Tactical Tailor

We Told You OCP = MultiCam

From Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Ray Odierno’s lips to our ears during a Virtual Town Hall earlier this week, we learn that the Army is adopting MultiCam. That’s not really true, but it’s gold like this that undermines the Army’s assertion that the Operational Camouflage Pattern (developed as Scorpion W2) Army recently adopted by the Army is distinctly different from the MultiCam it replaces. As you know, the MultiCam camouflage pattern was developed for commercial use by Crye Precision and adopted initially by USSOCOM for worldwide use and then later by the Army and US Air Force specifically for wear in Afghanistan starting in 2010. The CSA was right about that part.

Unfortunately, licensing negotiations between the Army and Crye Precision to field MultiCam to the entire force stalled last Spring due to Army inaction, resulting instead in the Army choosing to field a home brewed variant of the Scorpion pattern developed by Crye Associates in the early 2000s. This pattern, referred to as Operational Camouflage Pattern features coloration and shapes similar to MultiCam although the Army has asserted that it is a distinctly different pattern. Below we see the two patterns together with the MultiCam atop Scorpion W2.

W2 vs MC

Remember, in Army parlance OCP is OCP, regardless if it is the MultiCam variant or the new Scorpion W2 version. MultiCam will continued to be fielded by the Army under the name OCP. However, MultiCam is a brand name of a commercially available pattern, that the US Army did not select as its new camouflage. Mistake or not, the Army should not be referring to OCP as MultiCam. Otherwise, they are misleading Soldiers and applying the proven effectiveness of MultiCam to the as-yet-unproven Scorpion W2. If GEN Odierno’s comments were in fact a mistake, then it shows that there’s really no difference between the two and calls into question the Army’s actions to field a pattern without paying for it.

59 Responses to “We Told You OCP = MultiCam”

  1. matt says:

    So you can refer to multicam as OCP, but you better NOT refer to OCP as multicam. Got it.

    • AbnMedOps says:

      That is, unless the particular OCP to which you are referring is, in fact, Multicam. Not to be too OCD about it…

  2. N says:

    SSD, do you think that with the subtle differences between Multicam and Scorpion W2, that Scorpion W2 may not be as combat effective as Multicam?

  3. LowSpeed says:

    Am I taking crazy pills or what? It’s like when my lady buys two different sticks of red lipstick, but only one is REALLY red. The other is a slightly different, near-(dare I say exactly?)the-same in appearance but NOT RED.

    ..That being said, I understand why splitting hairs is noteworthy on this, although CSA/SMA or not, Joes would still be wrongly calling it Multicam, it wouldn’t be the first time something in the military was called by the wrong name.

  4. Chesty Puller says:

    Add to this, some would say, underhanded move to use multicam (by another name) without paying for it, the current idea by the PM to adopt MARPAT for use in woodland and desert environments. How could the Army use the Marine Corps field uniform which has “hidden” Eagle, Globe, and Anchors in the pattern? Simple – just hide the EGA and call the pattern something else. Pass the popcorn, please.

    • JB says:

      Except the USMC is part of the gov’t, not an American company, so who cares about their butthurt whining.

    • WagenCAV says:

      Still don’t know why the Army would want to use either MARPAT or the old M81 Woodland and Desert patterns, since they shown that “legally” they can change Scorpion at will. Why not rip off Crye some more and simply adopt OCP Tropic and OCP Arid? Use MC Tropic and Arid colors on the Scorpion W2 screens and voila, instant bookends.

      I’m being slightly sarcastic. I’m on Crye’s side when it comes to this whole copyright/patent mess. On the other hand, I’m also on Joe’s side, so let’s just get whichever works BEST.

      • SSD says:

        I’ve never seen anything official but I’ve heard through the rumor mill that the Army didn’t approach Congress with scorpion being a pre-existing pattern but rather a pattern that all services would adopt.

        • KP says:

          Do you know about whether the justification is

          “would” adopt

          or

          “could” adopt?

          My reading of the latest relevant legislation is that the justification need only be that other services “could” adopt in the future as an option whereas the original amendment required the justification to be that other services “would” adopt as a matter of course.

