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So Exactly Who Is The Guy In Charge of Army Camo?

I was going to do this great post on how the Army would end up spending more money on a proprietary government-owned camouflage solution than just adopting the commercially available MultiCam when I ran across this little gem in yesterday’s print edition of the Army Times. In an article entitled, “Army Expects ‘Family Of Camo Patterns”, COL Robert Mortlock, Program Manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at PEO Soldier dropped this one on us:

“We have testimonials from soldiers in theater [who get] close enough to the enemy to hear them saying they can’t see the Americans,” he said. “That’s powerful. That’s a combat multiplier. So that’s how important camouflage is to a soldier’s mission.”

All through the article, it goes on about how they are looking for something new, to replace MultiCam. And then, at the end, this quote. My jaw literally dropped. What he failed to mention in that quote was that those Soldiers are wearing that same MultiCam he wants to get rid of. That’s right; the very pattern that this guy is going hell bent for leather to replace, is what makes our guys so awesome. He’d rather waste time and tax payer money to develop something unproven rather than give Soldiers what they (and he) know(s) works. Classic. I just can’t understand how a guy can acknowledge that a product is super effective and yet want to replace it with something he had cooked up because he has some kind of a grudge against the manufacturer. He’s interested in camouflage all right, just as long as it isn’t MultiCam.

So who exactly is this Mortlock guy anyway?

I have been struggling with whether it was right to share COL Mortlock’s background with my readers because I didn’t want it to turn into some kind of personal hit piece. It’s not meant to be. Really. These are, after all, just open source facts, and I’m just presenting them to you. COL Mortlock’s actions will tell you what kind of a man he is. I’m just showing you his background.

COL Robert Mortlock

Over the weekend, I had decided I wasn’t going to talk about PM-SPIE’s background but when I read that quote above and my attitude changed. I figure it’s more than fair that everyone is fully aware of the background of the guy who is in charge of the process of selecting a new camouflage for the US Army. Remember, whatever this guy does regarding camouflage, the US Army will be stuck with for decades to come.

Granted, COL Mortlock is an Acquisition Corps officer and they come from every branch of arms. Ironically, the acquisition profession was created in order to make sure that goat ropes like this don’t happen. Since he’s in Acquisitions, you can’t exactly throw stones at the fact that he is a Chemical Officer by trade and not a Combat Arms officer. That’s not his fault. But this is kind of a systemic problem now, isn’t it? The military’s assignments system is notorious for putting the wrong guy in the right job. Usually, you can power through, but in this case, you’ve got a fellow in charge of camouflage that hasn’t had any troop time since punching his Company Command ticket for 13 months back in the mid-90s, in Hanau, Germany. With a war raging for the past 12 years, you’d think the Army could find someone with more relevant experience. However, I’d like to point out that he is airborne, air assault and Ranger qualified. That does carry some weight. Additionally, I’ve been told that he deployed in 2005 for three months in support of 18th Abn Corps.

20140325-075208.jpg

I’m not even going to comment on what follows except to say that it is very impressive. The guy has one heck of a background (including a PhD), in spite of that three years at FCS. I’ll just place the CV that he uses on LinkedIn here for you to read. If it’s missing something pertinent to his current position, it’s because he left it out.

Robert Mortlock’s Overview

Current

Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at US Army

Past

Director, Army Budget Office at US Army
Product Manager, FCS, Infantry Combat, Medical and Recovery Vehicles at US Army
Product Manager, Integrated Air and Missile Defense at US Army

Education

International College of the Armed Forces (ICAF)
Webster University
University of California, Berkeley

Robert Mortlock’s Experience
Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 2012 – Present (1 year 10 months)
Director, Army Budget Office
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

July 2011 – July 2012 (1 year 1 month)
Product Manager, FCS, Infantry Combat, Medical and Recovery Vehicles
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 2007 – June 2010 (3 years 1 month)
Product Manager, Integrated Air and Missile Defense
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

September 2005 – July 2007 (1 year 11 months) Huntsville, Alabama Area
Project Officer, Rapid Equipping Force and Joint IED Task Force
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

March 2005 – September 2005 (7 months) Fort Belvior VA
Assistant Project Manager, Joint Common Missile
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

July 2003 – March 2005 (1 year 9 months) Redstone Arsenal, AL
Project Officer, Joint PEO Chemical and Biological Defense
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

August 2000 – June 2002 (1 year 11 months) Fallls Church, VA
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 1997 – July 2000 (3 years 2 months) US Military Academy, West Point, NY
Company Commander
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 1995 – June 1996 (1 year 1 month) Hanua, Germany
Brigade Chemical Officer
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 1994 – June 1995 (1 year 1 month) Hanau Am Main Area, Germany
Platoon Leader
US Army

Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry

June 1993 – June 1994 (1 year 1 month) Buedigen, Germany
Robert Mortlock’s Skills & Expertise

Professional Engineer (PE)
Certified MBA
Acquisition Corps Member
Project Management
Systems Engineering
Test Management
Research and Development
Budgets
PMP
Leadership
Defense
Integration
Army

Robert Mortlock’s Education
International College of the Armed Forces (ICAF)
Master’s degree, Military National Resource Strategy and Policy

2010 – 2011

Webster University
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

2002 – 2003

University of California, Berkeley
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Chemical Engineering

1988 – 1992

Lehigh University
Bachelor of Science (BS), Chemical Engineering

1984 – 1988

Contact Robert for:

career opportunities
consulting offers
new ventures
job inquiries
expertise requests
business deals
reference requests
getting back in touch

Let the wild rumpus start!

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172 Responses to “So Exactly Who Is The Guy In Charge of Army Camo?”

  1. Russ Anderson says:

    It would be interesting to do an audit of this guys finances. Should be an open issue for this kind of profession as well as politicians. It would allow you to follow the money trial and see if his decision is being influenced or swayed by monetary pressures

    • dude says:

      Not should be, is. AQ officers submit financial disclosure forms and their review is part of the AQ assignment process.

    • straps says:

      This COL isn’t being bribed. He’s been a government official for a long, LONG time, who works for government officials who have been around even longer.

      There is a possibility that careerism could be affecting his integrity on this matter.

      This is more likely bureaucratic ineptitude and .gov myopia.

  2. Jason says:

    This has to be a sick joke.

    How is it possible that the person in charge of this office has no combat deployment time!!??? After 12 years of war!!

    • Desert Lizard says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Hardchawger says:

      If you look at his DA Photo in his AKO profile, he is wearing a CSIB on his ASU. Also, many old timers have not deployed in the last 12 years but fought in Panama and the Gulf War.

    • WB says:

      More than half of the members of the armed forces have never deployed to a combat zone. When I heard that I was taken back. HQ staffs need people and they don’t go forward.

      • David says:

        You don’t need combat experience to procure clothing. You do however need to listen to reports from the theater and look at what is available and what works.

        I find it funny that so many other Armed Forces are going to versions of Multicam and the US has been using it for a long time in Afghanistan and other areas but it gets rejected by the very country that started the Multicam craze in the first place!

  3. Fly on the Wall says:

    Given his bright trail of success in stillborn missile systems that went nowhere and the on-time, under budget, surpassing spce resounding triumph that was FCS, I can’t think of a better guy to manage the clothing and enablers of the most fundamental of combat systems: the man with the rifle taking and holding ground.

    • JAR says:

      Yep. And the Army’s NLOS was also supposed to be adopted by the US Navy for that awesome ship that is always parked at the pier with no current capabilities: the LCS. So you can say that he screwed the pooch for the Army and Navy. But, who knows, I do know if was his fault or what was mandated for him to manage. We all know how contracted items work. This can be said about the Army’s camo. Is it him, or, is he just doing what he is told to run with? That is what usually happens in the military, but, being a high level officer, do they have discretion about the matter(s)? That bright star shining in his eyes has to be a factor.

  4. Kaos-1 says:

    He’ll get his star, retire, get hired as a lobbyist for some billion dollar defense contractor to sell the next latest and greatest self-propelled laser guided left handed smoke shifter. What a waste of a pair of boots.

  5. SSD says:

    COL Mortlock is jump quailed as well as a graduate of Ranger school, although I cannot substantiate any airborne assignments. I’ve added a photo.

    • AGI says:

      A few quals likely earned as an ROTC cadet followed by a long admin career largely spent in carpeted classrooms and project offices may earn one high rank and position in today’s Army, but does not necessarily provide adequate perspective to command combat units or have responsibility and accountability for combat-related programs. Unfortunately, the Army has been selecting for commands and key staff positions based on frilly resumes and not TO&E experience for many decades now. The AAC concept is critically flawed because of this.

