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US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort Update – Meanwhile in Washington

You literally cannot make this stuff up. Apparently, Illinois Freshman Congressman Rep. William L. Enyart (Dem), came up with a great idea. He read an article last month in the The Washington Post about the US military’s multitude of camouflage patterns and intends to introduce legislation today that will require all of DoD to share a common camouflage pattern.

Apparently, living in a city where you regularly see military personnel from all services strutting around in their individually branded uniforms like so many third world militaries didn’t attract his attention. It took a newspaper article to garner his attention. Ironically, Rep Enyart retired just last year as a Major General from the Illinois Army National Guard where he served from 1982 – 2012. Prior to that, he served in the US Air Force from 1969 to 1973. Somehow, that didn’t wake him up either.

And it seems, he is oblivious to previous public law regarding camouflage and field uniforms. His proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would require all of the services to adopt a common pattern by 2018 and would forbid any of them from producing a pattern for its own sole use. Horse left the barn on that one I’m afraid.

On one hand, I’m glad to hear about this new found interest Rep Enyart has for camouflage but I’m deeply saddened that, as usual, a Congressmen is going to run blindly uninformed into introducing redundant legislation. Instead, hopefully he’ll do a little research, take a look at what comes out of the Army Camouflage Improvement Effort and perhaps hold DoD’s feet to the fire on previous legislation.

I appreciate where his heart is, but I wish he was better informed, especially as he is a retired GO.

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44 Responses to “US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort Update – Meanwhile in Washington”

  1. Rob says:

    Years of research/development & millions of dollars spent all potentially derailed because some voice out of left field at the last minute says “you know what would be a good idea?”. I agree that having so many different uniform patterns is absurd. Maybe the other services would adopt Army’s new pattern? In any event, I see this becoming a giant cluster.

  2. majrod says:

    I see this initiative as too long in coming. About time we got back to common patterns and DoD has done an even worse job than Congress on the matter. Sure Enyart is late to the party (REAL LATE) but he is doing what the DoD and GAO have failed to do for a decade.

    Could things get screwed up? We’ve got eight patterns TODAY and when the Army announces the results it will be more. The biggest casualty when all is said and done will be the Gucci branch insanity when it comes to combat uniforms.

    If this had happened five or ten years ago we wouldn’t have all the great data we have now but the force would be wearing the same patterns. That isn’t a bad thing.

    In all honesty I’ll be surprised if it goes through. Every branch has its partisans in Congress.

    • majrod says:

      Some good that may come of this is a light on the stupidity that got us here in the first place.

      • Strike-Hold says:

        What SSD is a bit hot under the collar about is the fact that Congress and the DOD introduced exactly this type of language into the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill – along with a mandate that the services also adopt a common ground combat uniform – but the service chiefs bitched and moaned about it so much that these stipulations were more or less removed.

        • majrod says:

          The language is QUITE different in the ’10 Def Auth Bill to what Enyart is saying. It encourages branches to share technology, measure uniform effectiveness the same way, use Natick, try and save money etc.

          The language specifically leaves a huge loophole for branches to have a unique uniform, “It is the policy of the United States that the design and fielding of all future ground combat and camouflage utility uniforms of the Armed Forces MAY UNIQUELY REFLECT THE IDENTITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MILITARY SERVICES, as long as such ground combat nd camouflage utility uniforms, to the maximum extent practicable” (emphasis added)

          http://soldiersystems.net/2009/10/13/camo-and-the-2010-defense-authorization-bill/

          • majrod says:

            Strike-Hold : I would love to read about which branch chiefs moaned and groaned about a common uniform. If you have a source, story or link please share.

          • Strike-Hold says:

            As I recall, it was during the pre-ratification hearings that what I perceived as “bitching and moaning” went on, or maybe “chest thumping” is a more appropriate phrase…

            Links:
            http://soldiersystems.net/2009/07/30/congress-proposes-common-ground-combat-uniform/

            http://soldiersystems.net/2012/10/01/gao-dod-should-improve-development-camouflage-uniforms-enhance-collaboration-among-services/

          • SSD says:

            We have no idea what he actually plans to introduce. Just what he has stated to the press. Like I said. A GO who was oblivious to all of this until last week? No wonder DoD is so screwed up. And, it goes to show that there are way too many flag officers.

          • majrod says:

            SSD – agree that he’s late to the party. Disturbing that he attribute a story last week to informing him of the problem. There’s a lot of that going around in DC these days.

            The overwhelming majority of Generals are politicians so maybe this is a combination of poor choice of words and opportunity (Congress fiscal mood & 14 June news). Then again he could be that clueless.

            That said, what Enyart “said” is different than the 2010 legislation..

