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The Army Transitions to OCP – A Note from Congress

An SSD reader asked his Congressman about what the Army is up to regarding camouflage. In fact, the Army has been fielding plenty of these Congressional inquiries. For some reason they’re not getting the hint that they need to make a formal announcement. Here’s a screen capture of the answer provided by the good Representative’s office based on their communications with the Army.

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Yeah, there’s some historical revisionism afoot here. UCP was never tested in 2002-2004. It was fielded prior to testing. But, who cares right? Does it matter if they end up fielding what everyone wanted in the first place? Yeah, it does. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they are doing something. What I’m not happy about is that this whole course of action was on the table in the summer of 2010. Think of where we’d be now if they had just pulled the trigger on MultiCam for all back then.

40 Responses to “The Army Transitions to OCP – A Note from Congress”

  1. Smokechecked says:

    So when will we be authorized to wear ocp in garrison and training?

    • SSD says:

      I suggest you ask your Chain of Command.

      • Chad says:

        My chain of command along with 99% of the Army doesn’t even know this is going on.

        • SSD says:

          I absolutely believe that.

        • JBAR says:

          Well, is it the current Multicam, or the “recolored” transitional that is part of the Camo Improvement Program? Is it even a noticeable difference? Can the guys use their existing stocks? The Army recently purchased the rights to Multicam, stated that they would also be getting the other woodland and arid variants used as part of the camo test, so what the hell? Also the timeline and ambiguity for turnover is austounding. By that time, it will be cancelled due to a different joint service camo. If they do not choose Multicam, start all over….

          • SSD says:

            You hit the high points there.

            Lots of issues.

            The Army will be using the current OCP/MultiCam pattern.

            • USMColddawg says:

              I wish they go with a digital multicam version. it will look great and be effective as well

  2. Strike-Hold says:

    Right on SSD – what a load of B.S. that UCP was selected over MultiCam in 2002-2004 becuase of its supposed superiority in the nIR range.

    UCP and MultiCam were never tested head-to-head in that timeframe, UCP was never even tested against other contenders in the early Universal Camouflage trials either – it hadn’t even been “designed” yet at that stage.

    In at least two evaluation programs after that timeframe, UCP was proven to be crap – even a Libyan copy of a WWII-era German pattern performed better! – and when UCP was put to the test against MultiCam in the ’09/’10 Afghanistan camouflage trials it bombed in comparison to MultiCam – and several other patterns too.

    But the worst thing about all of this is the sheer ineptitude and pussy-footing-around-the-issue that the Army leadership is showing. Its a pretty sorry situation when you have to rely on a member of Congress to tell you what’s going on…

    • Paralus says:

      Amen, strike-hold, Amen.

      I can only someone drags Dempsey and Odierno in front Congress and start grilling those twits as to how stupid this decision is.

  3. Eric B says:

    I’m not sure how the whole UCP selection/implementation isn’t a criminal violation of acquisition regulations Perhaps it is and many of those still responsible are in the current chain of command, thus the ridiculously slow movement here?

    It just FEELS like somebody should be going to prison Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

  4. Aaron says:

    Even better…no wonder people want to get out of the Army.

  5. Andrew says:

    Whose office was this from? I make it a habbit of writing our employees who are supposed to be looking out for us in D.C. on a regular basis. The ones in the Senate refer to themselves as Senators and the ones from the house are allways referred to as “Congressman or Congresswoman” without fail.

  6. This guy says:

    Mandatory possession deadline of 2018? They are going to drag this out forever it seems. Pressure needs to be put on to make the switch now if you have it.

    • Derek says:

      It would be nice if they allowed it. Hell, when the ASU came on in 2008 mandatory possession was not for another 6 years.

  7. GW says:

    this lines up with what I “learned” in the halls of the AUSA Conference.

  8. Sgt E says:

    The revision of history particularly bothers me on this. UCP was a mistake, plain and simple. The mistake should be owned, should be learned from, and shouldn’t be rewritten to save face.

    This course of action, which has wasted billions and explained through outright lies, is evidence of the absolute idiotic pathway our lawmakers and some senior members of the DoD have us on. Who is being held accountable for this? No-one that I am aware of. Are there new measures in place to protect against this same idiotic action in the future? Probably not. I know Lance Corporals that would have more sense in running things. While we are still fighting in Afghanistan, shifting focus to the Pacific, and always have the possibility of another conflict… we’re busy debating if we should change our dress blue covers? Stop the pissing contests, which amount of billions of dollars pissed away, stop screwing over service members and vendors dragging your feet, stop being so damn moronic.

    Especially since we’re in an era of deep budget cuts to the DoD.. it appears to me that it would certainly be to their benefit to start investing in what service members actually need and stop worrying about changing our dress uniforms and pushing out stupid camo patterns.

    And screw whoever wrote this letter that excuses the screw up on a test that apparently never actually occurred how they are portraying it.

  9. 32sbct says:

    The thing that continues to amaze me with this is the Army’s hesitancy to just make the damn announcement. First they wanted to announce on the Army’s birthday but they deferred due to the civilian furloughs. Then it was the AUSA conference but the shut down was in play. Its like a kid afraid to tell dad he scratched the new car. In today’s environment there will never be a perfect time to announce. Just come out with it. There will be a couple days of false outrage in the press and then it will be off the radar completely. Seriously, if a congressional staffer can figure it out, why the wait?

    The one smart thing they can do is allow Soldiers who have it to start wearing it as soon as they start issuing it to IET Soldiers. Once they start, you will have two uniforms in every formation anyway, so the more who wear it the better.

    • SSD says:

      The staffer didn’t “figure it out”, he asked the Army and that is what they told him.