    • Hardchawger says:

      I saw his photo in AKO. He also has the Germany Proficiency badge and appears to have the 18 ABN Corps. Patch. Photo is small but I think I can see it.

      I think the assumptions being made about the guy are very premature and unnecessary and what is he doing is coming down from higher.

      • SSD says:

        That is awesome stuff. But what you are saying is that he is just following orders and if it was up to him the Army would already be in a new camo?

        • ZB says:

          SSD, that is how the Army works… COL Mortlock doesn’t get to make the decision on a new camo for the entire Army. We know that phase IV testing was completed and presented to Army leadership. We know that various Acquisition Corps officials and DA G4 leaders have been meeting with the Sec Army and CSA regarding the “Crye Conundrum”. They’re the ones in charge of Army wide decisions. COL Mortlock isn’t somehow keeping the decision from being made. The only people that can be blamed for this are the Sec Army and CSA. Their inaction in July following the reported completion of phase IV and continued inaction are why we’re still wearing UCP; not the incompetence or malicious intent (as proposed by other readers) of COL Mortlock.

          • SSD says:

            You’re right, he doesn’t. But his shop is where every bit of information provided to leaders originates and where COAs are developed. A commander is only as good as his staff. If the Army leadership is making bad calls regarding Camo, it is most likely based on info coming out of PM SPIE. That’s a lot of responsibility.

            • Terry B says:

              Exactly right SSD. Unfortunately many staffs get mired in the trap of trying to give the boss what they think he or she WANTS. That is what appears to me to be happening in this case.

              It is a lot tougher (and requires more moral courage) to give commanders what they NEED to make a truly informed decision. And that means delivering the unvarnished truth – warts and all. That is what a PM should be doing without fail and regardless of any potential career considerations.

              I am certain that camouflage – as important as it is – is not what GEN Odierno is spending most of his time worrying about. That business of losing BCTs and the larger issues of slipping readiness probably weight much heavier on his mind. And rightly so.

              I lived in the last “hollow army” and I can assure you that the adoption of the woodland BDUs didn’t “fix” anything. And as much as I want the camo issue resolved rapidly and positively, I know that it won’t matter very much if we let readiness collapse at the same time (yet again).

              My point is we all need to keep some perspective despite the passion we bring to this particular subject.

              • Really?! says:

                With dwindling numbers, and fewer brigades to fight our wars, concealment IS a big deal. In the Colonel’s own words effective camo IS “a force multiplier”. Our current pattern works the other way. Ordinary-O, and everyone with the power to correct this quagmire, needs to make a decision soon.

                If something serious broke out, Op-tempo would outpace the supply system (as demonstrated in most of our major conflicts throughout history). Everyone wearing UCP (glows-in-the-dark, clashes with everything) would be exposed to the enemy. The effect of delaying this decision further: a smaller, less effective Army.

                In the Colonel’s own words effective camo IS “a force multiplier”. Our current pattern works the other way.

                • Terry B says:

                  Really?! I believe concealment and camouflage are just as important as you do. But our Army (and the other services) will have a hell of a lot bigger issues if we have tank crews or artillerymen that haven’t live fired in a blue moon.

                  Likewise, if we have infantrymen that have only fired 40 rounds to qualify in the previous 12 months. If we don’t have the fuel to take the vehicles out of the motorpool to train. Of course that last might not be an issue if we don’t have the repair parts to keep the vehicles operational anyway. No shit, that is what the late 70s was like.

                  Of course, little Joint issues like the elimination of the A10 from the AF and reduction in Navy combat vessels severely impact the Army and the USMC ability to even get to the fight or sustain themselves when they get there.

                  Airlift will be severely limited or unavailable for paratroopers to keep current – let alone practice airfield seizures. So you walk to the DZ and pretend to jump and assemble and seize objectives. Ships stay in port without funds and the Marines also pretend to storm the beaches rather than do truly realistic training. We did all of that nonsense in the early 80s.

                  If you have only served in the last dozen years or so years of (relative) budget abundance you might not have the institutional memory about how bad it can get. I’ve lived with that nonsense multiple cycles. It can get that bad again.

                  What color uniform we wear on the parade field as we case BCT colors doesn’t concern me as much as those other challenges I’ve mentioned. I also know that if our people are untrained or poorly trained, NO camouflage uniform will magically compensate and turn them into super troopers.

                  Bottom line, I’d much rather go to war with well trained studs in ACUs then with untrained asshats in any camouflage you can name. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that and the Army unscrews this issue soon.

                  At

                  • Really?! says:

                    Terry B,

                    I can appreciate your point, as you take us all on a stroll down memory lane. No, I wasn’t there for the budget crisis of the late 70s, but I was there when we invaded Afghanistan (and Iraq).

                    You make it sound as if getting rid of a worthless camo will bankrupt the Army. However, the timely switch to an effective pattern has relatively nothing to do with funding.

                    Here is why..
                    1. Every day, the Army spends big money replenishing stocks for initial trainees, field inventory, Reserve to Active transfers, recruiter issue, etc… This is money spent on a highly ineffective pattern.
                    2. Every month Army leaders fail to make a decision is a month of wasting unknowable amounts of money. If uniforms must be purchased, they may as we’ll be effective.
                    3. By at least attempting to pressure decision makers to actually make a decision we are working to undo one of the greatest follies in recent military history.
                    4. The “elimination of the A10″ and the “reduction of Navy combat vessels” is not at all within the scope of the Army’s decision making process.

                    • Terry B says:

                      Really?! I must not be doing a good job of communicating if you think I was just reminiscing about old times. Please let me try to be more clear. I wasn’t just around back then. I was also there for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It has only been 27 months since I retired (yes, I’m still counting it by month).

                      I served for over 36 years in Infantry and Special Forces and have all the usual experiences that go with that service. That said, I’m not claiming to be more “special” than anyone else making comments. But I’m also not joe shit the ragman either.

                      The fact is that I have been around longer than most and lived through more of the Army’s jackassery than most. That is the context or perspective I was trying to share.

                      I never said anything about the cost of replacing uniforms. I concur you and SSD (and others) who have pointed out correctly that uniforms and associated gear are a minor expenditure in the Army’s and DoD’s budget.

                      I was trying to point out that choosing the next camouflage ASAP- no matter how important you or I or anyone else feels it to be – is far from the most critical challenge the Armed Forces face right now. That’s all.

                      And you are right about the Army not “owning” the problems of the Navy and the Air Force. But the Army is definitely a stake holder in those decisions. And I know that Army leaders spend a great deal of time worrying about the future of top notch close air support when those A10s go away as one example.

                      But I would respectfully disagree with you if you think this camouflage kaboki dance is the one of the “greatest follies in recent military history”. I’m not even sure it is in the top ten.

                      I don’t want to be accused of dragging anyone “down memory lane” again but I can think of many more much costlier (in terms of $ and even lives lost) boondoggles the services and the Army in particular have been guilty of in the last decade or so.

                      Finally, I appreciate you and everyone else engaging in this dialog and with SSD working on getting the news out. I certainly find it helpful and informative.

                    • Really?! says:

                      I understand your point now. Respect. Thanks for all you’ve done. Doing the math in my head, I would bet money that I was just starting the Q course right about the time you crossed the 20 year mark. So, please don’t think I missed the point of your words, or the depth of their meaning. However, this decision is pretty dog gone simple. The Army spends a little money to save a lot of money. Nobody gets swoopy-cool bullets for their OER, but we all get EFFECTIVE camo.

                    • Terry B says:

                      I agree. That would be the best solution at this point. But I never underestimate the Army’s ability to snatch ignoble defeat from the jaws of glorious victory. So I’m betting that the ultimate solution / decision will not be quick or cheap or sensible.

                      On a side note, a piece was just posted on Kit Up that says the Army is reducing livefire training by 60%. And so it begins.

                      VR
                      Terry

                    • Really?! says:

                      Again, I see your point…. Invaluable training/experience succumbs to the lack of funds. Tragic. I can remember my first live fire exercise, in a REAL shoot house, and how much I learned from firing live rounds in the presence other soldiers (brothers really). I will never forget how much I grew from that experience. Down range, training takes over and you’re glad you had a chance to learn before meeting the enemy on his “home field”.

                      I hope the powers that be can make the right decision amidst all the chaos, at hand.

                      I also think we all bare the responsibility to pressure those few politically-minded “leaders” to hurry the hell up and make the right decision. After all, it has only been 9+ years and Billions of dollars.

                    • Terry B says:

                      Amen Brother, Amen!

