Although overdue, the Army is finally getting a new look.
The Universal Camouflage Pattern, with its green and tan pixelated splotches, debuted in 2004 and turned out to be less effective than expected and largely unpopular. William Layer, an Army spokesman, using ever-polite military speak stated: “Soldier feedback revealed dissatisfaction,” according to the Free Republic.
Serving soldiers were less restrained in their views.
“Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,” an Army specialist who served two tours in Iraq said to the Republic. “The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit.”
The mission to develop a newer, better camouflage aimed to fix what went wrong the last results. Researchers said that the Army brass interfered- ultimately, looks and politics trumped the science of the selection process.
A $5 billion government investment that comes out of Army funding — only to make the soldiers more visible and clear — has left people in the camo industry incensed.
“You’ve got to look back and say what a huge waste of money that was,” Lawrence Holsworth, marketing director of a camouflage company called Hyde Definition, said.
The newly developed camo, called the Operational Camouflage Pattern, took four years of extensive research, conducted with multiple tests involving both computer and on-the-ground tests at half a dozen locations around the world until they found the most safe and effective camo to date. As the most comprehensive uniform camouflage testing effort ever undertaken by the Army, the US Army has reinvigorated commitment to force protection.
Until the new uniforms became available, the so-called “MultiCam” was a universal failure in every environment, according to the Army specialist.
“As a Calvary scout, it is my job to stay hidden,” he said. “Wearing a uniform that stands out this badly makes it hard to do our job effectively. If we can see our own guys across a distance because of it, then so can our army.”
The Army specialist asked that his name be withheld, as he wasn’t authorized to speak with any press.
Although the new look has a few subtle changes, including a new folded down collar instead of a mandarin collar and combat boots in “coyote brown,” the most significant is the change in print.
The new print, called the universal camouflage pattern, fuses the universal camouflage pattern and the multicam design, complete with blobs rather than pixel shapes and dark colors.
The new uniforms also incorporate minor design changes, including a redesigned shoulder sleeve pockets with a zipper opening, a button on the lower calf pocket, two pen pockets on the sleeve instead of three and no elbow and knee patch to hook and loop.