Tactical Tailor

US Army Announces Changes To The Army Combat Uniform


In addition to the recent reveal of the Scorpion W2 pattern, now known as OCP, the US Army has also announced minor changes to the Army Combat Uniform to coincide with the new camouflage pattern. Beginning in Fall of 2015, the new ACU in OCP will feature lower leg pockets with button closure instead of the current hook and loop fastener. The insert pockets for knee and elbow pads will also be removed.

Additional changes being considered by the Army Uniform Board include:

– elimination of the mandarin collar and replacement with a fold-down design
– change of the infrared square identification for friend or foe, known as the IFF tab
– removal of one of three pen pockets on the ACU sleeve
– elimination of the drawstring on the trouser waistband

Again, the US Army will begin issuing the improved Army Combat Uniform in Operational Camouflage Pattern in Fall 2015. Military clothing sales stores will begin selling the improved ACU in Summer 2015. Soldiers will be given three years, between the period of initial adoption in Fall 2015 and the Summer 2018 requirement date, to transition to the new ACU.



93 Responses to “US Army Announces Changes To The Army Combat Uniform”

  1. Lucky says:

    Glad to see someone upstairs finally listened! Why such a long adoption period? I know a LOT of people in my Reserve unit that will go out and buy four sets quickly. Also: any Velcro on name tapes and rank still?

  2. Onecomment says:

    3 yrs to transition?? I thought the transition was when they issued them to everybody

    • Jon, OPT says:

      That’s par for the course with all uniform changes, whether PT, Dress, or Duty. It’s longer for NG and AR.

      Issued them to everyone? That’s funny, SMs get a uniform allowance for a reason.

      Jon, OPT

    • straps says:

      UCP got pushed fast partly because between ’05 and ’08 we had a continuous stream of 100K (give or take) downrange from all components (Active, Reserve, Guard) and there was zero concern about the cost.

      That era has passed.

      Deployers will probably get a basic issue as they head out the door but as Jon said, CONUS active will be using a lot LESS of their uniform allowances on car stereos and lift kits and Reserve/Guard won’t start getting them until a few years after the O’s have trouble finding UCP at MCSS…

    • Hardchawger says:

      You don’t remember when Soldiers were wearing the BDUs with tan boots to the last minute?

  3. Ned says:

    This will allow stocks of “current” OCP uniforms and equipment to cycle through the system. By summer 2018 stocks should be full of “new” OCP items.

  4. Doogie Howser MP says:

    I bet within 6 months everybody who is not PCSing or so up to their eyeballs in alimony payments will be out of UCP and in to OCP. Also thinking of Alimony these pockets look like maternity uniforms, if they get rid of the mandarin collar they may be identical, some of those senior NCOs may be able to make use of that coincidence.

  5. bulldog76 says:

    thank god velcro is dead now to get rid of the damn zipper

  6. AbnMedOps says:

    Well, that is (mostly) good news. While we’re on a roll, could we please return our rank and (officer) branch insignia to the collar?

    • COL REMF says:

      Because that would be be super garrison awesome and would enable both butt-sniffing and compensation for low self esteem.

      • SGT Rock says:

        Lol! This…^

      • FHRITP says:


      • Norbis says:

        NAILED IT! Let your CIB do the talking…

      • That Blue Falcon says:

        You’re my hero. The less garritrooper bullshit we roll out, the better. Keep the good idea fairies in the ground where they belong.

        • FHRITP says:

          EXACTLY. I seriously can’t understand why people would be concerned with such things, unless they’re trying to trump up their honor or prestige.

          In which case they more than likely have neither.

      • winslow says:

        I thought it was about appearances rather than substance???


        you made a good funny. Great success…

    • Hardchawger says:

      That was the intent when the rank went in the middle of the chest because the Army could not have its officers wear its rank on both sides on the collar like the other branches. Oh no!, that will be taboo. But yet, they wanted to be like Marines because their officers do not wear their branch on their uniform and wants the Infantry Officer to be the same as the Supply Officer. Navy/Air Force wears a badge for their MOS/Rate.

      Give us Warrants our Eagle Rising again, or simply let officers wear both ranks on the collar. That rank in the middle of the chest from the days of the gortex was blasphemy.

