Primary Arms

More On The US Army’s Transition to OCP

We’ve mentioned multiple times that the Army does not plan to make a major announcement about the upcoming transition to the newly renamed Operational Camouflage Pattern, first adopted for use in Afghanistan and known commercially as MultiCam. Developed by Crye Precision about 10 years ago, it has been used for years by US SOF and variants are in use worldwide with a variety of armed forces.


Instead of a public announcement, expect the transition to be implemented in two ways. First, the Army will cease the purchase of clothing and equipment in UCP. Second, in the coming months, the Army G1 will issue one or more ALARACT messages. These All Army Action messages hold the weight of orders from the Army staff and are used to direct implementation of various programs or policies.

Here’s what we’ve told you already regarding the change:

During AUSA we shared some info that was passed to industry by an Army acquisition official

However, according to the information received by SSD, the Army will eventually make an official announcement and plans to begin fielding OCP to new accessions beginning in FY15 with uniforms for the rest of the force starting in FY16. According to the source, the reason for the delay is that the Army plans to tweak the colors in the pattern slightly. Interestingly, the source also claimed that the Army would have access to the woodland and arid environmental patterns as well.

When asked about the time gap until the new patterns are fielded and the requirement for the Army’s incumbent UCP, the source answered that analysis indicated that there were enough uniforms already in stock or on order to support the force except for some odd sizes based on current demand models.

Bookend Patterns
We have also received verbal verification that the Army purchased a license for OCP from Crye Precision. This is a very important piece of information as it will help you understand what is going to happen.

During the unofficially abandoned Army Camouflage Improvement Effort, the Army announced a requirement for a family of patterns that included a Transitional pattern, Arid or Desert pattern, Woodland or Jungle pattern as well as a fourth optional pattern for Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment. However, the Army purchased a license for OCP from Crye, which is a Transitional pattern. In order to offer these new “Bookend” patterns for Woodland and Desert, the Army plans to tweak the colors themselves. Assuredly, they will use the information gleaned from the recently concluded camouflage mega-test to determine the most effective colorways for both patterns. This is a big win for the Army but not so much for the companies that participated in Phase IV.

There is no indication that the Army will “tweak” the colors of the current OCP for general purpose use. The colorway performed very well in combat in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) as well as in Phase IV testing. OCP will be the Principle camouflage pattern for the Army and it will be the pattern that Soldiers will wear day-to-day in garrison or combat. The bookend patterns will be will be integrated into CTA 50-900 and issued as needed. OCIE will be issued in the transitional OCP rather than the bookend patterns although it is not beyond the realm of possibility that select items will be made in those patterns. Additionally, certain units may be issued with OCIE in the bookend patterns.

PEO Visit
In the US Army photo above, you can Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Ray Odierno. He is checking out the new Army Physical Fitness Uniform. But that’s not what we are interested here. Instead, check out the boots on the manikin in the background. Notice the two pair of boots? Well that has been one of the biggest questions posed to us over the past few months. Earlier this year industry was informed that a new boot color was coming along with the new camouflage pattern. While a final decision has not been made, the Army does not want to reinvent the wheel on this but rather adopt a color that already exists.

Accessory colors have come down to two options. First is Tan 499 which is currently used with OCP as an accessory color for many items. The other option is the very popular Coyote. It has been noted through significant testing during the initial push of OCP in 09-10 that Coyote is a bit dark for use with the Transitional OCP. Conversely, Tan 499 has proven to work very well with the current Transitional variant but there is concern over its use with the Woodland Bookend pattern as it may be too light. What’s more, there aren’t currently any Tan 499 boots available. Our money is on a Coyote boot. It’s just too easy. Raw materials are readily available and several vendors already manufacture boots in Coyote for the Marine Corps and Navy.

Tan 499 Chip from ITW Nexus Coyote Color Chip from ITW Nexus

These are Tan 499 (left) and Coyote (right) color chips from ITW which we first shared in 2010 when the Army had just adopted OCP and wanted to let you know what was going on.

What about T-shirts and Belts? For that, our bet is Tan 499. Expect Desert Tan to be phased out during the transition to the general issue OCP. Do not however, hold your breath for any changes to the Army Combat Uniform other than color. They aren’t going to change the pocket layout or add or subtract anything. That will cost money and the Army is trying to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Be aware, any and all of this is subject to change. We will update you as we learn more.

