I’ve been mulling this over all day. I don’t think it’s a good idea for Congress to tell the military services which camouflage they should be using or how they should equip their troops.
First off, they’ve got more important things to worry about. That’s a given.
Second, they have their lane in the road and the military services have theirs. Even retired two-star General turned Congressman William Enyart, (D-IL) doesn’t seem to have the bubble on camouflage. If a guy with that kind of pedigree doesn’t understand the issues at hand, how can we expect someone to who has never served? Representative Enyart has stated that he plans to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require all services to adopt the same camouflage pattern by 2018 and would ban the services from developing new camouflage patterns for their own use.
While I’m all for the separate branches of the US military adopting the same camouflage patterns for a variety of reasons, doing it because Congress said so is not even on the list. Aside from the operational and logistical advantages of a common uniform, this budget environment alone should be the precursor to a more common sense approach to field uniforms. Dress uniforms Remain a great way for the services to express their individuality. I’m advocating for the military to do the right thing for the right reasons.
As for a moratorium on camouflage development, I strongly disagree with this idea. Based on the poorly written legislation I see coming out of Washington, such a move will assuredly have negative second and third order effects. For example, what about USSOCOM? While it isn’t a service, it has service-like budget authority and regularly has unique requirements. It uses its budgetary and acquisition authority to fulfill those requirements under MFP-11. Would a poorly written law preclude SOCOM from the fulfillment of unique camouflage requirements that are not shared by conventional forces? Based on Congress’s batting average, my guess is “yes.”
Congress needs to put the services in the hot seat for sure and make them explain why they can’t play nice together but telling them how they should equip individual service members oversteps their mandate.