09 Jul 2012

$5B Later, the Army Gives Up on Camo Competition with the Marine Corps

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The Daily:

The Army is changing clothes.

Over the next year, America’s largest fighting force is swapping its camouflage pattern. The move is a quiet admission that the last uniform — a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion — was a colossal mistake.

Soldiers have roundly criticized the gray-green uniform for standing out almost everywhere it’s been worn. Industry insiders have called the financial mess surrounding the pattern a “fiasco.” …

“Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,” said an Army specialist who served two tours in Iraq, wearing UCP in Baghdad and the deserts outside Basra. “The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit.” …

“You’ve got to look back and say what a huge waste of money that was,” said Lawrence Holsworth, marketing director of a camouflage company called Hyde Definition and the editor of Strike-Hold!, a website that tracks military gear. “UCP was such a fiasco.”

The Army’s camouflage researchers say the story of the universal pattern’s origins begins when they helped develop a similarly pixilated camouflage now worn by the Marine Corps. That pattern, known as MARPAT, first appeared in 2002 after being selected from among dozens of candidates and receiving plenty of input from Marines on the ground at the sniper school in Quantico, Va. …

“Brand identity trumped camouflage utility,” [Eric] Graves [editor of the military gear publication Soldier Systems Daily] said. “That’s what this really comes down to: ‘We can’t allow the Marine Corps to look more cool than the Army.’ ”

Hat tip to Amy Alkon.

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One Feedback on "$5B Later, the Army Gives Up on Camo Competition with the Marine Corps"

JKB

“When you go into the jungle, you should clash.”

It was a joke, son. You don’t spend a billion dollars on a joke, much less $5 billion.



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