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The Great Camo Boondoggle


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#1 Kenneth P. Katz

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1157 AM

An epic tale of buffoonery and military waste, with the idiotic result that the US military in the field (where joint ops are the rule, not the exception) looks like a non-uniform charlie foxtrot, and sailors who fall overboard are more difficult to spot.

 

If the military would like to better understand why their natural constituency of conservatives is losing patience in this time of fiscal problems, reading this article would be a good start.

 

 

In 2002, the U.S. military had just two kinds of camouflage uniforms. One was green, for the woods. The other was brown, for the desert.
 
Then things got strange.
 
Today, there is one camouflage pattern just for Marines in the desert. There is another just for Navy personnel in the desert. The Army has its own “universal” camouflage pattern, which is designed to work anywhere. It also has another one just for Afghanistan, where the first one doesn’t work.
 
Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle.
 
In just 11 years, two kinds of camouflage have turned into 10. And a simple aspect of the U.S. government has emerged as a complicated and expensive case study in federal duplication.

 


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#2 Sardaukar

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1205 PM

"Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle."

 

This just made my day :D


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#3 Paul G.

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1208 PM

The USMC Logoflage

 

Army "universally bad" UCP

 

ABU Tigerstripe/UCP color

 

Navy "Aquaflage"

 

2x new almost USMC Navy patterns

 

Which is the dumbest?  I cant decide, take your pick.


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#4 Sardaukar

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1213 PM

camo-couch.jpg


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#5 Colin

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1218 PM

In another place debating the "DHS ammo buy" someone pointed out that over 90 Federal agencies have armed personal. I mentioned that in itself might be the problem.


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#6 Mike Steele

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1305 PM

"Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle."

 

This just made my day :D

So they went Nekked? :wacko:


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#7 Ben Dejo

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1312 PM

In regards to camo, would it not be better to go with a patterned smock?  Faster to make, cheaper, and more importantly...since not everyone needs camo; simpler uniforms are available to everyone. 

 

Seargeants would love it as most pockets could be deleted from uniforms (pockets should be on web gear anyway).

 

In regards to the purchasing officiers who undertook this program; poorly thought out concepts will usually lead to poor results, only an exceptional officier might be able to obtain any result that is not a complete disaster, even then they will need help.


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#8 Nikolas93TS

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1325 PM

image.jpg


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#9 Yama

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 1555 PM

Remember: worst dressed Army wins the war.


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#10 Sardaukar

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 2128 PM

"Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle."

 

This just made my day :D

So they went Nekked? :wacko:

 

With Air Force...that'd not surprise me :D


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#11 GPMG

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 2128 PM

I'm reminded of a story about the auscam selection process that the resulting design was the second best when tested across all terrains in Australia. The best was faded olive drab, which was far superior to new olive drab. However no one was going to suggest that this should be the Australian camo so they got auscam at a much higher price.
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#12 JW Collins

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 0445 AM

What are these flaws with the Air Force's ABU pattern besides for the obvious question of why they just don't use the same camo as the Army? Although I suppose UCP's poor performance might have factored into that.

 

I see no reason why the Navy's desert and woodland uniforms shouldn't be variants of the Marine Corp patterns.


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#13 Lionel Mandrake

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 0629 AM

What is wrong with going back to BDU's for Army, USMC, and AF? Why should any adversary be able to identify branch of service by cammo pattern? Not to mention the fact that since BDU woodland is damn-near ubiquitous going back to it would favor those with advanced "IFF" while confusing those who don't.

 

BTW - What was that funky rough-weave, burlap type cammo uniform seen in GW I called?


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#14 shep854

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 0843 AM

Letting USMC get away with copyrighting the MARPAT digicam was truly stupid (I say that as a former Marine).  DoD should have appropriated it and decreed it the all-service standard; then found and eliminated the numbnut who foisted the UCP on the Army--there's no telling how much other damage that person inflicted.


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#15 TonyE

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 0922 AM

"Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle."

 

This just made my day :D

So they went Nekked? :wacko:

 

Heroic nude, as ancient greek warriors. :P


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#16 Yama

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 0933 AM

Letting USMC get away with copyrighting the MARPAT digicam was truly stupid (I say that as a former Marine). 

 

But think of the élan and esprit de corps!

 

If you think 10 different camoes is bad, just wait until rest of those 90 or so Federal agencies Colin mentioned start to issue their own camo uniforms...


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#17 rmgill

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 1140 AM

They want elan and esprit de corps, customize and dress up the dress uniform and tweak the working uniform (Slacks, a military cut shirt and a coat or sweater if it's needed. Battle dress is fucking battle dress. If you're wearing camo inside an office building you're not matching the scenery. 


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#18 Jeff

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 1226 PM

Navy "Aquaflage"

Living in a town with a navy base, I see this one all the time. God bless them for their service but I do have to hold back a chuckle whenever I see it. Talk about camo envy.


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#19 shep854

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 1309 PM

Letting USMC get away with copyrighting the MARPAT digicam was truly stupid (I say that as a former Marine). 

 

But think of the élan and esprit de corps!

 

If you think 10 different camoes is bad, just wait until rest of those 90 or so Federal agencies Colin mentioned start to issue their own camo uniforms...

All the Marine Corps needs are the iron-on pocket emblems.  They worked quite nicely for decades.  It's the Marine inside the utilities that give it the 'elan and esprit. ;)


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#20 rmgill

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 1411 PM

The Marines seem to have the best balance of function and utility. 

They are largely combat units. 

350px-USMC_uniforms.jpg


Dismounted combat at that. 

I see few reasons why the USAF or Navy needs camo for the majority of their staff. Camo for shipboard crew is asinine. If one goes over the side you'll never find him. USAF and NAVY SF combat units need to have camo specific to the region they're working in. Let SOCOM and the like come up with a general purpose requirement for their needs that are specific to the regions they're working in. Air police at bases, need camo specific to the region again. I can even see a Berlin Brigade type camo being appropriate for those guys. 

The army should be like the USMC mostly. Region specific camo for functions and they can piggy back off what the SOCOM guys do since, looking at ACUs, they can't be trusted to figure this shit out themselves. 

Camo is to make it easier for a soldier to hide. If they're not hiding it needs to be a uniform or a working utility. Coveralls, Dungarees, shirt, slacks and maybe a tie, what have you. Hell, what was wrong with Bell Bottom Blue Jeans and a functional shirt for shipboard work? The bell bottoms had a functional purpose, so you could turn the trousers into an ersatz life preserver if push came to shove. Get the pants off while still wearing the shoes and easy movement. 

The fact that someone went with a synthetic cloth uniform for navy shipboard wear means some committee needs to be FIRED and sent to work damage control on the worst ship in the navy. 


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