          This would mean the difference for the Marines between getting a MARPAT 2.0 versus having to adopt OCP in an eventual future or stick to MARPAT until legislation is overturned.

        • straps says:

          To be filed under “Crazy Enough to be True.”

          That sounds more like a Secretary McHugh move than a GEN Odierno move.

          Was this before or after GEN Amos’s “hobo with a sammich” remark about MARPAT on K-Bay?

          I tell ‘ya, these Service Chiefs and their Town Halls…

        • WagenCAV says:

          All the more reason to push for matching bookends IMO.

          The MC family of patterns match and compliment each other. While the traditional Transitional MC looks washed out over the MC Tropic, it really looks quite good over the MC Arid. The MC/OCP Transitional will look really washed out and odd over either MARPAT, M81, or the NWU/AOR patterns. I know that PEO’s stance is that only colours matter, but that line of reasoning is crap. The patters have to blend to each other as well as the environment, otherwise the eye may catch it and compromise the very individual the camo is intended to protect.

          If Scorpion W2 isn’t being pushed as a legacy pattern but rather a new one, which all Services “would” or “could” adopt, then why didn’t the Army use the PhIV winning patterns to push as the selection that all Services “would” or “could” adopt? Is that not what the SMA was telling industry and media types in April 2013, when the Enyart Amendment was still a rumour?

          Didn’t he say that the Phase IV winner wouldn’t be branded but that the Army was developing the new camo with the other branches of service in mind?

          When the GSA put out it’s report in OCT of 2012, blaming the Army and AF for stupid waste when it comes to uniforms, and recommending a Bobby McNamara type adoption of single combat uniforms for all branches, the SMA told the media that their test winner “would” or “could” be that uniform. At least, that was the impression I was getting at the time.

          I remember this shit. I’ve been reading this forum for about three years now, and this topic is by far the most intriguing for me.

  5. SN says:

    Cheap attempt by the Army to avoid paying Crye. The Courts will love this.

    • Danarchy says:

      Only if they can convince the courts that intellectual property is something it isn’t, when really it isn’t “property” so much as a limited duration monopoly protected by the government’s court system . Crye worked anon contract for the government to develop Scorpion, meaning it was work for hire and, from the onset, government spec work and in the public domain. Cry subsequently made changes to claim various trademark, copyright and patent claims (can’t remember the exact mechanism and can’t find the lawsuit where they set it all out) and tried to bar use.

      • SSD says:

        Are you familiar with the contract in question?

        And I’d love to hear more about this lawsuit.

  6. Ron B says:

    He also called it ACU, which is he uniform not the pattern according to the Army. Then he was wrong about SMs being issued and not having to purchase them. SMA had to correct him on that one.

  7. CAVstrong says:

    SSD can you explain to us how exactly this decision making process is supposed to work?

    I mean I understand there is an Army Uniform Board that meets, debates and approves recommendations for uniform changes. I believe there is a committee that is responsible for compiling research and recommending Camouflage COAs. How would it work if say, the Secretary of the Army said this is what we are doing or if the Secretary of Defense did it? Can congress pass a law mandating uniform standardization or can they only rely on the power of the purse? I’m just curious it seems like this whole debacle could be resolved very easily if one leader or another would simply stand up and say this is what we are doing, figure it out, get it done. End of discussion.

    I’ve followed this story for the past for years, its becoming the same old song over and over again. I just want closer….is that so much to ask?

    P.S. Why are there Colonels, Master Sergeants, and Sergeant Majors staffing PEO Solider. What do they know about the field? What do they know about what soldiers need and don’t need….it should be staffed by Captains and E7s……..

    Rant Complete, sorry for taking up so much of y’alls time.

    • WagenCAV says:

      No need to apologize to us. Your “rant” is right on the money, and one that’s been posited numerous times on this forum.

    • majrod says:

      Actually there are quite a few NCOs and CPTs/MAJ’s involved in the process. They actually do most of the leg work and provide input into whatever study, experiment or evaluations is going on. Just like in any line unit some leaders listen better than others as well as some subordinates do better jobs than others (of course the senior leader is always responsible for any subordinates shortcoming, at least that’s the way it used to be).