            Strike – thanks, for the links but neither document a general talking about the importance of “uniqueness”. The Army is already on record as saying it will copyright and share its pattern so we’ll see who goes prima donna if there is movement back to common patterns.

    • Greg says:

      Yeah, but once the Army announces it’s winner, the old UCP and Multicam will go into a fire pit, one at a time. Thus lowering the ammount patterns in use. Once thats over, the AF and Navy should come onboard, while the Corps stays with what it has, Addopts whatever the Army gets, or switches to the so called MARPAT Gen II.

      • ST Doc says:

        MarPat gen. 2?

        • Greg says:

          MARPAT Gen II is supposed to be some kind of modified version of MARPAT. My assumption is that it could be US4CES, in MARPAT coloration. I,e enlarged MARPAT.

        • Greg says:

          And or MARPAT in different color, and or style, not sure exactly. Mr. Cramer mentioned it in another post, but is not allowed to talk about it yet. Which explains why when i try to search for this “MARPAT Gen II”, i can’t find anywhere. Must be a real secret.

  3. bulldog 76 says:

    well like this is gonna happen ……

  4. reverend says:

    Wait, you really think a politician is gonna research something FIRST? Ever talk to one? All show, no go.

    I’d rather talk to my dog than a friggin’ politician. The dog’s smarter.

  5. Jason C. says:

    Dollars to donuts he will recommend a pattern manufactured by a company that either he or one of his immediate family members hold a interest in or are on the board of. Face it the majority of things the House does is for themselves or to help them get elected.

  6. james says:

    so a politicain jumps up and down impassioned by a cause they do not fully understand nor do they bother to do the research even with their wealth of resourses… sound like the well oiled (greased more like) machine we call our governmemnt!

    and he spent how many years in the service? just shows you how (stupid) wonderfully uninformed he is… Hopey Changey ?

  7. Chris says:

    This is not a new thing, Robert McNamara did this in the 1960′s, he must of been rolling in his grave when the services started to make their own camouflage uniforms again in the late 1990′s early 2000′s

  8. One suggestion;

    Watch the Netflix original series ‘House of Cards’

    Enough said

  9. Rick says:

    Well General Officers are usually some of the least informed folks wearing the uniform. With a few exceptions, they get so puffed up with their own importance that they lose touch with the guys actually getting the job done, so I am not surprised that this retired GO seems to have been struck with a blinding flash of the obvious.

  10. Grady Burrell says:

    Please think back just a few short years ago, when only a RIP graduate assigned to a Ranger Battalion, or a Ranger School graduate could proudly wear the coveted Black Beret. Then, there was an epiphany from on high, that said, “hell lets just issuue everyone in the Army one”. We can all be winners, continuity is our watchword. We can even make the beret in China there not that bad. No ceremony, just file your squad down to the supply room and sign for it and well figure out how to wear it properly later.

    There is much more to it than just being a thoughtless proposal with no regard to the countless hours and dollars spent to give the Warfighter a better uniform,there is the pride, the distinction of those who wear the camouflage of their chosen Service. In a tactical environment, with different missions when working in concert with other Servives, the diffrence in uniform patterns is absolutely essential. Commanders can not only control the visual battlefield better, but Air assets can assist with quicker reports.

    Congressional Seats belong to the people of that District. Im sure there many Warriors that are Active, Retired, or in the Reserve Components that vote in that District. Let the Congressman you your opnion.

    • majrod says:

      For 60 of the 70 years we’ve been wearing camouflage patterns they were not branch specific. Headgear worn mostly in garrison is apples and oranges (and I agree it was a dumb move).

      For more than half a century a branch nametape or EGA was enough to be unique on the battlefield. If it was good enough at Iwo, Heartbreak Ridge and the Ia Drang it should be good enough today.

      • Lucky says:

        Agreed with MajRod… If a common uniform with minor differences was good enough at Inchon, Chosen, Kosovo, and in Mogadishu, should still be ok. I was a young Reserve PFC in Afghanistan in 2004, and I remember the here services not wearing MARPAT not having any issues identifying each other. So… Ad that was the final rotation to wear DCU’s… The next rotation came in in ACU’s, and looked ridiculous

      • ST Doc says:

        Here, here. We are all on the same team, we are all American. Garrison headwear and branch tapes/badges are a good enough distinction.

        If I call CAS on a location, all that matters is that they can ID Americans and allies. It doesn’t matter what branch the American is, don’t hit him.

  11. JBAR says:

    I am not sure what he should or should not have known, but better late than never. Now that (hopefully) the best camo will be available, that last effort to make all branches use it can be made. How can/has situational awareness be kept both via large sensors (air) and on-ground visuals to know who is friendly or not? It must be a nightmare. How does that work out for the soldiers trying to make those split second decisions to shoot or not? Also friendly fire.