  6. AV says:

    As a guy who, at one time, heavily dealt with acquisitions, this is pretty appalling from a SPIE stand-point. In my years of active-duty and time with SOF, I am more qualified by relevant experience than this guy…However, this is also what is becoming so typical with the requirements shops around the services. Time for the good Colonel to answer some questions…

  7. FLC says:

    His ability to listen to Soldiers, His ability to take advice from the experts, and implement said advice. His ability to MANAGE the programs, is whats most important here. Not the last time he carried a ruck.
    SSD you are doing an awesome job leading the fight, and lighting a fire under Army leaders to do the right thing.

    • AV says:

      Agreed, but in counterpoint we have seen all too many times a lack of an intimate understanding of the problem get in the way of capability and progress, while giving way to how things look on paper or spend-plans. Ability to lead Soldiers and manage programs is paramount in a job like this, but perspective weighs substantially too – a required trifecta, if you will – to breed intelligent decision making during times of constrained resources and political pressures. I’m not arguing that the guy needs to have carried a ruck in the last few years to understand it, rather he needs to have some relevant experience to truly understand the depth and dimension of the problem and an objective, effective end-state. Rhetorically, if he is at the center of the current debacle, doesn’t that essentially point that not only is he missing an intimate perspective, but also may have difficulty with the qualities you mention? It is a tough job, no doubt and there is a grave responsibility, with lasting effects, resting on an Forcemod’s or PM’s shoulders; however, it is their inherent duty to do the things you state — at this point, although I admit outward appearances can be deceiving, it is certainly not apparent he is doing that.

      • SSD says:

        I don’t think anyone questions a guy’s background if he is doing the right thing. But when you begin to see some questionable behavior, like we are here, you should expect someone to start to look at all facets of the issue.

        • Anthony says:

          Exactly. You have to find a root cause for illogical decisions and it is usually an issue with not knowing what they don’t know.

    • james says:

      If he has never been in the fight and lived in his ACUs or delt with their strengths and weaknesses he has to make his judgements on others opinions… without the groundtime to verify it…

      Here is the way I would look at it… would you let the guy who developes the product formulation run the company in a tooth paste factory… ?

      Good leaders have a wide range of experience to draw upon…

    • JAR says:

      But, is it up to his discretion or not? Has he make his stand, but been beat down? Everyone knows how the military works, including politics. Does he even have a choice in the matter now, or at any time? Once the star peeks over the horizon, politics takes precedence over what is right in a lot of cases. So, it would be better if we could get better insight and track down who is driving the bus. I am assuming that that is a big if.

      • SSD says:

        He’s been quite exuberant in his support if this plan.

        • majrod says:

          Yep, that is a problem.

          The question is why?
          Is it CYA?
          Is it a public face while behind the scenes he’s fighting tooth and nail (many a time I carried out my bosses guidance while personally being against it. It’s a military thing).

          Have you interviewed him or asked for an interview?

          BTW, while you have exposed his name and background you have not done the same. I love SSD but the lack of bylines has always bothered me.

  8. SSD says:

    Thanks for keeping it clean and on track guys.

    • jrexilius says:

      hehehehe..

    • SSD says:

      I have read several comments that allege malfeasance by those involved in this process. I will say that, based on my interaction over the years with the personnel at PEO Soldier and Natick, no one is feathering their nest or on the take. I have never seen any evidence of that.

  9. Mitchell Fuller says:

    SS readers take this contact info and make your views known directly to this man and your representatives. For those on the sharp end, your life my depend on having the best camo available and, apparently, already fielded and per CP’s press release winner of last round of camo trials.

    If price is the issue re Multicam, interesting he worked on the FCS, how many billions were wasted on that cancelled program.

    Senior Army leadership continues to demonstrate its incompetence.

    • SSD says:

      I would agree that COL Mortlock’s long association with FCS is certainly germane to the issue at hand.

      Considering the amount of money spent on that failed program, the amount required to fix Army camo is almost inconsequential.

      It’s obvious this is personal.

      • straps says:

        Personal as in he dislikes Caleb Crye? Because that’s not the first time I’ve heard that from people in the system…

        …who drink on his dime at SHOT.

        But if it DOES come down to personal dislike for Crye (people or persons–as the refusal for even a token counter-offer kinda indicates), this O-6 needs to be looked at.

      • UVRC says:

        Is it personal as in NIH (Not Invented Here)? That is considered by some to be a longstanding problem of Natick.

  10. m5 says:

    Perhaps not fair to go so much down on the person….? Besides, having a PhD from Berkeley in chemical engineering means that he must be pretty smart. Combat experience or not, with those merits, he should easily be qualified to tackle the camo selection issue at hand. It’s not rocket science, exactly (although designing the camo might require advanced mathematical methods).

    That said, the current camo selection limbo of the Army seems to imply an amazing level of (at least) organizational incompetence.

    Why on Earth did they not simply release the results of the Phase IV camo improvement effort? And stick to it. If it was even halfway as good a study as claimed…

    • Steven S says:

      You are way behind on this issue. Look at some of SSD’s older articles. There you will find why they are not using the winner of phase IV.

      • m5 says:

        ?? Please enlighten me.

        The SSD entry from March 7:th – yes – this year:
        http://soldiersystems.net/2014/03/07/us-army-considers-3-coas-camo-replacement/

        Is the NDAA the reason why the camo improvement effort is no longer an option? Because the Phase IV result announcement and camo adoption was delayed? Or what?

        “The Forgotten Option
        For some reason, the Army has abandoned the multi-year, Phase IV testing of the Camouflage Improvement Effort. All of the commercial candidate patterns out performed baseline (MARPAT and AOR). And as we understand it, the Crye Precision offering, while just barely, came out on top. If the Army would just award Phase IV, it could adopt the Crye Precision family of patterns and pay a measly $639,863.99 for the privilege. Is there a loophole in the NDAA? Maybe. It was used by the Army, although in a Test and Evaluation environment only, prior to adoption of the NDAA language as law.

        Finish what you’ve started. “

    • Darren says:

      Unfortunately having a PhD does not neccesarily equate to having the common sense and moral fortitfude to make the right decision for generations of soldiers that require the best camo available.

      • Josh says:

        I don’t think it’s a common sense issue. I belive it is as you stated “moral fortitude” that is the primary factor.

  11. Soldierflauge says:

    After reading this I have to wonder what this guy has up his sleeve. He won’t buy something that works. I’d say it’s because he doesn’t see a pay off there. This attempt to create a new camo has got to be motivated somehow by money. What is he getting from the makers of this new camo?

    • Reverend says:

      The makers of this Camo would be the Army so I don’t think they would give him anything for not selecting MC he just does not like MC in my opion.

    • jrexilius says:

      Don’t under estimate ticket punching and ego. Not every thing everyone does is motivated by money. I’m not saying his reasoning is not based on something other than the mission but it may not be money.

      The only colonel’s I trust are the ones already passed over for their star.

    • Philip says:

      I still think that someone deep within the bowels of Natick is still pissed that back in 2002, Crye managed to design a camouflage pattern far superior to anything that’s come from Army R & D in years, and has an axe to grind as a result.

  12. Weaver says:

    Unfortunately, he won’t get a great OER bullet for innovative thinking and out-of-the box management for just saying “Multicam is awesome, let’s buy it.” He needs something special to hang his star on, even if that means spending tons of money getting yet another sub-standard product in the end.

    • SSD says:

      At least this time, unlike with UCP, there is somebody watching and the process is being well documented. Maybe “Mortlock” will become the “Munson” of the acquisition world. Like, “that program was on track until the good idea fairy showed up and it was Mortlocked.”

  13. Glas says:

    Gen. Ostrowski is a soldiers, soldier. You would think he would put a boot in somebody’s ass to fix this

    • SSD says:

      I’ve watched BG Ostrowski assume a bunker posture during his time at PEO Soldier. An assignment that should have been the pinnacle of his career has been marred by the Individual Carbine program and now, multiple missteps regarding camouflage. I am disappointed.

      • JAR says:

        He has probably already fought the fight behind closed doors, which I would be willing to bet on. With his background, I do not see a lack of common sense or will to fight. I would say that he cannot resolve the matters inside or outside and has therefore clamped down instead of killing his career for no reason. That may sound like quitting to some, but making a choice to stop when you cannot win can be good. He could go back to his field and win the fights there, which is more probable.

  14. MAJ Michael says:

    The automatic assumption that he’s on the take is repungent. What, praytell, happened to ‘innocent until proven guility?’

    • SSD says:

      I agree. I don’t believe he’s on the take but I run across this sentiment a lot. It’s hard for people to comprehend why someone would run a program that fielded a bad solution unless they were on the take. Sometimes incompetence is at play. Sometimes, it’s “the system”.

