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US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort – Will They Just Adopt OCP?

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A few weeks ago I wrote a story about Sergeant Major the Army Chandler’s comments at a town hall meeting in Afghanistan regarding a new MultiCam camouflage (also known as The Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern) variant coming. Prior to this I mentioned that the US Army had announced plans to negotiate a license agreement with Crye Precision for OCP. Last week, Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Ray Odierno held a virtual town hall meeting. His comments were captured in a US Army press release and are most revealing.

Addressing the Army uniform currently being worn in Afghanistan, the OCP, or “Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern,” Odierno said the Army is studying the viability of that uniform.

“They appear to be the most effective uniforms that protect our Soldiers, and are most effective in a variety of scenarios that we’ve looked at,” he said, noting that he expects a decision soon on whether the Army will stick with that uniform.

All along, the Army has been comductng a multiyear, multi-million dollar effort to find a new family of camouflage patterns. Announcement of the results of this undertaking have been delayed several times. According to sources, the latest date for the announcement is during the AUSA annual meeting later this month. However, the Army has yet to notify the four finalists (ADS Inc, Brookwood, Crye Precision, and Kryptek) on the results of the solicitation and subsequent evaluations. This step is critical to the procurement process as it gives the participants the ability to launch protests if there are irregularities in the decision. A late October announcement becomes more and more difficult the closer we get to AUSA.

So the question is, will the Army discard the Camouflage Improvement Effort and just adopt MultiCam under a new name such as Army Camouflage Pattern? The evidence certainly seems to indicate that this is the case.

76 Responses to “US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort – Will They Just Adopt OCP?”

  1. Jbgleason says:

    So let me get this straight? Millions spent, thousands of man hours wasted, guys still walking around in UCP and now they are going to pick the pattern they already have?

    1. No wonder the GOV is shutdown.
    2. Good luck getting companies to go all-in on development efforts in the future on their own dime.

    • bman says:

      +1. Not only plus one, but if this is were to be true, this is one reason a goverment shut down is good thing. Not that it affects the military much but should to remind people to pick a program and stick with it.

  2. Brian says:

    Picking OCP doesn’t really make operational or fiscal sense.

    We already established that we have four families of patterns that out perform OCP. If the Army wants just one pattern they should just buy the rights to the family, universally issue the transistional pattern, and have the desert and woodland in reserve for future use if it becomes nessesary.

    As noted, it will also ROYALLY piss off industry to not pick something out of this major effort.

  3. 32sbct says:

    I think this direction is being driven by the new law stating that all services must adopt a common pattern uniform by 2018. By selecting OCP they are staying within the new law which prohibits the introduction of any new pattern since OCP is already in production. There are other benefits. The uniform is already in production, along with all the other organizational items (MOLLE gear, rain gear, cold weather gear, etc.). This would allow for a much faster transition. Anything is better than more years of wearing UCP. Also, other services such as the USAF also wear this pattern in theatre. IF the Army and AF both go with OCP, that will most likely force this choice on the Navy and the USMC since the Army has the most service members. Nothing against MARPAT, but the Corps may have cooked their own goose by not being willing to share MARPAT with the other services.

    • straps says:

      What he said.

    • MKULTRAFUN says:

      I don’t always cook my own goose, but when I do it’s because I don’t want Hooahs looking like Oorahs!

    • Sal says:

      Where does it say that absolutely no new patterns must be introduced from now till 2018?

      • blue says:

        When i was in Afghan the navy was wearing OCP too,

        • G says:

          I’m Navy, and yes we wear OCP in Afghanistan as well. Well some of us do and it’s a goddamn fight to get it, even if your mission is outside the wire with the grunts. And fight as in dropping hints of contacting Congressmen. All that got us was the uniforms and vests, things like NVGs, and propper optics for our rifles are another story.

  4. Adam says:

    We have to look at this through the Washington “optics”. The American people don’t know diddly squat about the camo testing/trials. All they will see is the Army/DOD spending millions, if not billions, on a new pattern during hard financial times (sequestration), when they have a pattern that is “good enough” already in the system and being used.

    That’s just my .02 cents.

  5. Y.T. says:

    Well even if they announce the winner of the camouflage improvement effort tomorrow, it would take at least a year to 18 months in order to print enough fabric and produce enough uniforms and TA-50 in order to start equipping the force, especially if it becomes an all service uniform. Given the popularity, effectiveness, and availability of Multicam/OCP it would stand to reason that transitioning to that pattern as an interim operational pattern until sufficient stocks of whatever the new pattern are available.