77 Responses to “More On The US Army’s Transition to OCP”

  1. Mike B. says:

    I’m just happy something has been decided. Finally we have something of a decision. Although I would like to see the Woodland version of the OCP. I also find the Darker boots better. The Marine colour is perfect. a bit more olive.

  2. R says:

    There’s no way any of this can be right. I mean, it actually makes sense. I’m just waiting to hear how the Army is going to fuck this up.

    • Sal says:

      This whole thing *is* a fuckup. The Army should’ve just did this in 2010. Instead, they waste both their time and money, and the time and money of industry, conducting phase IV.

      • Derek says:

        It should have been done in 2003-2005 timeframe .

      • R says:

        Phase IV didn’t come out to be a complete waste, seeing as we’re still getting top notch woodland and desert patterns. Granted, this shit shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but the fact that Big Army managed to salvage a shitty situation during such massive budget cuts is pretty unbeievable.

  3. AZSergeant says:

    The common sense decision here would be to start transitioning over to OCP NOW. However common sense has been lacking in the Army since Vietnam, so the “We’ll secretly get around to it whenever” answer is business as usual for the Army. The so called “best” ground fighting force in the world is afraid to look like its spending money to give its war fighters the most basic life saving equipment, while the Air Force wastes more money in a year than the entire outfitting of the Army in a new Camo would cost. The sad fact is we haven’t been the best in a while.

  4. Lucky says:

    At least this counts as a somewhat decision…

  5. Steven S says:

    I hope when the Army recolors multicam. They will configure the colors so the pattern reveals a larger macro.

    The Army’s CIE looks like many of the other projects Army has been doing recently. Wasting all of the contenders time and focus…

    • Mac says:

      I’m hoping they don’t or down the road they’ll just adopted the improved version from Crye. The last time the Army tweaked colors in a camo pattern we looked like syphillitic Smurfs for 10 years…..oops!

  6. Aaron says:

    What a fuckup and waste of damned money. This is how you cause problems with your suppliers, they hook you up with excellent product and then give your money to yourself. Welcome to the USSR.

  7. Abn says:

    With the Army, I’ve learned to just be happy in the moment. I am pleased with this decision and eagerly await the ALARACT which states when we can just start wearing this pattern. I will buy 4 sets that very day and get them sewn up. I’m about due for new uniforms and don’t mind paying out of pocket, because…well that’s what we do anyway.

    • GW says:

      Your response is from one person. I would believe that most of the soldiers that you are around would have the same attitude. That is great news for the Soldier and the small businesses that service the trooper. Once the ALARACT is published, there will be a run on the OCP items that soldiers use most. This will be great for our industry. We have bet heavily that OCP would be the choice, like many of the responses, we wish it had come sooner. I like your attitude that we always need to present and happy in the moment.
      22 years in the Army taught me that change is constant and agility wins.

  8. Cap'n Drew says:

    I still fail to see the advantage of this COA over just announcing the winner of the CIE. As I understand it, the terms of the CIE contract were pretty favorable. And as the CIE pattern ostensibly outperformed MARPAT and AOR1/2, it would be a shoe-in for selection as the (soon-to-be legally required) common service pattern(s).

  9. JBAR says:

    Boots: 1. Olive 2. Air Force puke green.
    “Bookend” Patterns: Pay Crye the still extremely cheap rights to the patterns. I am guessing that this will not happen unless the ACIE is officially completed and Crye announced as the winner.
    Jungle/Woodland variant: Since they are not going with a pixilated pattern, we have had the answer for the past 30 years. Does it really need to be changed except for NIR/SWIR properties and ACU cut?

    So, the roll out dates aren’t until 2015-16.

    “When asked about the time gap until the new patterns are fielded and the requirement for the Army’s incumbent UCP, the source answered that analysis indicated that there were enough uniforms already in stock or on order to support the force except for some odd sizes based on current demand models.”

    Does that pertain to UCP, meaning that they will use up the UCP supplies and it will take until 2015-2016? Will the guys get to start switching over earlier?

    • SSD says:

      The Army has already purchased rights to OCP from Crye Precision

      • JBAR says:

        To the “Bookend” patterns?

        • KP says:

          If I’m understanding correctly, the licensure allows the Army to recolor OCP, or “tweak” the coloration. In order to get the woodland and desert patterns, Army will “tweak” OCP a bit until it’s the Phase IV winner in all but name.

  10. Mick says:

    SSD said it! I’m ordering hundreds of dollars of boots, belts, and tees in Coyote!