      • jrexilius says:

        Or ticket-punching, or ego. There are other non-mission driven bad motives as well as incompetence. I actually think money is the smaller portion of blame than most people seem to think.

        • JAR says:

          That is the problem. How to find out who/what/when/where. Is this program classified? I would think not, and if so, only specific details. I can understand the need and desire to keep matters out of the hands of our enemies and public knowledge. I would prefer that. But, the issue needs to be addressed and some comments given to ensure that it is being properly addressed. It is a serious matter when our soldiers are running around looking like grey ghosts everywhere. That is what matters the most.

      • Anthony says:

        So do you think that the “death of the expert” is at play here? The reason I ask is that I feel like I am seeing that government wide in the last decade or so.

  15. The other Mike says:

    The camo decision is not made by one man in a vacuum. There are technical experts that all get a crack at the source selection. I bet if COL Mortlock could speak his mind he would tell you the NDAA is the root of all evil in his shop right now. I believe he is trying to get us what we need while complying with the law at the same time. In my view there is no rush since the soldiers in the field have what they need which we all agree works well.

    • SSD says:

      There is but one option that doesn’t violate the NDAA. That’s MultiCam. Inaction led the Army to its current predicament.

      • The other Mike says:

        True. Given the limited information I have, I would think Multicam is the only way to go with AOR/MARPAT bookends for the other environments. Perhaps they are testing various schemes with different OCIE colors in this month’s wear test.

        Think happy thoughts.

    • Riceball says:

      The thing is, they could have easily avoided the NDAA by actually announcing the Phase IV winner in a timely manner before the NDAA came into effect. But instead, they dragged their feet on it so that now the NDAA is in effect and renders the results of the Camo Improvement Program null and void. Makes you wonder if the Army was even really serious about the CIP and ever had any intentions of fielding the Phase IV winner.

      • The other Mike says:

        You’re absolutely right. I think they are serious about getting new camo they are just not in a huge rush to do it. I can understand the frustration from the industry as well.

        Slightly off topic: The new 670-1 says that bags must be black or match the camoflage worn, no exception for OCIE color. Really don’t want to have multicam bags I can’t wear in uniform, so I hope this goes through.

  16. Steven S says:

    You know what would be great? This article creates enough noise that the Colonel himself comes to defend his actions. Maybe shed a light on the subject too.

    However, that seems highly unlikely.

  17. Toby says:

    That doesn’t surprise me in the least. Bad Company Tactical was invited to visit the SEP or Soldier Enhancement Program Office. We were told that our R2S was not just evolutionary but rather revolutionary. That it was the perfect solution for many problems. In fact it was called the next Picittinni Rail. Meaning is standardizes attachment across the board. That it was perfect for the Army’s holster program and for the M320. So needless to say they were not currently interested. The problem is if some officer can not take credit for it or there is not a job or kick back waiting for them they truly are not interested in pushing it forward. This is the sort of political crap that has ruined our advantage in war fighting. I am not trying to plug BCT but rather pointing out that you can give them a product that exceeds their wildest dreams and if there is not something in it for those guarding those gates, they don’t want it. So much for giving our war fighters the best. I guess that line is just for politicians who are up for elections. Sorry to bitch, but this is getting ridiculous. GOD bless all of you serving out there and those that support us.

    • Art says:

      You do realize that the Army can’t just buy something no matter how great the product is right? The Army can only buy something if a requirement exists to buy that “widget”. If there is no requirement, and the Army procures an item for fielding to Soldiers, people go to jail for that.

      • majrod says:

        Bingo! But it’s so much more satisfying to accuse someone of careerism.

        Don’t get me wrong, careerism exists and is a plague but to accuse it without evidence is wrong…

    • Toby says:

      I would like to take a moment to apologize for my statement above. It has been brought to my attention that what I had mentioned above was unfair and unprofessional. Being a man of character and integrity I would like to apologize to any one I may have offended.
      It is my experience that what is see is or can be taken as fact. That is obviously not the case but as we all know most of the time what we see will most assuredly taken as fact. Now is some cases that is safe, fair, and accurate. In this case I will stand up and take fault in my statement. It would be unfair for me to assume that officers, enlisted, or any one for that matter would be on the take. Now it may seem that way but it would up to us to not only quantify this with fact but also be cognizant of what we say as well. So again let me apologize for my statement and take responsibility for my words. They were not ment to offend nor were they ment to be taken as fact. My case and many others like it presented the argument that it was a rational statement based on perception, I now stand corrected and recede my previous post on this blog. I hope that this will not tarnish my posts here on SSD and that this will in fact add to my credibility as an individual who takes responsibility for my actions and words. GOD bless every one of you and I hope this finds every one well.

  18. Reverend says:

    Hey guys! Welcome to “Corporate Hell”. We go thru this CONSTANTLY! The Front Line managment get these “jokers” in who have never done a damned thing but pad a resume, then come in as “experts”, barking orders, and trying to change things, without even finding out the process already in place, and what is successful.

    Luckily, these f’cktards only last a couple years, then move on… then we front liners have to repair the damage.

  19. Desert Lizard says:

    I think the program has become so unproductive and so off track, that it doesn’t need someone with a program manager mentality – it needs someone with a leader mentality. There is a place for program managers, but not here, not now.

  20. Superfly says:

    This is straight up character assassination. There is nothing in COL Mortlock’s prior experience to indicate anything other than he is a highly capable officer.

    More often than not, and I’m willing to bet it’s the case here, is that the broken link is on the requirements side. Acq program managers will build/buy whatever the warfighter needs, provided the requirement is clearly articulated. Either the proponent school house or the warfighter can’t figure out what they want in a new camo pattern and they are unable to settle on a defined requirement.

    • Jason says:

      You can’t be serious.

    • SSD says:

      Nope, not gonna fly, superfly. Sharing the same data COL Mortlock uses on LinkedIn to woo industry is hardly character assassination. Mortlock might be the second coming of the Messiah, but the requirement was issued to industry years ago. Industry answered and the Army evaluated their offerings. The new law on military camouflage was enacted after the Army started marking time on this issue. I am watching people point everywhere but the schwerpunkt.

      If you’re not going to hold a PM accountable then what’s the point of the acquisition system?

      • Superfly says:

        I’m willing to admit when I’m mistaken, SSD.

        For my own edification, can you post a link to the AROC approved ICD, CDD, or CPD for camouflage? Even an ADM from the AAE directing PM SPIE to continue to develop camouflage in any phase of the Acq Life Cycle would be helpful.

        • straps says:

          …so what you’re saying is that somewhere in all those acronyms (which I’m SO impressed by your command of) is a justification to “digitize” the winning family of patterns after declining to counter the apparent winner’s licensing offer?

          If a failure to consider the bureaucracy behind the 7 acronyms you threw out is the issue, then it’s possible that more or different people need to be fired.

          My sense is that the Crye FOP will be digitized and annointed the winner whether said digitization works or not. Will this somehow make it more compliant with AROC, ICD, CDD, CPD, ADM, AAE and PM SPIE pronouncements?

          The best bosses I ever had (in the .com, .mil and .gov worlds) would straight up filet people who lord over them with bureaucratese, just to see if bureaucrats bleed.

          • Superfly says:

            Watch out, everybody…we’ve got a bad ass over here.

            Try to follow along: I posit that the underlying problems stem from a lack of defined requirements. SSD responds, indicating that requirements have been provided to industry. I responded with a request to provide the documents that constitute those requirements. Without those documents, I assume that the camo improvement program was really never intended to be a formal program of record.

            Usually, without an approved warfighter requirement, an authorization from the Congress, and a determination that a program is legally allowed to exist, efforts like the camo improvement program die on the vine. I suspect that’s what’s going to happen here.

            Bureaucracy? Yeah, probably. Dumb in this case? Most definitely. The fault of COL Mortlock? No.

          • Debaser says:

            I was just going to call him a paper hanger, but what you said was far nicer.

            I have a better idea, Superfly. Why don’t you just ask the warfighters what they prefer after 12 years of fighting? Here’s a hint: It starts with Multicam.

            • Superfly says:

              As a Soldier myself, couldn’t agree more. I hate gravel-flage and wish I could have issued Multicam underwear.

              Unfortunately, every warfighter preference does not turn into materiel somewhere down the line. Decisions have to be made, usually informed by the fiscal environment, as to which ones go ahead and which ones do not.

              Anger on COL Mortlock is not only misplaced, but indicates that very few people understand how the Army really works. Love it or hate it, it’s the system we have.