    • Dan says:

      That actually makes some kind of sense. It would definitely get rid of UCP faster if they went that way since they’re already producing equipment in OCP, so it’s a win-win if they do intend to phase in the new uniform. As long as something replaces UCP.

  6. CAVstrong says:

    As much as I have loved following this over the past few years I’m starting to get a little tired of it. I say let’s go back to BDU and DCU. Problem solved moving on….

    • Haji says:

      Actually, its not. They’d have to tool everything up and remake all that stuff that they used to have. Both of those have been obsolete for a while now, so going backwards would take just as long as going forwards. At least with MC, there’s an infrastructure in place, since private companies have been making stuff in it for several years now.

      • straps says:

        I have a pair of your RAIDs in 3CDC and WC. Still going strong.

        I use them on FTXs as a retro hipster statement.

  7. Steven S says:

    The Army is going full retard……

  8. Mac says:

    Part of me wonders if they’d do a switch to OCP and then persuade the other services to go with the winner of the Improvement Effort so as to avoid being shoe horned into it by Congress?

    As for the Marines getting pissy about possibly being forced into wearing patterns worn by the other branches, simple fix: adopted the new patterns, but only issue uniforms in the woodland and desert variants and swap em out on DST like they do with MARPAT.

    Just an idea anyways…..

    • straps says:

      Yup. If US4CES had won it would have been a no-brainer to sell it to the Marines as MarPat 2.0.

      • Mac says:

        Still would have suffered from the same stalemate of NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome.

        Selling it to the Marines as MARPAT 2.0 may or may not have worked as the Marines don’t want to be mistaken for another branch of service, hence a major reason behind the invention of MARPAT to begin with.

        • Greg says:

          The Army, Air Force, and Navy could’ve kept ADS, while the Corps could’ve stuck with old MARPAT, or MARPAT Gen II (US4CES in MARPAT coloring i assume), or just take ADS. I predict that once OCP is, or atleast is attempted to be forced on the Corp’s, they will not take it lightly. Which might cause another Camo effort to arise in the future just to appease them. Along with other problems. My solution would be to just scrap the the whole effort, don’t choose any pattern and stick with both UCP and OCP untill 18, and then formulate a new plan to get all of the branches together, and establish a new kind of joint camo program. Then they can decide on something they can all agree on. It boils down to this. The Corps shot themselves in the foot by not sharing MARPAT. The Army did the same by choosing UCP, and a second time by choosing MultiCam several years too late, and again by going at this whole camo effort alone.

          • Hodge175 says:

            So let’s waste more time and funding in another set of trials in 2018? Let’s keep wasting money on a camouflage pattern the the Army admits is a failure. Troops issued OCP can not even use it when they come back home.

  9. Stoney says:

    Here’s a thought. Mind you it is just an idea. It feeds off of what Y.T. said.
    Why not adopt OCP in it’s current state as the transitional pattern. It reduces a lot of the production load to get new uniforms and equipment out. I could be wrong but Crye’s submission wouldn’t have to be radically different to qualify for the contract. Close enough that if the Army bought OCP rights then the military could slowly progress to the new pattern for the transitional group and not really have dramatic changes. I’m willing to bet the two could be interchanged pretty easily. Then add in the arid and woodland as time and operations allowed. It would meet the promise for the camo development, keep the people happy, and utilize existing supplies. I bet the hold up is coming from the Army working out the contract for purchasing the OCP rights. As soon as that goes through the official announcement can be made.

    Again, just my chain of thought.

    • straps says:

      I was thinking it was the Enyart piece of the NDAA.

      I would be surprised to hear the GEN Odierno DIDN’T try to sell the Army results to the other service chiefs, and was told, “Eff you and your research.”

      And here we are.

      Maybe an insight into how the sausage is made at that level on a broad range of issues.

      • CAVstrong says:

        Isn’t that why the SECDEF exists. Tell them all to grow up and deal with it?

        • Patrick says:

          It makes sense. SECDEF needs to say, “The Army did the research. Let’s look at the results and the winner will be the camo every branch wears.”

          • Philip says:

            But we all know that’ll never happen because it actually makes sense! 😉

          • moped1967 says:

            Its what McNamara did in the early 60s when we had this exact same issue. Every branch had different uniform patterns, camo, boots, gear, ect. McNamara basically said “to hell with it, your wearing the same cut uniform, same boots, ect ect from here on out…Only thing you get to be specific about is patches and hats. ” That decision lasted all the way up until 01 when the Marines started working on Marpat.

    • Smash, Smash, Smash says:

      I can tell by the way you make since that you are not a general officer.