    Oh, wait, subject to change…

    Yeah, this whole thing just seems like the Army is trying to back into the Phase IV winner, without calling it that.

    • Timmay says:

      I don’t hold it against SSD , it’s his job to get us back in here to see products but this is, was and will be GOSIP until an official announcement of a decision is made.
      I’m as much of a sucker for it as anyone but I’m thinking of boycotting any article with the C-word for a while.

      • Mick says:

        Nope, certainly don’t hold it against SSD… he’s the only doing the digging and reporting on this stuff!

        It’s just kind of a fascinating train wreck to watch, plus it affects me as I plan to be in the reserves for about another 10…

  11. Mike says:

    I zoomed in on the picture of GEN Odierno looking at uniforms; is it just me or can you (just barely) make out a darker neckline for the T-shirt the mannequin is wearing? Perhaps this is indicative of the new accessory color discussed above?

    It would be ironic to go back to what is nearly the BDU-brown t-shirt after 10 years. *sigh* Yet with the way this camo stuff is going, not surprising! To be honest, there was nothing wrong with that color to begin with.

    • SSD says:

      I noticed that as well. I know they are in possession of at least one commercial t-shirt in Coyote but that the general feeling was that it would be too deal to be effective with the Arid bookend pattern. They may have tossed it on the manikin for the CSA’s visit.

  12. Brian Kroon says:

    What bothers me most of all is the statement that the army will most likely apply what it learned to tweaking the Crye colors.

    I wonder how long the industry will continue will work for “free” developing product only to have the “icing on the cake” ripped out and applied to a competitors or govt developed product?

    This is SOP with the fed agencies in Canada. They get industry to develop and push up ideas under the guise of “modernization” only to pick and choose bits and pieces, put them in a bowl and bake their own “widget”. Then claim its govt developed proprietary property. This then allows them to put it out for public bid without compensation to the true developers. (this usually ends up in an ineffective “platypus” widget though)

    Congrats to the gang at Crye.

    Not so much for the other guys who are having some of their work scavenged.

    Kind Regards
    Brian Kroon

    • JRoss says:

      Not sure I feel to bad for Crye. They have had a pretty sweet deal outfitting the Afghan-bound Army and Air Force the last fear years, and have also been adopted as the official army camo by both the UK and Australia. I also think they got over pretty good on the Aussies in terms of a “modified pattern”. Their research has certainly been compensated for, arguably overcompensated for.

      As far as the Army tweaking the colors themselves, however, that does scare me a little…
      Just my two cents

  13. KiNEtIX says:

    At least now a plan is set (hopefully, but probably not) but it still seems very complicated: transitional OCP for gear, except some items which will be made in the “bookend” patterns, and the pattern for kit from the competition is just gone?
    Coyote boots with tan belts? Why not just manufacture both in the same color and make it easier? If one is too dark or too light then the other would be the opposite?

  14. Sean says:

    Crazy question since all of this money was spent on the testing are the results EVER going to see the light of day or is it going to buried lest it embarrasses the Army?

  15. GW says:

    I had a conversation with a reliable source inside the Army suggested that my CB riggers belt is where we need to be to match the OCP uniform.

  16. Zach says:

    A regular contributor to this forum who is one of the better sources for camo info told me this is similar to what Poland has done recently. They had a bunch of companies submit patterns, and combined the best of each to make Mapa pattern that may be out soon in one form or another. A similar using of industry with a different result perhaps.

  17. Mick says:

    Also, I don’t know about SSD’s prediction of Coyote Boots and Tan 499 tees and belts.

    SSD said it’s “too easy” to pick the Coyote boots.

    What does the army say when a solution is “too easy” or “makes sense”?
    “We’ll see about that!”

    I think industry is starting, bit by bit, to drift from Coyote tan over to Tan 499. Some companies are even just calling it the “New” Coyote Tan. I imagine that shift will filter into boots as well.

    My opinion, based only on logic and no external facts, is Tan 499 for all accesories.


    • SSD says:

      Fortunately for me I have some great points if reference.

      Btw, the term “Coyote Tan” started way back when no one knew what the proper Pantone was for Coyote. It was used as a marketing ploy to draw in customers.

      • Mick says:

        Interesting… I’m assuming “points of reference” is another reference to “industry insiders”?