      • 32sbct says:

        Bad wording on my part, I should have said if the Army can tell a congressional staffer what the plan is they should tell everyone else too.

  10. orly? says:

    If only SOMEONE with enough rank had the balls to cry BS back then.

    But then again, the title for someone who whistleblew back then would have been “traitor” I’m sure.

  11. Engineer says:

    One does not simply… Conduct an empirical camouflage improvement survey and select a winner.

  12. majrod says:

    Congresscritter:

    Why did we spend millions on the camo improvement program?

    Who in the Army decided to ignore those results and just select UCP?

    (FTR, that’s exactly what we did with UCP and while I’m not equating UCP and OCP is there a better camo that we are ignoring?)

    Who won the competition I paid for?

    • SSD says:

      I spoke with the staffer who wrote this email and explained that they had been misled.

      Btw, when you want someone to help you out, it’s best not to refer to them in a derogatory manner. There’s no politics on this one, yet.

  13. James says:

    Can anyone confirm that the USAF will follow suit? Obviously UCP is terrible, but the ABU tiger stripe has to be worse! The vast majority of Airman are anxiously awaiting it’s demise!

    • SSD says:

      I’ve written about it recently. Search the archives.

      • James says:

        The archives do give me hope, but on the other side, the CSAF recently said the ABU was a good uniform and had no intention of replacing it. Understandably things change in an instant within the DoD so nothing is set in stone. I do appreciate your stance on the uniform debacle. As an Airman stuck in arguably the worst product of the camouflage war, you give us all hope that someday we won’t have to walk around in embarrassment over a uniform we should wear proudly!

        • SSD says:

          As an Air Force retiree I find the uniform foistered upon my fellow Airmen as an embarrassment. You deserve better.

  14. Paralus says:

    Big Army employs the spin machine again.

    Because the Army has tossed out the Phase IV results, they have no weight behind any potential argument to make OCP/MC/WTF a universal camo for the entire US Military.

    If I were the Marines (or anyone else), I’d say, “F*&% Big Army and F%*& OCP, we’re not giving up MARPAT for OCP since it hasn’t been tested to be superior”.

    In fact, they might have a better chance of getting MARPAT adopted as a universal service camo instead of OCP/MC/WTF because it has been in service longer and they can show their own tests. Then Army would be stuck explaining why they choose OCP instead of Phase IV winner if the Phase IV winner was superior to OCP/MC/WTF and MARPAT.

    Of course, the brain-dead, play-it-safe, mediocre assholes with stars on their shoulders who made this chickenshit decision will be retired and collecting a salary from a defense contractor by then, so nobody will be around to blame.

    • Sgt E says:

      The Commandant has stated that the Marines are not giving up MARPAT. Now what lengths he is willing to go to keep it are yet to be known to my understanding.

      I do think it’ll be hard for us to keep MARPAT if the Army and AF adopt OCP. The people that make these choices will see a “newer camo”, per the US forces at least, and one that they just invested untold amounts of money into versus the much smaller USMC force.

      Personally, I’d like to see them do camo tests based on “hotspots” and projected deployments around the globe. Develop the best camo for say… Korea… and issue that to forces there or at least have the pattern and plans to acquire it, in mass, if something were to break out. They could do this and probably for minimal cost as they wouldn’t be buying mass amounts. They could develop a uniform test and compare these camos against each other based upon that. Maybe that is making it too simple, I don’t know as I don’t work in the industry, but it makes sense to me. It would help us from playing catch-up years after a conflict breaks out.

      Now this is absolutely unrealistic: They need to fire the people responsible for these screw ups and dismantle the network built into the the DoD of handing out money for second rate bs.

      • SSD says:

        Sgt E,

        Please, by all means read the archives regarding the Army camouflage improvement effort. They did in fact do an operational analysis of future “hot spots” and tested the patterns in areas that mimic those “hot spots”. Neither the Marine Corps nor the Air Force did that. The Navy did it in a limited way.

        As for what this CMC says? Well, it’s easy to say “never” when the issue won’t come to a head until after he retires. And, the military is going to do what it’s civilian masters say. His attitude is embarrassing, for all of us.

        • steveb says:

          Yup, there are areas/environments in the U.S. (if you include Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico) that can mimic almost any environment on earth quite well.

        • Sgt E says:

          Ah, well I stand corrected, but my intention is to be a much more individualized camo per different areas of operations if possible than what I’ve read as 4 slightly different variants.

          The civilian masters didn’t seem to have the balls to force the USMC to give up MARPAT before for whatever moronic reason though which is what worries me. I agree it’s easy for him to make this claim with little worry of needing to defend his position, but it’s still worrisome.

          • SSD says:

            I agree that even more specialized patterns would be more effective. However, the more specialized the pattern, the less effective it is in other environments.

    • steveb says:

      IF the Army has indeed ‘tossed out’ the Phase IV results, I must agree with Paralus.

  15. USMColddawg says:

    There is an article in this week’s Army Times about the camo fiasco. I am just going to paste a piece of what I read and I quote “Inside the ranks, the issue is con­troversial. While distinct uniforms may be good for morale and culti­vate a sense of pride among the in­dividual services, others say the array of stripes and pixelated pat­terns is an unnecessary expense and makes no sense, since the un­derlying goal is to make troops less visible in a field environment, re­gardless of their service branch.

    Thisyear, theJointStaff’s topen­listed adviser, Marine Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, recently said the mix of uniformsmake theU.S. mil­itary look like a “Baskin-Robbins” and signaled his support for a com­mon uniform.

    But Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos recently said preserving the Corps’ MARPAT pattern is a top priority and de­claredthathisservicewillsticktoit “like a hobo to a ham sandwich.” N