SIG Sauer Academy

MultiCam – Who Pays?

The easy part is done. A camouflage pattern has been selected for use in Afghanistan in accordance with the wishes of Congress. The hard part has now begun. Specifications have to be prepared, contracts let, and new equipment fielded. All in rapid fashion if the Army is going to meet its own deadline this summer. Fielding of a new pattern won’t come cheap. According to COL William Cole, the Program Manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at PEO-Soldier, thus far everything has been paid for with offsets meaning the money used to purchase FR ACUs in UCP will be used instead to procure MultiCam FR ACUs. Unfortunately, this won’t make up for everything. TA-50 such as MOLLE lasts a lot longer than uniform items. With over one million sets of MOLLE already fielded, equipment in MultiCam will have to be purchased.

Soldier Patrols Wearing MultiCam
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Albert L. Kelley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

An additional issue, particularly for industry are ancillary items such as gloves, hats, and even the webbing tape on load bearing and armor systems. What color will it be? With the switch to UCP came Foliage Green. What color will the Army specify for use with MultiCam? PEO-Soldier officials have stated that they are still considering the issue but with the new Army Combat Shirt in MultiCam sporting a Coyote Brown torso, chances are good that will be the accessory color (UPDATE: It’s sounding like Tan 499 will make the cut). Additionally, industry is already producing a wide variety of raw materials and finished goods in Coyote for the Marine Corps, SOCOM, as well as the secondary market.

So where will the money to pay for all of this come from? The Army hasn’t prepared any reprogramming actions moving funds from one account to another to pay for this. And if it is forced to, where will those funds come from? PEO-Soldier’s portfolio? Will the Army be forced to rob Peter to pay Paul? If this ends up being the case, the Soldier loses either way. As I see it, it is Congress’s bill to pay. Congress asked for it, the Army complied, and they have the facts to back up their decision. The Army’s leadership should approach Congress with a funding request to field adequate amounts of clothing and individual equipment in MultiCam. Congress should happily appropriate these monies. In fact, if anything, it will leave a lasting legacy in honor of the man who got this ball rolling in the first place, the late John Murtha.

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