              • SSD says:

                This isn’t “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” Blaming the system rather than the individuals involved is exactly why there are problems.

                COL Mortlock is the PM. His program is in question. His office has spent a LOT of money testing camouflage. He has the answers he needs. Instead, he is spending more money. Lacking any transparency, it looks as if it is because he does not like the answers he already has.

        • SSD says:

          That is an excellent question. Where are those documents? Perhaps that is best directed at MCOE and PEO. They don’t seem to share with others, let alone answer emails.

          But, the majority of projects undertaken by PEO Soldier during its existence have lacked JCIDS documentation. Take for example the holster they just fielded. Or better yet, how about the ACU?

          The bottom line is, the Army put itself in the business of fielding camouflage when it kicked off the Army Camouflage Improvement Effort. If it’s going to pull an IC with camo, then it’s going to have to show that the candidate patterns did not out perform baseline. It can’t.

          The Army has a moral imperative to field an effective operational camouflage pattern. If you don’t agree, then perhaps you can explain the relative value of Soldier survivability and mission success.

          • Superfly says:

            I totally agree that Multicam appears to be better than the alternatives or the currently issued uniform. Besides the anecdotal evidence provided by warfighters and my own personal preference for it, I what I think a combat uniform should look like.

            I guess my whole point is that, whether you meant to or not, hitching COL Mortlock’s honorable military career to the languishing camo improvement project seemed to be an attempt at character assasination.

            When O5s and O6s are offered PMs, they are done so irrespective of their basic branch fit to that position. The AAC treats officers more as generalists, but expects them to be experts at the business of acquisition. Does COL Mortlock’s CV indicate a mismatch? Based upon what I see, absolutely not.

            • SSD says:

              So you don’t agree that a PM should be responsible for his programs?

              • Superfly says:

                What kind of question is that?

                I absolutely believe that PMs should be responsible for the responsible execution of resources in pursuit of a materiel solution to answer a legal requirement. The existence of that requirement is in question, especially in light of Congressional and Army leadership pressure to squash the camo improvement project.

                Why they’re doing that is another question entirely.

                • SSD says:

                  So Congress, who originally pressured the Army to improve camo is now pressuring the Army to kill it? What’s more, the Army leadership is out to kill it as well? And I’ve got it all wrong and COL Mortlock is the lone voice in the wilderness trying to make this happen? Wow, I’ve had it all wrong.

                  • Superfly says:

                    :-D

                    Now you get it!

                    PMs don’t kill their own programs.

                    Anyways…I’ve got to jet. I disagree with you on points that we’ve discussed, but I absolutely agree with you trying to bring light on these issues. Keep up the good work.

  21. 10thMountainMan says:

    I was going to link this to my facebook…… I reconcidered. The politics surrounding this issue will be detrimental to careers. I hope this gets resolved and we get a functional camouflage pattern in a timely matter. In the mean time I’m just going to shut up and color for as long as I’m accepting the paycheck. For those of you who are retired/separated, please keep up the good fight for those of us who can’t.

  22. JEFF says:

    I can read the resume bullet now.

    - Managed the implementation of NATICK developed camo pattern, saving the Gov’t hundreds of millions vs Contractor Developed pattern.

    Nevermind the NATICK camo may not be as effective and all soldiers deployed to OEF already have Multicam. Let’s just go ahead and recolor UCP and call it “good enough”.

    • Really. says:

      “Yup. That there looks like a purty good OER Colonel! …good bullets. …shows *initiative*. …written in such a way that you *appear* to have saved the Army money.

      So what, if you took your sweet-assed time “DEVELOPING” a knock off pattern, in lieu of all that pesky scientific testing we spent all those millions of dollars on. At this point, Colonel, the only thing that matters is that you have the appropriate bullets to get your star. Welcome to the club *General*!”

  23. Lucky says:

    SSD, Why is it that the United States Marine Corps has the Warfighter Laboratory, run by NCO’s that JUST CAME BACK FROM COMBAT SERVICE, but the Army has shit that is run by Officers that HAVE NEVER DEPLOYED in support of GWOT? Why can’t we lobby Congress to create an Army version of the Warfighter Lab, run by Enlisted Soldiers that have BOG experience? Is that too much common sense?

    • jrexilius says:

      Culture. Army officers still think they are some special breed of gentlemen that don’t need to dirty their hands with actual work. I love the that the military holds value in tradition and history but there are many aspects of the old British officer/enlisted mentality that should have been killed dead a long time ago. Navy is just as bad but at least their officers are stuck on the same boat. Air Force and Marines have that bit more squared away.

      • Lucky says:

        Agreed. The Marines embraced the Warrior Ethos, the Army just gives it lip service

        • Really?! says:

          Let’s be clear, the Army suffers from two very distinct mind-sets: the upper echelons think in terms of posturing for follow-on political or corporate careers; while the lower echelons are concerned with battle-proven technologies. Bottom line is that the men who ACTUALLY trade lead with the enemy are the ones left out of the Army’s “Military Decision Making Process”.

          Shameful.

    • majrod says:

      Really? What NCOIC was responsible for MARPAT? The M27? M32 grenade launcher?

      You best go back and look at the organizational charts. You’ll find Brigadier General Kevin J. Killea is in charge. Is Brigadier General a new NCO rank? There are officers in charge of all those programs. Check out his document for future projects and identify ONE NCO? https://www.mcu.usmc.mil/Research%20Topics/MCWL%20Thesis%20Topics%20March%202012a.pdf

      The Army does have combat experienced NCO’s involved with all these programs. They don’t get the press but they are there.

      Another case of blowing one’s horn and not reading the music.

      • Lucky says:

        The NCOIC of the Warfighter Laboratory. Thanks for playing, PHASE 1 RECYCLE

      • Lucky says:

        The only thing you should blow, is well.. I am gonna stop here because I am trying to be a nicer person. But, Retards like MAJROD are why the Army cannot have nice things

        • JAR says:

          Lucky, wtf are you talking about? Majrod is the man. Get off of your enlisted BS. Are you a FNG? The Army and the government has the power to do whatever they want in regards to camo. If they wanted MARPAT, then they would get it. The Marines would start gouging eyeballs, but it would happen. The Marines are fortunate in being able to take care of their own. I would do it too. That is a sign of good leadership and teamwork from the bottom up until the top and back again.

        • majrod says:

          Lucky – You do seem to have an oral fixation. Says much about your upbringing. I bet that’s where you earned your nickname. Everyone got “lucky”. :)

          Thanks for being “nice”.

  24. Hussar says:

    I am very disappointed in SSD. I believe they owe COL Mortlock an apology. To disparage an officer in the US military because he has faithfully and fully executed the assignments he has been ordered to is unjust. I remind SSD readers, that former President and five star General Dwight Eisenhower never had combat experience and they fought a world war during his junior officer career. I am sure that COL Mortlock would have proudly served in a combat theater if he had been detailed there. Moreover, I am equally sure he probably requested such assignments, but like Eisenhower and General Marshall and many other officers was not allowed to participate in combat operations much to their own chagrin.

    Yes, I would like to have more decisions made inside the beltway by officers and senior enlisted that have felt the sting of battle. However, to insinuate that an officer in the US military has actively chosen to absence themselves from battle borders on slander. Today, you are in luck. In the 18th century, hinting at such an insinuation would have meeting you COL Mortlock at dawn on the field honor, with your seconds holding your frock coats. Moreover, we all know too many officers who have been assigned to hazardous pay areas that have been there to only to have their tickets punched and spent all their time inside the wire or in the “green zone.” Are they any more capable than someone who was not assigned to a combat zone?

    COL Mortlock has a degree in chemical engineering—one of the most difficult engineering disciplines at the university. Moreover his undergraduate degree is from one of the top engineering schools in the country and his PhD is from one of the top universities in the world. I believe that COL Mortlock has more gray matter than your average SSD daily reader—I also believe he has more gray matter than I do.

    While I do not know, nor have I ever met the man, he seems to have all the qualifications to make knowledgeable decisions regarding the science behind the army’s future uniform decision: much more so than the anecdotal evidence that fuel discussion on blogs. If COL Mortlock can stand up to the politics facing him, I am sure he is more than capable of making the correct qualitative and quantitative scientific decisions concerning the matter at hand. However, if he falters or surrenders in the face of politics (as many officers with combat experience that you desire to make this decision often do to advance their careers) then you can expect the typical ill-advised inside the beltway bureaucratic outcome that follows politically based decisions.

    • Lucky says:

      ^Somebody drank Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid…

    • TEngg says:

      There are a number of options that could be happening. A few could be: he could be getting screwed by his subordinates who have a axe to grind with Crye or some other special interest. He could be biased. I think SSD is just holding his feet to the fire which I’ll talk about in the end.