      One factor that is just incredibly difficult to capture and just about invisible outside of the Pentagon is the games branches play with each other. Some issues are important enough to go to the mat over. The Army though the biggest has proportionately the least amount of supporters in Congress and is leery of wasting its limited chips in small battles with other branches.

      Look at the C27J, originally an Army program for an intratheatre cargo plane. The Army was funded to pursue and procure the plane. The Air Force wasn’t but took monies from other places to be part of the program. The USAF eventually stole the program with the promise it would fly the plane for the Army. It has always been important for the Air Force to keep the Army from owning its own aircraft. After the Air Force accomplished their goal what did they do? Mothball the airplane to include sending brand new ones to the desert. By that point, the Army had been outflanked and lost the support of Congress and found itself fighting other battles like keeping more troops in uniform vs. paying the whole draw down bill.

      There are many battles the Army should fight but doesn’t. Canning the A10, getting a new scout helo (we’re taking all of them out of the fleet to save money), the MARPAT vs. ACU adoption back in the early ’00’s, fighting doing FID when it’s an SF mission etc. Sometimes the Army goes to the mat. That’s why we have drones specifically predators at the unit level. If the Air Force got their way they would have been centralized if not worse, owned by the Air Force.

      Tough to see/understand these stratospheric level balancing games that are going on but they are there.

  8. Mick says:

    I bet Mr. Crye has people furiously screencapping all media coverage of the statement for use in a future lawsuit…

  9. tom says:

    the army is so freaking stupid and corrupt. there should be some generals in prison for this whole camo debacle.

    • LCSO264 says:

      It’s not just the Army, the fraud and wasteful spending throughout Government is horrible. It just gets worse the higher up the Governmental ladder you go. That said, I’m pretty sure Tom is correct.

      We can apply this thought line to any major purchase made by a large Governmental (Federal lets say) agency (the Army in this case), how many rifle trials has the Army held for a new/updated/enhanced rifle/carbine in the past 10+ years and to what expense. I can think of 3 for sure off hand, in each one the current M4 was not the winner (not saying it should be replaced, or that it failed, it just wasn’t the winner/not trying to try a side debate). But, how much $$$ did they spend on it, only to abruptly scrap the testing.

      Or how much burecratic BS does the Army/DoD have to go through for something as mundane as updating, say a spring (extracter spring perhaps?) used in the Mil-Spec M4, even though the manufacturer (Colt…) has demonstrated the spring has a longer service life and increases reliablitly of the rifle. Short answer, A LOT of red tape.

      Or, the Army sponsered Universal Joint Pistol trials initially announced in 2005-2006’ish. Again, $$$ spent, and the program abruptly cancelled. Only to be sort of resurrected (sort of) this year? What happens if a competitor’s handgun platform out preforms the current M9 (or the recently updated version of the M9)? will it result in the M0 platform being replaced, or will this current pistol trial simply be cast aside, after a signifficant amount of $$$ is spent.

      All that said, I’ll tip my hat to the Marine Corps. They conducted a T&E for an IAR after realizing in combat that they were relying on the M249 for a role it was not best suited for. They did extensive testing, and simply chose the weapon platform that won the tests/trials designed for the role of an IAR. Regardless of personal opinions of the platform that won, it was the platform that preformed the best in their tests. So to that regard, the Corps are (at least in appearence to me) more efficient than the Army in this regard.

      I too have (silently) followed this camo selection debacle for a quite a while. Not because I have a dog in the fight at all (I’m not in the military), but I have found SSD’s following of this both maddening and commical, and ultimately sad. Sad because our fighting men/women have been pawns in this circus for far too long. When the transition to ACU, it didn’t take a damn camo design engineer to recognize the light/bright colored digi-pattern was not ideal for camo purposes, yet they were made to wear the new inferior camo pattern. It was only after years that they were allowed to wear Multi-Cam while in Afganistan. Cavstrong mentioned the PEO being staffed by rank far removed from the soldiers who are actually out there fighting for us, making these decisions. Sadly, this is not only the case in the Army, but really this is the reality of all Government, and I don’t see it changing much at any level of Government…..

      OK, rant over……….