      • COL REMF says:

        Your “let” sounds like “make.” As far as rank in the middle, the origin is actually the Brits and some others have done that for decades under the logic that those you work with will recognize each other by voice, and those that don’t know will see your rank when you meet face to face. Having two sets of collar rank is redundant unless you’re in partial defilade (blocking one collar) speaking with people that don’t know who you are.

        • Hardchawger says:

          Regardless of its history and yes; I have seen the Navy wear it that way with their NWU and when other branches wear our ACU but I prefer it to be that way. If I want any Army tradition to remain, it will be that one. JMHO.

          • Hardchawger says:

            And BTW, I am Signal and that does not bother me in the least compared to a CA Officer. I wear my branch insignia with pride.

    • Jon, OPT says:

      I agree with this, having dealt with many officers and warrants confusing their rank with authority they don’t have, or people assuming because a guy is wearing an SF or Ranger tab and officer rank he is a Co Cdr or Det Cdr when he is actually the PA or a mustang who went into a soft skill MOS. It’s one piece of fabric that simplifies things and makes processes that much easier and helps avoid confusion.

      Wearing of awards as a form of merit, when very few units practice meritocracy (and no regular army ones do AFAIK), most follow military rank protocol.

      So, shit all over the idea if you want, personally, I am pretty sick of having to hear the old “well, actually, I was infantry, that’s where I got my CIB and Tab, but I’m now your CBRN, or Supply, or SIGDET OIC.”

      Just my opinion, having been on a site downrange where non-combat arms Captains, LTC, LT, and others have tried to act like they were in charge when none had ever been handed a Guidon, or could even manage a fucking fire team.

      Jon, OPT

      • majrod says:

        Great point. I personally like knowing the guy telling me hold my position or advance is a combat arms type.

    • armypa82 says:

      Here here – we can puff our chests and say we’re all the same all we want but branch insignias cut the inane song and dance and tailored verbal communication more efficiently

  7. ReverendSpecialK says:

    I’m surprised the Army is considering getting rid of the mandarin collar.

  8. Lucky says:

    Now for the Beret…

    • 10thMountainMan says:

      One of SMA Chandler’s first actions when he took his position was to re-authorize the PC for wear in garrison. That in of itself does not mean he or his successor will finally kill the beret for non-Airborne units, but it does mean someone up in the ivory tower wants it to go away. Every time I see a picture of the senior staff in their ASU uniform, they are wearing a service cap and not the beret. I really hope we eventually adopt that Army wide.

    • IZinterrogator says:

      I’ll admit it, I miss the garrison cap. Make it blue, give the officers their piping from the old green garrison caps, give enlisted yellow piping to match the epaulets, done.

      • SSD says:

        Yuck! That thing sucked balls.

        • 10thMountainMan says:

          Yeah I’m not a fan of the garrison cap. I don’t understand the hate for the service cap however. I always hear “it looks like a bus driver hat!” Bullshit. If that is the case then the Marines, who have the most envied dress uniform in the Armed Services, all look like bus drivers.

          • majrod says:

            I think a lot of the service cap hate is because a lot of those complaining were “bothered” that you just can’t put a service cap in your pocket.

          • SSD says:

            The Service Cap looks good.

            • AbnMedOps says:

              If you want to bring back the Service Cap, don’t forget to update the table of allowances for furniture (or whatever it’s called). The gov’t did away with hat racks for offices and barracks a couple decades ago.

          • Lcon says:

            There used to be a Bus company Called Vermont Transit Co. They merged back into Greyhound, Anyway there uniform looked just like USMC Service A’s and B’s minus combat Ribbons.

      • Riceball says:

        If by garrison cap you’re talking about we in the Corps called piss covers then I say that you’re better off without them. I never liked them because I always felt like they never truly stayed on your head well, it was felt like it was perched precariously on the top of my head whenever I wore it and I had to walk extra carefully in order to keep it from falling off. However, in the Army you have one advantage with them and that’s you’re allowed tuck it into your belt and/or epaulet, in the Corps we always had to hold on to it, no stashing it somewhere on your body so you don’t have to constantly hold the stupid thing when you’re indoors.

        • AbnMedOps says:

          I believe what you are referring to as a garrison cap was once called an overseas cap (at least in the Army), or the “C-cap” (in vulgar slang )and was only authorized when TDY, overseas or in travel status (due to the PITA factor of traveling with a round Service cap).