      One thing you have to remember is, no matter how smart he might be doesn’t mean he’s practical. PhD engineers can be a little to ‘academic’ sometimes. Believe me. Sometimes they want the ‘perfect, elegant’ solution. If you don’t have someone who knows you can get to the point and just say “screw it we’ve hit the law of diminishing returns, run with it”, things can get dragged out to extremes. You have the problem of congress or others on the ‘food chain’ throwing you under the bus if you make a bad decision. Goodbye career, which shouldn’t be important…

      There also is the internal ‘politics’ of Natick to consider. They are a test lab and R&D shop at the same time. Think how do you justify your R&D existence to the people with the money, Congress, if your internal designs are getting smoked by commercial interests, even occasionally? Also, how do you justify the past sin of UCP? Congress might not blame the previous people running the camo program and blame you? It also makes congress look bad with people who could claim “you didn’t demand the best for our soldiers”, even if the congress critters didn’t know anything. My guess is that the whole situation is a giant CF of everyone trying to cover their butts.

      At this point the Col. must know what’s going on, especially after this article. From the info we have available now, IF complete, the Col.’s got a decision to make, the mission and men, or him. Then let the chips fall where they may.

    • AV says:

      Hussar, while very well spoken and worded, I think you may have missed the point entirely. I do not believe the editor was in any way attempting to disparage the character of the Colonel — in fact I know that he was not and neither was I by making comments about the Colonel’s lack of experience in combat arms or recent theaters of engagement.

      I believe the point here is that this program has taken a disastrous turn and transparency has vanished where it is concerned. There is very little logic coming from PEO that is recognized at this point by anyone inside the service or industry — that is cause for concern considering the lasting effects of the decisions being made. It’s not character assassination when questions are raised and a lot of people want answers? It’s a call for transparency and forthright dealings, for which the program office seems to be lacking at this juncture.

      This “program” has significant effects on the safety, survivability, and combat effectiveness of Soliders. It is also the most basic of individual issue n garrison, I can think of — it should not be managed at a sophomoric level and given the decision’s ability to last for decades, it should be taken very seriously — it should be managed by someone who has felt the rigors and toll of recent conflict and the capabilities, or lack there of, that stem from the Program Managers.

      If the program was on track, there was some degree of transparency present, and the PEO-SPIE was being regarded as conducting fair dealings by the majority, no one would question the background or experience of it’s PM. However considering none of those factors seem to be present, it raises concerns. Considering we have seen the effects of poor decision making many times, it is worth asking the question as to if the Colonel’s lack of perspective and experience have anything to do with why the program is so far off track.

    • Mick says:

      I think SSD’s point, which is far from character assasination, is that (like you said) they have all this high-end grey matter, and yet keep making seemingly nonsensical decisions.

      Like doing a huge, comprehensive camouflage study, and then not announcing the results. Like asking for a buyout price for MultiCam and then being shocked (Shocked!) when the buyout price is high. Like dragging their fee until Congress passed an NDAA that tied the Army’s hands (and this, especially… because that legislation didn’t materialize out of thin air… there was some warning that it was coming).

      So, with those seemingly bizarre decisions (I say seemingly, b/c there’s a chance there’s an explanation for them… miniscule, but a chance nonetheless), one has to wonder how that gray matter is being utilized…

  25. Bryan M says:

    ^ So the buck stops with… someone else.

  26. Mike Nomad says:

    Looking solely at the the information presented in the OP, and not confusing the ability to be a kick-ass Chem E with being a kick-ass… Camo Deliverator, a couple of things come to mind:

    As important as this decision/process is, a Colonel is making the decision. That gives me pause.

    Looking at his Linkedin profile information, the weight of the boiler plate used, unfortunately, far outweighs the weight of the bird, tabs, etc. on his uniform: He gives me the impression he has one foot out the door. In his current role, I do not get a warm, fuzzy feeling.

    My cynical perspective leads me to the following conclusion: He gets his star if he is successful in keeping the right thing from happening. He’ll do enough time in grade (probably as a drilling reservist) to retire at grade. Meanwhile, his active drill status means all his clearances remain fresh, and he can get his consultant on.

  27. Wardog 1-7 says:

    I think this may be a case of the COL knowing what the right choice is, but given his background with the FCS, he may be apprehensive about pushing anything forward for fear that it would follow the same fate as the FCS. Granted, going through Ranger School should have pushed some of that fear out of him, but he’s also been a senior officer long enough to know that politics weigh heavily on one’s career once you remove the silver oak leaf and replace it with an eagle.

    So, with that in mind, while he is essentially quoted as saying that he knows OCP works, he cannot commit to it if he is wanting to advance based on possible perceived political pressure due to the failed FCS. What would happen if he green-lighted OCP and then the Army went with something else? (Like that’s never happened before!) Or, what if he went with something else, and the “Great Idea Fairy” landed on someone more senior who decided that OCP was the right choice? In either case, he’s now essentially become a two-time loser in the Army, and that’s a career ender right there.

    I’m not trying to defend him, lord knows I’d love for the decision on what I’m going to be wearing once I get back to the States be finalized, but this whole thing reeks heavily of politics and does not bode well for those of us on the ground.

    • SSD says:

      So you’re telling us that guy in charge of the most basic of Soldier items is afraid to put forth a COA because he is afraid from his days at FCS?

      • Wardog 1-7 says:

        I’m not saying that’s the gospel truth, but it could possibly be a reason. Why else would you hold back something that is effective, and saves lives, if not for fear of political backlash? You’ve got to think that this guy is surely trying to get his star, so why not just ride things out, say he made some decisions, was part of the “big picture/process” and go out with a shining OER?

  28. GW says:

    The hand wringing and inaction are the results of…… the example that is being demonstrated all along the line. This starts with the top of the Chain of Command.

    The morale and soldier survival issues are the most important factors in all of this. To just not make the decision is placing troops in peril. Not making the decision is a blow to morale as the trooper sees that Army leadership does not really care about his survival. Pretty dramatic, but I hear it daily.

    I am sure that there are some companies that would hire an Army officer with that impressive resume, small business can not afford him. Aside from that we have ensure that we hire people that will impact our business immediately and for the long term. If the current civilian leadership gets its way, there will be a lot less opportunity for these guys to seek out.

    Small business is impacted greatly by this decision, I hope and pray that there is some resolution soon, for everyone along the supply chain.

    Thanks SSD, your spotlight has the rats scurrying.

  29. AV says:

    Thinking about the whole LinkedIn thing…It is very apparent to me that a lot of folks on active-duty have LinkedIn accounts for networking purposes. I had one prior to leaving active-duty, but it did not have hardly any information except my branch of service and nondescript unit affiliation. I looked at the PM’s profile and the CV is pretty darn complete – something a SOF GSB Colonel advised me not to do until I was 100% sure I was leaving active-duty and had submitted my papers. However, the PM pretty much has his resume posted and that is a dangerous thing to do when you are in a position with so much influence.

  30. STFoo says:

    The big question is whether this man was in his current position at the time UCP was chosen.

    Remember, the choice for UCP bypassed the complete camouflage selection project at Natick. I suspect that the same person(s) that forced the choice for UCP are behind the cancellation of the *second* Natick selection project, which would have led to choosing Multicam.

    From COL Mortlock’s CV I don’t see him being involved in the first selection project, so I doubt whether he is really the man behind the decision not to go with Multicam. I suspect he’s given firm instructions on that by somebody else…

  31. Thumpy Covey says:

    Holy flying crap, guys. The concept is simple. Put every single service member in harms’ way in some kind of uniform that improves their chances to survive, and lowers their odds of coming home wounded or in a metal crate. Nothing more, nothing less. If the man or woman at the top…and lets go all the way to the top…can’t get that job done, its time to change leaders and pull the trigger on this thing already. Just one non-grunt, taxpaying, flat-footed American voters take on this.

  32. Jack T says:

    University of California, Berkeley
    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) enough said!

  33. Hardchawger says:

    Also, it is no secret because his name was provided by Joe Gould of Army Times

    “but troops would only get the “bookend” patterns if they deploy, according to Col. Robert Mortlock, the program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment.” Joe Gould, Army Times

  34. Sal says:

    IMO Odierno is ultimately at fault for this. He’s the head of the Army FFS! If he was doing his job phase IV would’ve came to fruition and all this nonsense wouldn’t have happened.

  35. majrod says:

    “We have testimonials from soldiers in theater [who get] close enough to the enemy to hear them saying they can’t see the Americans,” he said. “That’s powerful. That’s a combat multiplier. So that’s how important camouflage is to a soldier’s mission.”