    • Smash, Smash, Smash says:

      …sense

    • Mac says:

      That also works off the assumptions that Crye’s other patterns aren’t so different that they don’t work with OCP, creating contrast rather than blending.

      • SSD says:

        They are quite complimentary to MultiCam.

        • Mac says:

          Good to know.

          So maybe the transitional pattern is similar enough that only gear and camo afficianados will notice the difference? Might tie in with the licensing for OCP. Run through existing stocks and get it fielded and switch to the improved pattern down the line?

  10. This guy says says:

    Multicam is going to be used to save the Camo improvement effort and for many of the reasons stated above. Crye was to be the winner anyway. Multicam will replace the transitional pattern in Crye’s submission. As a result their woodland and arid patterns will be saved. This helps the newly developed patterns from being scrapped all together. Multicam is close enough to Crye’s transitional pattern which means losing it is no big deal.

    I still want to know about the boots.

    • bman says:

      Totally missed this before posting my theory.

    • SSD says:

      The problem with this theory is that the other patterns would be still adopted in spite of an OCP license. Unless the Army plans to scrap the so-called Phase IV, there is no reason to pay a license to Crye for OCP. All along the plan was to purchase the Camo Improvement Effort winner which reportedly performs better than OCP. In fact, according to the Army, any one of the four finalists out performed baseline which included OCP.

      To purchase both an OCP license and a Phase IV license is to pay twice and get lower performance.

      • bman says:

        I agree that it would be dumb to spend the money on lesser performing products but perhaps in Army logic, the printing of the new pattern would cost more than just buying the license for multicam as well using the all the uniforms and gear printed with it already.

        • SSD says:

          Ok, one more time. The patterns are very similar. In fact, if you have kept abreast of this whole story on SSD you’d already know that part of the Camouflage Improvement Effort field trials was evaluating how the various candidate patterns performed while used with OCP PPE.

          Unless Crye gives the Army a sweetheart deal for OCP, the Phase IV contract license will be cheaper for the Army.

  11. bman says:

    It just occurred to me that I recall some news about the transitional pattern being issued to everyone and then specific environment patterns would be issued after that. Perhaps they decided to scrap the Crye transitional pattern or the equipment pattern for multicam since they are already printing it and the other environment patterns are still chosen.

  12. Mac says:

    SSD,

    Do we know if Crye submitted 3 or 4 patterns?

  13. Thomas says:

    For fucks sake.. just make up your fucking minds. Issue the fucking order, stick with it… problem solved…. Enough with the soap opera bullshit already….FUCK

  14. Hodge175 says:

    I see us adopting OCP (multicam) at some point. The Army can no longer develop anything. The system is so broken, they can’t get anything done and soldier that go in harms way suffer for it. The General officers that sit in the Pentagon have no idea what the soldiers want or need. I say there is a 30to 40% chance that we hear a announcement at the end of this month. More time and money wasted on another program. Our military is wasting so much funding on these programs that go nowhere and get the troops nothing!

    I am beyond frustrated with the Army system. I see me rocking UCP for a few more years because nobody in Washington DC can make a decision that makes sense

  15. Brian says:

    Adopting OCP is such a waste of money at this point. If we were going to do that, we should have done it three freaking years ago and been done with it. Instead we have spent millions to find the best thing out there and now it looks like we are going to throw it all away.

    JUST PICK THE FREAKING WINNER ALREADY!!!!!

    We have four flipping patterns that already beat OCP, BDU’s, DCU’s, MARPAT, take your pick. We are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  16. Will says:

    Was Multicam not the Crye transitional pattern? If it was, this and the SMAs comments make sense.

    • SSD says:

      A pattern similar to MultiCam was Crye’s transitional candidate. Based on what I have heard over the past two weeks, I believe the SMA was discussing outdated information.

  17. Brackett says:

    Multicam is NOT Crye’s submission for a transitional pattern, although all evidence indicates that it is quite similar.

  18. bman says:

    You know, it would be most helpful if Crye woukd release some low quality images or renderings of their submissions similar to what Brookwood did. That way the design is still pretty well protected from clowns that would counterfeit it.

    • SSD says:

      Ironically, Brookwood did not release those photos and they are pissed they are out there.

  19. Angry Misha says:

    Thank God these already exist:
    http://www.omahas.com/multicam-8-point-cover-usn#.UkzyAZm9LCQ

    If they didn’t, the USMC Clothing Team would be spending countless man hours and billions of dollars to acquire them.

    Just bring back the iron on EGA’s and your in business.

    And to think…. This could’ve all been avoided if the USMC would’ve just shared MARPAT.

