn't take that much of an imagination, but here is what I feel like, and this isn't combat!

"RIP!"
"Crap! Crap! Crap!"

"RIIIIIII...IIII...PPPP!"
"Oh, mother of God!"

"RIP!"
"Whew! Finally can get that thing out of the pocket!"

37 posted on 02/16/2014 6:19:24 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Red6
When I retired in 1991 the AF and the Army were both wearing BDU’s. It was a good uniform and by having both services wear a standard uniform money was saved. During the Gulf War I wore the desert “Chocolate Chip” uniform. It was heavy because of an extra flap over the shoulders and back. Over time it faded and because it did not have rip stop it was easy to tear. Since my retirement all the branches of the military have gone in different directions on uniforms. The AF adopted an absurd tiger stripe camouflage that looks ridiculous. The only exception to this has been the Marines. Effective camouflage with an effective uniform.
38 posted on 02/16/2014 6:20:24 AM PST by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: BRK
"...Now, years later, no one will be held responsible and they can just go through the entire process again with new taxpayer money..."

Dang. Why does that sound to darn familiar? Oh, that's right. That is the way waste in this government functions in general.

39 posted on 02/16/2014 6:21:18 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I will forever be grateful to the memory of Ronald Reagan for what he did in making the military again be a reputable profession.

Liberals in the Sixties and Seventies did all they could to foster contempt and hatred for all things military.


40 posted on 02/16/2014 6:24:27 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: castlegreyskull

I know what you mean, but the basic concept of fitting out sailors with cammo is just absurd, but I think we are agreeing vigorously with each other.


41 posted on 02/16/2014 6:27:23 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: Little Pig

http://www.whitesboots.com/

Hubby wore nothing but whites as a firefighter for 33 years. They are expensive but last forever and can be ‘rebuilt’.


42 posted on 02/16/2014 7:25:04 AM PST by sheana
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To: rlmorel

Yes, we are in agreement.


43 posted on 02/16/2014 8:07:57 AM PST by castlegreyskull
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To: Red6
Which Congresscritter's spouse will get the contract ?

44 posted on 02/16/2014 11:38:31 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: ops33

If all branches wear the same uniforms, very important people won’t feel as important, do you really want that? Common logistics, less chances of fratricide (ID of friend or foe), economy of scale, why would we want those things?

Talking about stupid decisions, I remember when the black beret became standard for all in the Army, because everyone was extra special. So we all paid a bunch of money for berets made in China (No BS, that became a scandal) that don’t keep the sun out of your eye’s or off the neck, are hot and itchy in the sun, cold in the winter, most people didn’t know how to wear them... Some of my peers took offense to the fact that everyone could now wear a beret that they had earned and something that had a meaning to someone was made meaningless by a politician in uniform (who coincidentally fell into the back of the past administration and is today head of the VA). The military often thinks more in terms of “form” than “function,” and at least the Army’s uniform is highly functional in design.

The old BDU IMHO had better camouflage patterns with woodland and three color desert (not the newest and coolest anymore, but definitely effective). If you want the newest fad which is to use some digital means to recreate something in an analog world, then go with the Marines cammo which like the old BDUs has a brown and green variant, but I truly see no advantage in “digiprint” (I think the Canadians actually came up with the idea), or whatever they want to call it. The old BDU uniform wasn’t as functional (It was OK) with, square pockets, a neck collar not designed for body armor rubbing against ones neck, no pen pockets on the arms (when wearing body armor it’s nice to be able to reach a pen or pencil without pulling everything apart, easy removal of patches/rank or application of glint tape (all Velcro or pin on) etc... They made a highly functional uniform that is great qualitatively, with a crappy camouflage.


45 posted on 02/16/2014 6:24:01 PM PST by Red6
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To: BRK

My point was not that they should have gone back and tested; it was that all the testing was wasted because in the end, the color scheme that was chosen wasn’t even part of the original process, and hadn’t ever been proposed as a potential candidate.


46 posted on 02/16/2014 10:02:53 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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