    This same thing has been said of other camo patterns both old and new. It doesn’t mean multicam is the answer.

    The bias strikes again.

    • SSD says:

      So he was talking about a different pattern? what other pattern is currently worn by Soldiers in combat? That certainly wasn’t said about UCP.

      • majrod says:

        “This same thing has been said of other camo patterns both old and new.”

        We have fought in ERDL, tiger stripe, woodland, choc chip, coffeestain where the same statement was likely made. I wasn’t just referring to the current conflict.

        You really have to expand your horizons past the last ten years. That’s why we tend to fight the next war like the last one.

        • SSD says:

          How many patterns this nation has issued since 1941 isn’t at question. You’ve suggested that COL Mortland wasn’t talking at all about Afghanistan or MultiCam at all. If he wasn’t, what was he talking about?

          • majrod says:

            No, I wasn’t suggesting Mortland was talking about anything besides Afghanistan. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough? Maybe you assumed?

            My point was to counter your logic that a single quote about multicam was enough to justify its acquisition as the single pattern for the Army. I’ve literally had a soldier step on my hand while wearing woodland camo. It didn’t mean it was the best pattern or suitable for all environments…

    • Sal says:

      The point is that the Army will spend millions of dollars developing a camp that is no more effective when they could’ve spent a fraction of that for the same result.

      I’m glad the Army is being such a good steward with our tax dollars. [/s]

    • Josh says:

      Biased to something that works? I guess I’m guilty, and the same goes for most of the army.

      • Mitchell Fuller says:

        Majrod, per press release by CP (which Army has not disputed), which can be found on SS, army informed CP in 2013 via teleconference that their patterns had won the phase IV trials.

        These patterns were based on Multicam and per Army majority of troops would be issued transitional pattern as standard field uniform. So, at this time Multicam is the best choice and is in use already, re no conflict with congressional mandate. And per the Colonel’s own words works.

        This debacle continues to illustrate senior army leadership’s incompetence in managing programs (and money) to a successful outcome and implementation.

        • majrod says:

          Let’s simplify and say you are right (I’d like to see the methodology and specific data but then again I don’t turn a blind eye because my BFF pattern got selected). The phase IV was for a family of patterns NOT JUST the issue UCP.

          Everyone here is promoting ONE pattern to replace the UNIVERSAL Camo Pattern. Haven’t we heard that before?

          One pattern isn’t enough and the military should be pursuing common solutions.

          • SSD says:

            How do you pay for multiple when they act like they can’t afford to pay for a license for just one pattern?

    • Really?! says:

      “This same thing has been said of other camo patterns both old and new. It doesn’t mean multicam is the answer.”

      No. Millions of invested research-dollars and months of testing is what means “multicam is the answer”.

      • Jason says:

        Seriously.

      • majrod says:

        See my answer above that starts with “let’s simplify…”

        ONE pattern is not the answer unless you don’t understand what camouflage means. Really!

        • Really?! says:

          MinorRod,
          Don’t get mad. I understand what you are ONE pattern is not enough. But when you start a statement with the words “let’s simplify” only to attack SSD, the state falls short of simplifying your argument. You draw ire when you try to accuse SSD of selfish bias. THE RESULTS OF TESTING is what makes MC the choice of just about everyone. UCP sucks, and even one MC pattern is we better. This issue simple enough, without someone accusing the proctor of a news outlet of bias. REALLY!

          • Really?! says:

            Don’t get mad. I understand what you are saying, ‘ONE pattern is not enough’. But when you start a statement with the words “let’s simplify” only to attack SSD, the statement falls short of simplifying your argument. You draw ire when you accuse SSD of selfish bias.

            THE RESULTS OF TESTING and success in the field are what makes MC the choice of just about every soldier. UCP sucks, and even one MC pattern is way better. This issue is simple enough, without someone accusing the proctor of a news outlet of bias. REALLY!

          • majrod says:

            I don’t see pointing out bias as “attacking” but even if it is SSD has some pretty tough skin.

            I NEVER used the word “selfish” that’s your adjective. Bias can come from a lot of sources e.g. personal experience. Bias can be selfishly motivated but I see no evidence on the part of SSD for personal or company gain.

            One pattern is not acceptable. Using your logic straight OG107 uniforms would be satisfactory because they are “better” than UCP as well as adopting MARPAT or AOR. Both of those are better patterns in specific environments and are already in use. That supports the advantages of having common patterns which are significant both in cost and OPSEC.

            • Really?! says:

              Truth be told… There is an assumption among some of my colleagues that putting MC in between MARPAT desert and AOR as bookends just “looks unprofessional” to upper-level brass. Their theory is that mixing blotches with squares is “Mia-matched”.

              Therefore, the logical decision is to attempt to mimic the results of MC with ANOTHER digital pattern. If you think about it, it makes sense. The brass want to “save money” by going with two existing patterns, while mimicking Multicam with another digi-pattern. After two decades in this organization, this at least a plausible theory.

  36. majrod says:

    Matlock being involved with FCS means nothing. I was involved with FCS and fought MANY of its premises and plain bad ideas. BTW, he was working FCS in 2011. The program was cancelled in ’09.

    That said they really should have an infantry officer that has extensive experience with camouflage instead of a former chemical officer.

    • Luddite4Change says:

      The good Colonel is responsible for all individual soldier equipment, which I hope is more than just camo. It wouldn’t surprise me that he actually has some current and former infantry guys working for him.

      While it would be nice for the assignment system to kick out the 100% fit (former infantry AAC officer with recent operational experience) each and every time, we both know that doesn’t happen.

      What does concern me is that the good Colonel doesn’t seem to have spent a considerable amount of time in any job (other than USMA professor) throughout his career.

      • majrod says:

        Again, an Infantry officer is going to have a lot more experience evaluating individual soldier equip. Chemical units are ALL motorized. They don’t go to the field as often or employ their personal gear as rigorously as Infantry units.

        The assignment system can code positions with specific experience. It’s not hard.

        His career time isn’t so strange. You can be at one assignment foir three years and have three different jobs.

        I highly suspect the 3yrs at USMA entry is entirely accurate. There are no 3yr company command slots. Seems there were other jobs he’s not stating.

        • Luddite4Change says:

          I won’t disagree that a ground pounding combat arms AAC officer (IN,SF,FA,AR) would be preferable, but we have no idea what the command slotting was. they may just have gone to positions that were viewed as better fits for their experience.

          What is interesting to me in the Colonel’s resume is that he only spent three years in tactical units of any type. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here, though, as I think that the chemical battalion in Hanau was actually an echelons above corps unit.

          Very off topic, but his resume really highlights the drawbacks of post commissioning educational delay (that lost time has to come from somewhere, and it ends up being on the lower level tactical end).

          But, as others have mentioned here he is not the decision maker on this. True, he assists with the COAs, but even there he is one voice of many, and not a GO voice.

          • SSD says:

            GOs make decisions based on what is laid before them. The person who determines what that information is, has the real power.

  37. Wild Bill USMC(Ret) says:

    Well, I like all of the spirited conversation about this topic. We can discuss it until we are all blue in the face. However, the blame should be placed – as it deserves to be – upon the “goobers” who selected ACP/UCP in the first place. I remember the photo posted on this site approx. 6-8 yrs. ago (and repeated a couple of times) showing certain officers in BDU Woodland looking over articles of ACP/UCP with amazed and/or interested expressions. It was their fault back in 2004-05 when ACP/UCP was adopted. They were the real “retards” and “simpletons” in this case. The issue would be easily resolved if GEN Dempsey and GEN Ordornieo(sp) “checked their packages” and made way in the budget for a new and better camouflage pattern. I do agree that Crye Precision Multicam is one of the most effective patterns available and would (or should) be an easy transition. Hey, who knows? Maybe, if the Army adopts it, the Air Force will follow? Makes budget sense. Overall, I am a fan of Guy Cramer’s Hyperstealth patterns for the Army and the Marine Corps in the future; and, I think Kryptek has useful applications in the SpecOps realm. Bottom Line: I am glad that the Marine Corps got it right about 12-15 years ago. Take Care and God Bless the USA.

    • majrod says:

      You really don’t want to go there.

      If you want to really place blame it belongs on the Marines for copyrighting a camo pattern and denying its use to other branches for the first time in our history and after sharing the Army’s patterns for half a century.

      This unilateral ego driven decision generated other branches to create their own patterns (we have eight now). Some more successful than others.

      At best it generated billions in waste. At worst people died.