      • majrod says:

        You might want to hold off on all the adoration of efficiency. If the Corps did such a great job with the M27 why are they keeping the SAW? When is having two machineguns in the squadfor the exact same purpose efficient when it comes to training. maintaining, fielding etc.

        Check out the history and negatives of the BAR, M14 and M16 in the role of the squad automatic weapon and why they were often temporarily replaced with .30 cals, M60’s and eventually permanently by the SAW. Looks like history is about to be repeated.

        BTW, part of the reason the Corps was having problems with the SAW was they were replacing them much more slowly than the Army was…

        In the end the Corps created a problem for the M27 to solve and got an HK416 in the supply chain. Let’s see how much it’s actually fielded in the role of squad automatic weapon vs. a backdoor way of adopting the HK416.

  10. xdarrows says:

    Timeline on adoption?

  11. Bingo says:

    /sarcasm

  12. D says:

    I don’t think this is as big a deal as you’re making it out to be. No one would object if the CSA said Army uniforms will continue to feature Velcro instead of saying “hook and pile tape.”

    • SSD says:

      Well, the Army isn’t trying to swindle Velcro USA.

      • Mike says:

        SSD, has Crye Precision made an official response to the Army’s decision to adopt Scorpion W2/OCP? I’ve done several web searches and haven’t found anything, at least not since you published their response back in March 2014. I’d be surprised if Crye wasn’t planning SOME sort of legal response to this, but was wondering if Crye had provided any statement since they are usually (and rightfully, in my mind) tight-lipped.

        • SSD says:

          They have not. If I were Crye I’d wait til the Army was knee deep in in and then take legal action once they are committed.

      • Armchair Warlord says:

        Wow, an industry site getting butthurt when the government plays hardball with industry. Crye does not own Scorpion. They aren’t getting a cent, and it’s perfectly legal. Deal with it.

        Given my experience with “industry”, I’d say if the Army did this more often there would be a lot less fraud, waste and abuse. Or do you support wasting taxpayer money?

        • SSD says:

          No, I do not support wasting taxpayer money. Thats why I’ve long been opposed to the Army’s use of public funds to attempt to replicate something that already exists.

          The military should act ethically and I’ve seen behavior in the camoflauge debacle that is anything but.

          I hope that the Government chooses at some point to play “hardball” with you so you can see what it feels like when your hard work is stolen.

          • Armchair Warlord says:

            SSD,

            As opposed to using public funds to pay Crye for intellectual property the government is entitled to use for free? That isn’t theft in any law code I’ve ever seen. There is nothing unethical about demanding a good deal for the American taxpayer, and using a government-owned solution if a good deal cannot be had.

            • SSD says:

              I’m curious how you have come to the conclusion that Crye Precision doesn’t own its IP.

              • Armchair Warlord says:

                From your own reporting.

                http://soldiersystems.net/2014/09/15/who-does-whiskey-2-work-for/

                If Crye had a leg to hop around on in court, they would have filed suit by now given the amount of money they’re going to lose over this deal.

                • SSD says:

                  So you acknowledge that they are being stolen from?

                  • Armchair Warlord says:

                    Stripping away your obvious bias, the facts as you report them are quite clear: the US Army has a fully paid-up license to use Scorpion as they see fit. Says so clear as day in the patent.

                    Your interpretation of the patent language focused heavily on the fact that the Army may compel Crye to issue licenses to produce Scorprion, presumably with fees still flowing to Crye. You glossed over the fact that the Army has a license for the pattern and is presumably well within its rights to contract for production without paying or even involving Crye.

                    You could argue the point (you attempted to in a subsequent article on the subject) but it appears that Crye Precision is not going to despite clear incentives to do so. Their inaction besides a sour-grapes press release proves my point – they have no legal recourse.

                    Once you connect those two dots, your conspiracy theories disintegrate and everything the Army has done in this case turns into good practices and proper due diligence. I find it difficult to believe that you never went down this train of thought yourself in your “investigation”, so do you acknowledge that you’re doing a hatchet job on PEO-Soldier?

                  • Evan says:

                    I thought camouflage patterns in and of themselves couldn’t be trademarked or patented, excepting the Navy’s new blue “work pattern”, specifically because it doesn’t “function” as camouflage?