    • USMColddawg says:

      You forget the Navy wears this cover when they are in Multicam. In Afghanistan, I saw Navy in multicam, AOR type II and III.

      • G says:

        The only time the Navy wears a 8 point Multicam cover is when they purchase them out of pocket and call it “organizational clothing”. My team did the same thing with Multicam contractors caps and Navy Jack patches.

  20. Angry Misha says:

    4/5 of SOCOM is wearing Multicam, All of AFSOC and 1.2 MILLION Soldiers (Active, Guard and Reserves) will be in it.

    Does anyone think that MARPAT or AOR will have a future?

    Oh happy day, all of us one step closer to being one big happy family again.

  21. Angry Misha says:

    Now, if we can only eliminate gender specific sizing.

    • Evan says:

      After they already went to so much trouble making it gender specific? I did like the fit of BDU sizing over ABU sizing.

  22. So, [presumably] the Army is going to settle for a less effective pattern, and the 4 finalist companies will sell their patterns to other countries that will be all too eager to have the best camouflage at the moment. (Especially with all the documentation proving that they will have a more effective pattern than the USA’s) Awesome!

  23. Roger says:

    OK, We’ve heard this all before. You know who won, but won’t tell us…..; You know they will announce it on ….., but they didn’t. Let’s just deal with facts!! I’ll watch the Army Times for any announcement.

    • SSD says:

      I said who won. A few weeks ago after taking a cue from the SMA’s comments. In fact, there’s even a link to that article in this one. Guess you were busy with the Army Times. Have fun reading the cut off scores.

      • steveb says:

        Ok, see if this makes sense. The Crye family of patterns won. However, seeing that OCIE/PPE is so expensive and there is a ton of gear already out there, the Army wants to use the original Multicam pattern for OCIE/PPE, even if the new Crye transitional variant is not quite the same. That’s why they seek the license for MC. SSD, is this the deal?

        • SSD says:

          If you used OCP with the Crye candidate patterns you would be just fine. It’s a situation similar to the MultiCam derivatives AMP in Australia and MTP in the UK. They work well with MultiCam/OCP. The sunk cost of OCP OCIE will work well with a Crye Phase IV winner.

          No one is explaining why the Army isn’t going to announce Phase IV (although one theory I heard was that it was just to spite me) but everyone agrees that they aren’t going to announce a Phase IV winner but rather just transition all procurement to OCP which they have already done for OCIE.

          • Sal says:

            So basically 3 years and millions of dollars worth of exhaustive testing just got thrown down the shitter?

            Hoorah indeed Army.

          • ME says:

            SSD, so is it confirmed we won’t get an announcement at AUSA, or is it just assumed with incredible confidence?

            Also, what about Crye’s say in all of this? Would Crye rather the Army went with their PhIV developed pattern?

            If so, is it possible that Crye would use the OCP license to force the Army to use the PhIV pattern?

            • SSD says:

              The Army has never officially announced when they will announce.

              Crye has made no statement regarding the situation. They have not been notified by the Army as to the findings and selection of the Army Camo Improvement Effort and they are currently in negotiations with the Government for a license for OCP so they certainly aren’t going to make any statements while they are in negotiations.

  24. Army Doc says:

    So since you have told us who the winner was can you give us some of the info about how the scoring shook out? I seem to remember long ago you promising some inside information about the testing process and such. Is there a reason you are waiting to publish those stories? Or is it just not high on the priority list?

    The only reason I ask is after 3+ years of following this process the last few months have been a major buzz kill and I would love to at least see some more info about the process.

    • SSD says:

      Nobody can discuss the scoring until we see the report. so long as they keep the program in source selection, the Army can restrict public release of the information contained in it.

      Btw, I didn’t tell you who won. You can thank the SMA for that.

  25. Paralus says:

    Nobody wastes money like the US Army.

    I won’t mention Crusader or Comanche since those were axed by Rummy, but the ARH-70, the Farsical Combat Systems, the XM8, Carbine Replacement competition. Now AMPV is going to be delayed.

    I really don’t care who wins as long as it is the objectively the best pattern according to the report. If it is Crye because it is the best, great.

    But if it is Crye just because OCP is already in the inventory, it’s typical stupid, lazy, Big Army bullshit. And if that is the case, it just adds more weight to the argument that all of the General officers, these models of mediocrity, need to be thanked for their service, patted on the back and shown the door.

    Reduce the number of general billets, promote some Colonels and Majors, and tell them no gatekeeping, no traditions, no ring knocking, no brown-nosing, no institutional bias, just get rid of them.