          An old-time, brown-boot 101st veteran told me they had a custom of sewing a silver dollar under the glider patch, so that the c-cap could be swung like a blackjack in a barfight, but you would fined if caught. ‘Course, that was back in the days when we firebombed our enemies and forced them into unconditional surrender. Sigh.

  9. fryer duck says:

    I wish they would offer a better solution for the cuffs. Velcro wears out, the two buttons don’t offer a very good fit either. Did they ever open this up to an online survey like ipfu?

    • bulldog76 says:

      umm bdu jackets had three buttons on the cuff

      • fryer duck says:

        All of the new acu tops that I have received only have two buttons on the cuffs.

      • COL REMF says:

        But one of those three buttons was to enable sleave-rolling (which probably won’t be authorized with OCP because of sleave pockets). Concur he current OCP sleave buttons suck, however the Velcro on ACU wrists doesn’t wear out if you adjust them so you can get your hands through the and never adjust thereafter

        • 10thMountainMan says:

          I’m glad we’re returning to buttons. I showed a private how to sew one on his cargo pocket last time we were at NTC and he looked at me like I was MacGyver. We NCOs need to do a better job teaching these kids the field craft that was kindly imparted on to us many moons ago.

          • bulldog76 says:

            * indian chief voice* yes strength of 10 mountain men they need be taught sewing and hopefully one day the rolling up of sleeve and how to use sling to shoot at ranges as far as buffalo roam and how to use solely irons incase of emergencies *smokes peace pipe*

            • Jon, OPT says:

              Then we can learn all over again that buttons, when worn under armor, suck huge donkey dick, and further modify our uniforms to create another complaint.

              Jon, OPT

              • COL REMF says:

                And buttons are comparitively easily torn off by rucksacks and other heavy kit, requiring NCOs to spend time teaching soldiers how to sew instead of MOS-related skills. But I guess if you never ever need field equipment or body armor because you’ve got a permanent profile permitted by your MOS . . . .

                • Jon, OPT says:

                  We could go all day with this. I don’t oppose buttons in most places, but under a plate, they suck, this lesson has been learned and mods were made based upon it. I prefer them on the fly, pants pocket, and cuffs. On sleeve pockets they are a pain in the ass.

                  Teaching someone to sew buttons on takes minutes, it’s a skill level 0 task, and not a training dis-tractor. Plus sewing in general falls under simple field craft, which all Combat Arms should know anyway. We used to sew our own nametapes, reflective tapes, and ripped equipment as privates.

                  I have no clue what that profile comment means, but the uniform shouldn’t be designed for non-combat MOSs or people with permanent profiles. So, sure, I guess.

                  Jon, OPT

                  • Terry B says:

                    Well said. +1

                  • COL REMF says:

                    Sorry, I was referring to buttons on the cuffs, but also applies to buttons on the chest, which I’ve inadvertently torn off of BDUs. Also sorry my sarcasm was not more readily apparent, as I was attempting to reinforce your comment rather than degrade from it.

              • bulldog76 says:

                either choose the velcro which soldier bitch about or the buttons that soldiers bitch about i mean come on you can’t have your cake and eat it too

                • Subandsand says:

                  Well you can. The NWU TYPE II & III have velcro and buttons on the pockets so that you can choose which you want to use.

              • straps says:


                Also if (when) we fight a technologically advanced enemy (Russia) we’ll need camo netting for something other than shade (signature control) while fighting on the move (jumping the TOCs).

                My “field” uniforms had velcro cuffs in 1985. Was an awesome mod that had the added bonus of making E-9s incontinent.

                • SSD says:

                  Ah yes, buttons get caught on Camo net, and other stuff. Lots of ripped pockets thanks to that. Next thing you guys will want to starch your uniforms again so you’ll burn holes in the pocket flaps where the buttons are. And then you’ll have some guy running around who’s bored because he doesn’t have a real job and give everyone grief over their unbuttoned pocket flaps.

                  Enjoy the 90s boys! You were given a uniform to get you away from all of that crap and you want to screw it up and bring all of the BS back.

                  • 10thMountainMan says:

                    This is not a zero sum game. We can use buttons where it is appropriate, i.e. the cargo pockets on our legs where velcro keeps wearing out, and also not do stupid shit like starch our uniforms and spit-shine jungle boots.

              • winslow says:

                or we can “innovate” with a truly flat set of buttons that aren’t a PITA with armor…or the fact that there is this marvelous invention called the Combat Shirt.