    • Ed says:

      If soldiers are only making that decision based on the uniform then we would have a lot of dead allies on our hands. We always fight coalition so multiple friendly uniforms is the rule not the exception. The desire to have all the services use the same uniform is purely a personal preference. There are no operational reasons for it. Besides, the history of Armies shows that uniforms play an important role in esprit de corps. I think service unique uniforms are a great idea.

      • majrod says:

        There are operational reasons OPSEC being one.

        We won’t always be fighting COIN type ops.

        I guess troops in the past didn’t have espirit since we used the same uniforms?

        • bulldog76 says:

          um branches since about 1812 have had different uniforms …

          • majrod says:

            You do understand the difference between a combat and dress uniform?

            We wore white crossbelts and a large brass chestplate also in 1812. Using your logic we should still be doing so.

            When one needs an excuse any will do.

        • bulldog 76 says:

          ok since you are gonna go FULL retard on me how about looking back at ww2 separate uniforms for each branch except the airforce ….

          • SSD says:

            Even the USAAF had some unique items.

          • majrod says:

            It’s not me going full retard.

            The pattern that Marines wore in the Pacific was an Army pattern genius. There are also MANY cases where Marines wore Army uniforms for a variety of reasons with an EGA printed on the pocket. It was enough to make them feel “unique”.

            Are you making the case that toady’s Marines need more “uniqueness” than their grandfathers?

            More importantly and to the point there was no “Bogarting” of the tools of war. There’s a lesson there…

            SSD – we can expect every service to have some unique items because of mission/environment. They didn’t prohibit their use by another branch. (Heck, even Patton wore a bomber jacket)

        • bulldog 76 says:

          did i say we need to go back to that time period i dont think so

      • MannyF says:

        The thing is that we already have service unique uniforms: Service Dress

        • James says:

          Thank you MannyF! Been saying that for years but nobody listens. Don’t forget we all have service unique PT Gear too!

          • Greg says:

            Yep. The different Dress Blues, Hat/Cover, PT Uniforms are more than enough for distinction. XD

  12. Paralus says:

    “A GO who was oblivious to all of this until last week? No wonder DoD is so screwed up. And, it goes to show that there are way too many flag officers.”

    This ad infinitum. We should just fire the whole lot, reduce the number of slots by 90% and promote from the ranks into the remaining slots.

    No buddy system; No Brown-nosing; No stupid traditions; No School ‘tracks’; No politics; Nobody beholden to a superior officer.

    Who’s with me?

    FIRE THE GENERALS!

  13. James says:

    There are way too many General Officers and no common sense. Data Smada … Get the Grunt NCO 11B’s or SF 18 series involved in the testing and not some office weenie nerds or REMF’s who don’t care thinking it is a fashion show. Sniper School won’t even let you attend in ACU’s- and that is a doctrine school.

    ACU’s= epic fail, a joke we spent billions on by incompetent people making decisions with no NCO Grunt / SF input. Lets ask the pentagon desk riders what we should wear? Fire some Generals – is a better idea.

    140+ Generals, 6+ years of a failed product, = sequester and we only need about 50 General Officers in the U.S. Army. Retire the rest- they are not helping- they probably own stock in the corporations to skew the data testing like they did back in 2006 tests when we knew the answer but it was bypassed for Agenda. While they reside in air conditioned offices far from the combat front lines, our Poor Soldiers die or are put in greater harms way because of this red tape BS spent with Billions of your and my tax money. If it were up to them, nothing would be done and we would waste even more billions stockpiling this garbage in warehouses.

    Some of these Generals need to go. The sequester could not happen fast enough. They are not doing a service to our Soldiers or Nation. They are lining their pockets or acting like politicians more than what we pay them to be: Leaders.

    Serious Dereliction of Duty and Integrity violations.
    The only one who is different to admit failure is CSA Ray Odierno- at least he is trying to fix it. How much more will we continue to spend and throw away on a failed “gray ghost” uniform? Billions?

    Some Generals need fired over this- basically force retired if they are still serving for dereliction of duty- lack of any common sense.
    They will still draw six figure retirement checks, but the damage they did to our service… is insane.

    When you show up to a job interview and dress conservative with a black suit or blue suit / tie… how would you fare if you showed up in a yellow or pink suit? The Manager would be “idiot, no way would I hire you!”. The same is what other nations of the world think of our General Officers at this point: “idiots, we don’t have to fight them, they are too stupid to even dress right.” “if we do have to fight them, we will have a lot of bright ACU targets to shoot at.” “what a bunch of idiots with too much money.” The Americans are a joke.