        I have a few pair of desert tan boots now… only one of them has enough of Iraq ground into it to pass as coyote tan, but hey, if the boot fits…

        Even if they don’t start fielding it for a while, it’d be nice if they came out and said some of these things are acceptable for wear sooner rather than later, but I doubt that’ll be the case…

      • Cap'n Drew says:

        So what is the Pantone for coyote?

    • JRoss says:

      Not really an opinion on what -will- happen as much as what Id like to see happen.
      For me, Im hoping SSD’s predictions are 100% accurate, with the additional caveat of the pattern tweaking and whatnot being code for simply taking Cryes secret submissions and using them, off the record-ish. Tan 499 works well, but my boots turn almost coyote color after a few months anyway, so this all seems grand.
      In my perfect scenario, the Army would have announced ADS the winner of CIE almost a year ago, and already have concrete implementation plans.
      After all the shenanigans (sp?) in the last 6 months however, Im just happy something reasonably sane looks like it could possibly happen.

  18. majrod says:

    Great job SSD! No doubt the best place to find the latest and most accurate info.


  19. James says:

    so just how much was spent on the deciding not to decide… oh and the countless hours days… wait years! Not to mention all of the time and money that corperations dumped on this… Oh wait these are the same people who brought you SPS round one! Rant Off

  20. Molon Labe says:

    Thanks. Now we can move onto another topic. Got a little tired of every week another cammo article.

  21. Philip says:

    I just hope something concrete comes through soon so the AF can (hopefully, fingers crossed) follow suit and get us OUT of this horrible abortion of a uniform known as the ABU.

  22. HOLLYWOOD319 says:

    Awesome SSD. Appreciate the updates, now to watch for new ALARACTs

  23. Abn says:

    I was reading a piece on the Army Times website that stated early next Summer.

  24. Abn says:

    “Stars and Stripes on Sept. 23 reported that Chandler told troops in Afghanistan the new camouflage pattern would be phased in starting early next summer. He was reported as describing a pattern similar to MultiCam but with different colors for different environments.”

    So probably 3 months to prepare? Look at an ALARACT around March/April 2014?

  25. Ex11A says:

    A khaki, olive drab and brown uniform with brown boots? Holy $#it that makes sense! I am going to rock it like it’s 1943, unless I retire before OCP is allowed for wear by everyone. Of course, having the smooth side out on the boots would make more sense so they don’t become sponges in wet grass, but at least this is a start.

  26. Evan says:

    How different is Tan 499 from the old “Army Brown” t-shirts? Looks the same to me.

    • Greg says:

      Slightly brighter.

    • SSD says:

      Maybe you were thinking of the t-shirts after you washed them in the barracks. It isn’t anywhere near the same.

    • Evan says:

      Guess I was looking at the coyote. For some reason, the first time I saw this the picture of the two chips was split up and down and the left side looked darker.

  27. USMColddawg says:

    Multicam will be tweaked to US4CES colors. And I don’t see a big cost factor on tilting the pockets outboard 2 inches. It will make it look better. Just like removing the Velcro. I use to wear the BDU with the side tabs and button which provided a better blouse or remember the wide collar. They could change the cut if they want to.

    • SSD says:

      No, they won’t.

      • USMColddawg says:

        How do you know this? I been in the Army and Marines since 1983 and still serving. Are you truly in the inside or just get constant hearsay?

        • SSD says:

          I’ve only been at this since ’85 so I guess I’m just a boot compared to you, but…I’ve been right one hell of a lot over the past five-and-a-half years. Conversely, I’ve had a couple of good sources over the years just flat out shit the bed. History will be the judge of the veracity of my information. I do know for a fact that I know more about this than you do by reading your comments. However, I want you to know, I find it adorable when you post links to articles in other websites that have less information than I do or rehash things I’ve already written about. It is a great ego boost for me to see the “big guys” flounder.

          • USMColddawg says:

            well from this week’s Army Times. I know; not the greatest source of info

            “The result, as of now, months af­ter the originally anticipated pro­duction date? Nothing.

            “Just switch to MultiCam, it’s al­ready being used,” a reader posted on Army Times’ Facebook page, echoing many others commenting on the issue. Others say the Army should go back to the battle dress uniform, or even solid olive drab, in its effort to replace the embattled Universal Camouflage Pattern.

            ButtheArmy isn’t ready. Getting the new camo approved and into the field simply is “not a priority at this time,” Army officials say.