              • fryer duck says:

                My original thought was that if they are making minor adjustments to the ACU(beyond camo), the cuff could use some alterations. My current uniforms have two buttons on the cuff and a closure tab(i don’t know what it is really called) with a single button hole. Something as simple as putting the button on the closure tab rather than on the cuff, would allow several(more than two) button holes on the cuff making a better fit.

                • fryer duck says:

                  I retract that last statement. They just need to put more button holes on the cuff.

            • 10thMountainMan says:

              Bulldog 76. You have passed the vision quest of my people. Go in peace and forever be known as a friend of the Bears..Er..Mountain Men.

          • Norbis says:

            Haha that reminds me;
            My squad leader was a button nazi, one day I am walking by, he sees my DCU cargo pocket un-buttoned and he rips the buttons off and hands them to me. Of course I’m a pissy PFC, so I really show him and sew my pocket shut and tell him I don’t know how to sew buttons on. Hahaha… Lots of push ups and an extra guard shift that night.

        • Hardchawger says:

          Navy/Marines have sleeve pockets and can wear their sleeves up. But I do notice their sleeve pockets start a bit higher near the shoulder. What prevents us is the velcro and patches.

          If they get those pockets about an inch higher and allow sew-on of the patches you can do a decent roll similar to BDU type. Not the manner the Marines roll it. Did you ever see the cover of the Army Times with the ACUs with sleeves rolled?

  10. Lucky says:


  11. DAN III says:

    Look, all that should ever have happened is the Vietnam jungle fatigue should have been standard issue in the US Army. Instead, the military-industrial-garment industry is making billions off of DoD with all this crap uniform issue.

    Vietnam jungles….they were ahead of their time. But, oh so politically incorrect.

    • COL REMF says:

      I can’t tell if that was meant in jest, butI still have two sets of OG 107s that I wore in the early-80s before the ripstop BDUs. They’re great in jungle/forest but they’re way too dark for most of the planet. And you can’t reach the pockets when wearing body armor.

      • Mitchell Fuller says:

        There also made from wind resistant fabric to impede the bugs from getting to you, which makes them less breathable = hot.

        Look at the label inside wind resistant fabric. When developing uniform Army had looser weave, more breathable fabric of heavier weight, but the troops liked the lighter weight fabric because it was lighter weight so that’s what they went with.

        I love them too, back in the day Omaha Surplus in Fort Worth had them stocked deep, later model with zipper fly. Moore Militaria offers reproductions.

  12. meow says:

    If only they had more of an athletic cut instead of the husky fit for the blouse or should I say top

    • SSD says:

      Try the alternate size ACU. That’s more of a blouse.

      • Riceball says:

        But . . . but . . . but . . . you’ve said that only women and Marines wear blouses. Are you trying to accuse meow of being either a woman or wanting to be a Marine? 😀

  13. 10thMountainMan says:

    Any of you guys ever get issued the DCUs with the ridiculously big 1970’s style collar? I had one of those my first trip to Iraq. The jokes were plentiful. I wonder if I could get some ACUs wit that collar just for the giggles.

    • Jon, OPT says:

      The disco collar, Jeebus, they still had stock of the really odd sizes when I came in, so you would see really short or really tall guys lower ranking guys wearing them. Nothing like a dude who’s 5’3″ with a collar that touches his shoulders, nothing against the little bastard but he looked like a 12 year old in his dad’s uniform.

    • winslow says:

      I’ve heard many names for those collars. Count Dracula, disco, elvis, etc.

      I admit that I did like them because they kept the sun off and dust off my neck. They were kind of dumb looking too.

  14. DanW says:

    Well, I just bought a new set of ABU’s yesterday, so I imagine the Air Force will make their announcement soon

  15. Brian says:

    I wish they would consider a different cut on the uniform, something more athletic fitting like the Crye field uniforms.

    • Greg says:

      Why? And give Crye another plausible reason to sue? Most of us like the MCCUU cut.

      • Ab5olut3zero says:

        I agree. MCCUU cut looks loads better than ACU and best part- no Velcro on shoulder pockets, no zippers to fail, and no pen pocket in the way of sleeve rolling.

  16. Hardchawger says:


    I thought you might like this article. I like the ending when the “Army official” states that the 5 Billion expenditure was over-flated.


  17. MTNPAO says:


    Keep up the hard work, any visibility on equipment? Solid Color or OCP?