posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 07:43 PM
Rep. Jack Murtha, spurred by conversations he’s had with troops in the field, wants the Army to make sure its camo works as promised. My colleague
Christian Lowe at Defense Tech follows uniform issues closely from his days covering the Marines and he’s not sure the Army should make any change.
I’m agnostic but think commanders should have the freedom to pick whatever camo pattern works best in the the environment in which they are
Ironically, the House Armed Services Committee has taken the opposite approach. I got an email July 10 from the head spokeswoman for HASC, Lara
Battles, noting that their version of the defense authorization bill calls for “standardized” ground combat uniforms. The committee’s report
says the kind of unique camo that Murtha would promote “a tactical risk in theater, especially for those assigned to combatant commands or as
individual augmentees who may be wearing a different uniform from those they are serving with in combat.”
Also, the HASC report language says that the committee is “concerned” that the use of unique service camouflage uniforms means “increased costs
and production inefficiencies.” The report also argues that “service-specific battle dress uniforms
magnify the challenges and costs associated with procuring personal protective gear and body armor that conform to the design
and coloration of the basic uniform.”
This is what Christian says:
No one really understood why the Army picked the sort of old-school loden colored camo. Especially since the service had already developed the
MultiCam pattern with Crye Precision and Natick.
And isn’t that what it all boils down to? Everyone wants MultiCam. “Spec Ops guys get to wear it…why can’t I?” I even scoped out some photos
of Air Force PJs sporting MultiCam during a deployment to Djibouti. And practically every cover shot from our friends at Tactical-Life.com features a
MultiCam clad “operator” firing the highest speed shorty carbine around.
Look, I like MultiCam like the rest of them. But I also understand why the Army did what it did. They spent millions of dollars and lots of time
studying what would work best in a range of environments with an eye toward making the Soldier’s loadout easier — one functional combat uniform
for a range of environments. MultiCam was tested alongside the current ArPat (I was at Army Times Co. when the service was deciding the pattern and
was following it closely with my friend Matt Cox there) and several other options and the ArPat camo won out. It was new. It was revolutionary and it
was unpopular. That’s what makes me think it might have been the right choice.
But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.
Also, we don’t have a ton of cash lying around, and some in the Army argue that the service has spent billions fielding the new uniforms and other
gear in the pattern. Unless it sticks out like a sore thumb, why spend millions more to inject another version? And keep in mind the flaming hoops the
Army is being forced to jump through as a line inserted by one congressman forces them to evaluate all these uniform alternatives. Nothing’s going
to come of it, I guarantee you that. But Petraeus, Casey and Stevenson will have to placate the Democratic bull by saying “that’s a very good
idea. we’ll spend time, money and resources looking into it for you, but we’re still going to come up with the same answer…”
I liked the congressional intervention on the M4 carbine issue, but I don’t see the sense in this one.
[edit on 11-8-2009 by texasoutlaw]