            “The Army is not in a position to announce a change in our combat uniform/camouflage pattern,” Army spokesman William Layer said.“Weremainfocusedonoursol­diers in combat, the effects of se­questration, reductions in force structure, administrative and emergencyfurloughsofourcivilian workforce, a continuing resolution that does not take into ac­count [fiscal 2014] funding priorities, and global threats”

            read the rest when you buy the paper

            • USMColddawg says:

              Well of course you will know more about the camo issue that I do; if its your job. I been in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 10 years doing real work. 😉

              • USMColddawg says:

                an excerpt from that article “Less than two weeks earlier, the Army entered into negotiations with Crye Precision for nonexclu­sive license rights to their Multi-Cam pattern — which the Army refers to as the Operation Endur­ing Freedom Camouflage Pattern, orOCP. TheArmypaysmonthlyin­direct usage fees to Crye based on the quantities of uniforms and Or­ganizational Clothing and Individ­ual Equipment it procures, Layer said. The analysis found the Army would have “considerable cost sav­ing” bypurchasingtherightsforde­ploying soldiers. This could indicate a first step to­ward solidifying your new camou­flage pattern. MultiCam scored high in numerous tests and its manufacturer, Crye Precision, was a finalist in the competition. Chan­dler’sdescriptionsalsosuggestthis might be the solution.

                Officials said the decision to pur­chase MultiCam rights is a sepa­rate matter.

                “The decision to buy the rights to the OCP pattern is being made”

                • USMColddawg says:

                  Comment from a Chief on the Army Times camo opinion board

                  IhavebeenintheArmyfornearly 14 years. I have seen many camou­flage patterns come and go. Some worked,somedidn’t,andsomenev­er will. The Army has focused a lot of time and taxpayers’ dollars on numerous uniforms and equip­ment without taking soldiers’ ad­vice into consideration until it is too late and the money was spent.

                  The UCP is by far the least con­cealing pattern I could imagine. It is a mild embarrassment to wear. That is also incompany with its de­sign flaws.

                  Hasanyone looked at Crye Preci­sion LLC’s Field Uniform Army Custom? It has several functional and impressive design features such as slash-cut chest pockets, a better slant in the wider shoulder pockets, a tapered appearance and well-adjusted shoulder pocket de­sign which make even a skinny man look tough. The pants have cargo pockets that are positioned higher, which brings them further up the thigh and away from the joint, preventing chafing due to movement. They also have front thigh pockets, which are great for convoys and easy access. They also have a concealed integrated knee pad with a cinch-type side adjust­ment to make the pad contact the knee for better comfort and perfor­mance.

                  Iwonder if a contract for an obvi­ously better-built and slightly more expensive product in a cam­ouflage that already works well in most environments would have been a better choice from the start. It’s about quality, functionality, professional appearanceanddura­bility.

                  I remember being issued four sturdy uniforms that lasted me six or more years. The uniforms now hardly last months, depending on your activities. Velcro is an enemy on nearly all of the pocket enclo­sures. It wrinkles and decays on the chest pockets, presenting an unprofessionalandshabbyappear­ance. It isOKonthe shoulder pock­ets and calf pockets, but it is noisy. It is OK on the patch panels, but soldiers should be authorized to sewthe patches to the panel, less a cover panel which looks like gar­bage. Lastly, how about a dark brown suede boot? The tan boot stains easily and, unless you work in an office, can be hard to keep in good shape.

                  Let’s take the right steps from hereonout. Listento your soldiers. Theywant to look good, and be con­fident in the quality and function­ality of their uniform. It fosters pride, discipline and motivation. I have seen these values slipping from our ranks.

                  Warrant Officer Zachory Gengler

                  Camp Shelby, Miss.

                • SSD says:

                  Ok, now, don’t read that story with their headline in mind. Read it again with everything I’ve written in mind. Then, the comments of the Army spokesman validate everything I’ve said. Delay due to money, not moving forward with Phase IV, leveraging a license agreement with Crye. It’s all there.

              • SSD says:

                And God Bless you for it. I’ve been retired for the past 7.

    • Greg says:

      All i’m hoping is that there’d better be a big difference in color shading between OCP and this “tweaked” version! Much like the desert scorpion version. That kind of change.

  28. HOLLYWOOD319 says:

    Random thought popped into my head today…

    Crye – Army
    US4CES – Marine Corps
    Brookwood – Navy/ Coast Gaurd
    Kryptek – Air Force

    It made me chuckle to myself.