  38. Uniform223 says:

    - my two cents maybe more -

    So this is the man in charge of an on going charlie foxtrot. I’m am not going to bad mouth this man. To be honest I kind of feel sorry for the guy.

    Anyone who has been or is still in the military knows that commands change ALL the time and those commands change because of “open slots”. My first unit was a Quartermaster and we had a Medic as our “top”. After that was HHC then we had a Chemical as our XO. My last was a Civil Affairs our XO was a tanker, CO was 18 series and CSM was a 11B. The point is sometimes you just get who you are given.
    Also many of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms have always heard the term… volun-told. Maybe this man was given the order and all he could do was salute, do an about face then get on with it. He might even be against this whole “adoption of seperate pattern” but that is not his place or role to say or do other wise. Every enlisted has always gotten some cluster-fuck order from some butter bar and HATED that order and the outcome. You respect your chain of command, you don’t have to like them.

    At first I tried to stay on top of this whole camouflage improvement cluster fuck. First it seemed great. Then it got slow, then confusing, now just down right irritating. From damn near every open source I could find the 4 contestants ( Kryptek, Crye, Hyperstealth ADS, and Brookewood ) outperformed the baseline patterns ( MARPAT, Multicam, AOR 1 and 2 ). Obviously they found patterns that worked and were better. Though for whatever reason they decided not to pursue. If the in-house US Army pattern is something that outperforms the current FINE I’ll be happy with that. If they end up just giving up and going with Multicam, I’ll be happy with that too. Just stop dragging your FUCKING KNUCKLES ON THE GROUND AND GET THIS SHIT DONE!!!.

    • Trons Away says:

      I doubt that a COL, or even a BG, will have the ultimate authority to be the final decision maker for a program with this level of scrutiny, and possible Joint ramifications. If he executed his responsibility to conduct thorough scientific evaluations of all submissions, and put forth his quantifiable recommendations for selection up eschelon, the he has done his duty. We don’t know his internals, we don’t have the ACIE report to reference, and we don’t know his recommendations. Maybe he recommended Crye, maybe not, but I bet in this day and age he has data to back up his decision or he won’t survive the IG.

      Regarding NDAA SEC. 352, and the way forward, my guess is DTM = Universal AOR, which is basically digital MC, is owned by Natick, and already exists from the SOCOM/NSW tests. Deployers, will get COCOM specific camo through rapid fielding, if required (AOR 1/2, MARPAT, etc.) If the tests are to begin this month, the pattern, uniforms, and OCIE must exist and be ready for distribution.

      • SSD says:

        Your last para is a stretch. “Universal AOR” never existed as a finalized, issue pattern. DTP is to be an entirely new pattern and the printed fabric doesn’t even exist yet, let alone finished goods. DTP is a new pattern that, under federal law requires all services to adopt, along with the Army.

        • Trons Away says:

          Oh, it’s a stretch, but the NDAA language is pretty vague, and as you’ve previously discussed, the mandate and deadline for uniformity have been removed. Unless there is some serious leadership at the OSD level, or higher, we’re not going to see any change. The Service chiefs all have their respective reasons for advocating their in-house solutions, from sunk costs fallacy to branding, etc.
          1. The Army has an ineffective pattern in UCP, and apparently doesn’t want to follow their own scientific studies because it may advocate a commercial solution. They lose all credibility at the SECDEF level by contradicting their own findings.
          2. MARPAT is now embedded in USMC mythology like the blood stripe, Mameluke, and quatrefoil, and they will not budge on changing to a Joint pattern or making MARPAT available. Because Marine lives are more important than American lives.
          3. The Navy has already outfitted 1/3 of the force in NWU III, and is not interested in spending any more money on uniforms that can’t be worn on ships.

        • andrew says:

          What exactly does all services adopting the pattern mean? Does every service member has to wear it or at least one member from each service or it’s an optional uniform that’s in “use” by all services (maybe not even issued)? If it’s option B, have the Anglicos and AF JTACs wear the new pattern when attached to Army units.

  39. Jimbo says:

    I take a survey about every other day it seems. I guarantee if you survey the 82nd, 101st, 10th, 3rd, 173rd, SOF etc….it’s going to be multicam. Oh wait, it’s the Army, not a democracy… Forgot for a sec. I HATE ACUs!!!! Let’s look like Soldiers again.

  40. Ed says:

    PhD in Chemical Engineering from a leading university then a “Certified MBA”? A MBA from an AACSB accredited university has little need to spend the time and money to obtain the “Certified” credential via exam. That MBA degree in itself should have taught him decision analysis skills and the use of the OODA loop.

    I think that the Colonel should study the life of USAF Colonel John Boyd (retired), a fighter pilot, flight instructor, tactician, strategist, theoretician and all-around man of many talents. One of Boyd’s central challenges to those who worked with him was that they decide whether they “would be or would do” – “to be somebody or to do something”:

    http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/01/22/john-boyds-roll-call-do-you-want-to-be-someone-or-do-something/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyd_(military_strategist)

    It is time for Colonel Mortlock to do something.

    • Trons Away says:

      Right. I’ll take my manhood lessons from poor synopsis of Coram’s book written by a moustached men’s lifestyle blogger, rather than a US Army Colonel with a Ranger tab, jump wings, and possibly a combat patch.

      Boyd was a brilliant fighter pilot, but a pretty bad person to everybody – including family, superiors, and subordinates.

  41. FLC says:

    Gen Moran was in charge of the PEO when UCP was chosen. UCP Vs. MC.
    He made mistakes in many areas. Everyone after him has had to deal with the mess. unfortunately it appears they are not “Dealing with it well”
    Think how good like would be if they had just done the right thing then, and chose MC… And What about this Scorpion pattern?

    • SSD says:

      What about Scorpion indeed? I do not understand why the Army isn’t looking more seriously at it.

  42. William9487 says:

    SSD, I really, really hope you’re reaching out to this guy and ask him why in the world is DA looking for a new pattern if, by his own words, the Soldiers in theater are celebrating the effectiveness of Multicam? Someone really needs to hold this guys feet to the fire and get to the bottom of this. Great work again SSD, keep it up.

  43. Chris says:

    As a long time reader of SSD, I was disappointed how personal this post was made. Col. Mortlock is a good man of strong character… a great American. Disagree with his position, but don’t slander him and hang him out like was done here. Completely bush league with the approach taken. Lot of respect lost for SSD on this one.

  44. SSD says:

    I know this will sound contrite to some, but as a former Soldier, I thought it noteworthy to remind everyone of this:

    (ADP 6-22, page 1): An Army leader is anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. Army leaders motivate people both inside and outside the chain of command to pursue actions, focus thinking and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization (emphasis added).

  45. JAR says:

    I like to think of all aspects of a situation, even if I do not like some. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Does it seem like the Army was all for Multicam then got shut down for some reason? They notified Crye. Various statements were made by Army leadership. I think Sgt. Maj. Chandler made even made early statements. Now crickets or mentions, but no real info. Crye stated the financial cluster f. Now they are moving on. They could have chosen the Phase IV winner and received the entire family for pretty much nothing. Then, quibbled over chump change later. To me, it seems like the Army tried to select Multicam, but then got shut down. Then, possibly made unobtainable financial requests to Crye with the intent of moving forward with another plan. Is this a possibility? Either way, I think it is well beyond the Army’s lower leadership and probably the highest leadership. All military personnel have to do what is ordered and take it up the chain of command if there any objections. It is not right for anyone in the military to make public statements contrary to orders, especially in a military capacity or with the appearance of.Could this be the case with all of the current silence and indirect information? Could the case be that the military members are using indirect comments and statements to raise awareness without violation? Just a thought. The situation remains regardless. This is an extreme case of neglect and potential (and actual) loss of life, especially with camo being a very basic necessity. The risks are too great. UCP is wayyyyyy out of line. This seems to be developing into the UCP fiasco all over again.

  46. Paralus says:

    ‘From Robert Coram’s “Boyd: the Figher Pilot who changed the Art of War”

    ““Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.” He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?

  47. Paralus says:

    ‘From Robert Coram’s “Boyd: the Figher Pilot who changed the Art of War”

    ““Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.” He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?

    When Col Jim Burton got that speech, he knew that if he was going to fight with Big Army over the Bradley, he likely was never going to see a star on his shoulder. He didn’t duck his duty, he didn’t just wait out a bad assignment, he didn’t punch his ticket and move on, he made a decision to fight against Big Army and the Pentagon bureaucracy because the lives of soldiers and the dollars of taxpayers was worth more than his career.

    Is there someone in Big Army prccurement who is willing to fight for what’s right and risk their career?