No Camouflage Uniform Changes Yet, Says Senate

The US Senate is not allowing new plans for a new camouflage uniform design to move forward. This also includes utility uniforms. The news of this came when it was discovered deep inside the Senate’s version of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) for 2017. Some lawmakers who support the design changes say the information was “buried” inside the Act.

Within the NDAA is language that prevents the DoD (Department of Defense) from beginning any new developments on the current camo designs used on uniforms unless news of that move is given to both the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees one year in advance, delivered by the Secretary of Defense, in a formal manner.

If all of that makes you think that the Senate is making it hard for the DoD to get new camouflage patterns, you’re right. Here’s why:

DoD and Congress are not new to fighting with each other when it comes to camouflage uniforms. This behavior began when the various military services started demanding unique camo patterns for their individual services, and for individual sectors within those services. While the individual Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine probably does not spend much time thinking about it, there are dozens of different camo uniforms in use today, and each one of those had to be designed and tested at great expense to the taxpayer. In 2009, Congress tried to put an end to that when they attempted to force all services to come up with one standard, common, combat uniform. It did not work.

Army UniformThey tried again in 2013 when they slipped into the then-current NDAA language that would require a single, common combat pattern. The services fought back, with the then-Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos saying he was sticking to the Marine-propriety MarPat camo “like a hobo on a ham sandwich.”

It should be noted in defense of the Senate that designing new camo patterns is not cheap. According to the Washington Post, the development cost for the Army’s so-called “universal” combat uniform ran up to more than $2.6 million, and that is for just the development of the pattern, for one uniform, for one service. The Navy developed a new utility uniform called the Navy Working Uniform Type 1 pattern, which is blue and worn aboard ships, and criticized by some as being very good camo, indeed, if a sailor happens to fall overboard.

So, how much money are we talking about? The Government Accountability Office reported in 2012 that the Army (alone) would spend $4 billion over five years as it designed, selected, and tested its next generation of camouflage uniforms. That generation of uniform is proceeding and the uniform is expected to be released to troops in 2019.

The House bill does not include any version of the Senate’s camouflage provision. Final reconciliation between the two should happen later this summer.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain
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