[Rushtalk] House Votes to Eliminate Service Camo Patterns
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Thu Jun 27 14:10:50 MDT 2013
House Votes to Eliminate Service Camo Patterns
Jun 06, 2013
Military.com| by Matthew Cox and Michael Hoffman
Troops in Camoflage
A Congressional committee voted Wednesday to end service-specific
camouflage in an amendment that would push the military toward creating
joint combat uniforms by 2018.
Committee members expressed frustration over the millions of dollars the
services have spent to field camouflage patterns that focus more on
creating a visual brand than effective concealment for the battlefield.
This is not the first time the Pentagon has been criticized over its
management of camouflage development.
The Government Accountability Office blasted the U.S. military in
September for the way it has developed camouflage uniforms over the past
decade. Since 2012, military service leaders have introduced seven new
patterns -- two desert, two woodland and three universal -- in a
"fragmented approach" that GAO officials argue should be avoided in the
House Armed Service Committee members want the Pentagon to develop a
joint combat uniform over the next five years. Moving to one joint
combat uniform doesn't mean there would only be one camouflage pattern.
Different patterns could still be designed for specific geographic
requirements such as the woodland or desert patterns. However, each
service would not design their versions.
The amendment restricts the creation of any further camouflage patterns
for combat uniforms unless the intention is to share it. Approval of the
amendment comes as the Army is set to announce a replacement to its
Universal Camouflage Pattern, a pixilated mix of gray, green and tan
that has proven ineffective in tests and on the battlefield.
It's unclear how this amendment, if approved by the Senate, would affect
the Army's selection of a new camouflage pattern. The Army recently
concluded an extensive, four-year camouflage improvement effort.
Army uniform officials launched the effort after Pennsylvania's
Democratic Rep. John Murtha, got involved in the issue in 2009. Murtha
was then chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
He pushed the service to look for a better camouflage pattern after
receiving complaints from sergeants about the UCP's poor performance in
the war zone. Murtha died in 2010, just before the Army selected
MultiCam as the clear winner over several other patterns to issue to
soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.
Some test community officials maintain that fielding UCP was a mistake
that could have been avoided. Two separate studies performed by Army
scientists from Natick Soldier Systems Center, Mass. -- one completed in
2009 and the other in 2006 -- showed that the UCP performed poorly in
multiple environments when compared to other modern camouflage patterns.
In both studies, MultiCam, a pattern popular with Special Operations
Forces, outperformed UCP, the pattern the Army adopted in 2004 to
replace the service's woodland and desert camouflage uniforms.
Natick officials last year, publicly criticized the Army for selecting
UCP long before testing was complete, charging that UCP cost taxpayers
billions in uniforms and matching body armor, backpacks and other
Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill.,and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., co-sponsored
the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Enyart is a
retired two-star who served in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Army
Duckworth still serves in the Illinois National Guard as a lieutenant
colonel even though she lost both her legs in a helicopter crash in Iraq
Enyart pleaded for committee members to "cut an abundance of uniforms"
rather than approve further force reductions as Congress tries to
balance budget cuts to the military.
The Army spent $2.6 million to develop the UCP pattern and then another
$2.9 million to field Multicam combat uniforms after Army officials
determined the UCP was unsuitable for Afghanistan.
The GAO estimates that the Army will have to spend another $4 billion on
uniforms and equipment over the next five years when it selects its new
family of camouflage patterns.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., who chairs the committee that oversees military
uniforms, supported the amendment, but said it would cost the military
more money to develop a joint combat uniform that would satisfy all the
The committee approved the amendment by the closest of margins with a
vote of 32-30. Twenty-seven Democrats and five Republicans voted for it,
while one Democrat and 29 Republicans voted against it.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Col. a former Marine and soldier, was one
Congressman who voted against it. He said the amount of savings gained
by moving to a joint combat uniform was relatively small compared to the
morale gained within the services of having separate uniforms.
"This is really a morale issue, for our men and women in uniform,"
ObombA did not win erection, Trotskite RINO Mitt Romney threw the
election. -- Rush Limbaugh
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