Army United States would like to replace UCP Universal Camouflage Pattern combat uniforms 1510134

a

Defence & Security News - United States

 
 
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:58 AM
 
Army of United States would like to replace the UCP Universal Camouflage Pattern combat uniforms.
Eight years after spending $5 billion on a heavily-criticized universal camouflage pattern, the United States Army is back at the drawing board looking for a new design that’s estimated to cost another $4 billion. 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.
(Source The Daily Beast)
     
Eight years after spending $5 billion on a heavily-criticized universal camouflage pattern, the United States Army is back at the drawing board looking for a new design that’s estimated to cost another $4 billion. 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.
U.S. Army soldiers wearing the UCP Universal Camouflage Pattern march down a road in Iraq.

     

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.

Less than a decade after the so-called Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, was introduced the Army is back to the drawing board, set to announce a new camouflage pattern and standard uniform to be worn by the more than million members of the active duty and reserve forces.

Evidence of the UCPs inadequacy as a combat uniform is easy to find—just look at pictures of soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan, they’re not wearing the UCP, which was deemed unsuitable for operations there, but a different uniform known as the MultiCam. In 2009, Congress responded to soldiers’ “concerns about the current combat uniform which they indicated provides ineffective camouflage given the environment in Afghanistan,” by passing a bill in the appropriations act requiring that the DOD “take immediate action to provide combat uniforms to personnel deployed to Afghanistan with a camouflage pattern that is suited to the environment of Afghanistan.” The result was the MultiCam. But that uniform, while it is currently worn in Afghanistan, was not a replacement but an interim substitution for the UCP, which is still the Army’s official uniform and the one worn by all soldiers not overseas.

During former Army Officer Matt Gallagher’s 15-month deployment to Iraq from 2007-2009, he became well acquainted with the shortfalls of the universal camouflage pattern. In an attempt to blend in with all kinds of environments, the pattern instead wound up sticking out everywhere, its grey, gravel design that only a help to soldiers hoping to blend in with a parking lot. Gallagher said his soldiers would call the uniform pajamas, “both a testament to its comfort and its inability to look right on anyone, no matter their build.” But Gallagher found that the biggest concern with the UCP in Iraq was shoddy velcro.

Last year, the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, issued a report taking the Army to task for spending $5 billion on UCP-covered uniforms and field equipment, only to spend an estimated $4 billion replacing them with whatever design it picks next. The Natick Army Soldier Systems Center, which does research and development on things like food, clothing, shelter for the military, conducted two studies on the Universal Camouflage Pattern, once in 2006 and again in 2009, both times finding that the UCP’s performance came up short when compared to other, more popular camouflages, like the Marine Corps desert pattern or the MultiCam. Natick scientists also went on record alleging that the Army had already selected the UCP before testing on it was completed and a full evaluation could be made of its performance compared to other designs.

Over the past decade the Army has utilized four different uniforms, with each representing a considerable expenditure and investment of time and resources that could have been applied to other commonly cited needs, like upgrades to field equipment and improvements to tactical vehicles.

 

This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.