Congress is not allowing the military to develop any new camouflaged uniforms, and is further ordering that all the branches adopt one uniform for all.
What? No more Navy blue for sailors?
What’s that? Marines will have to wear the same camo pattern as soldiers?
Say again? One uniform to rule them all: Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force?
It’s all a way to save money, of course, but I don’t think Congress is far out of line when requiring the military to be cost effective when it comes to selecting a uniform.
And what should be good for one, should be good for all, right?
A good camouflage pattern should help keep soldiers alive by keeping them hard to be seen by the enemy. And if it’s good — if it’s the best — why wouldn’t all American military members want to use it?
Plus, we’re all on the same side, and wearing the same uniform makes sense. It’d be a real tragedy if a soldier or Marine started shooting at friendly forces simply because he or she didn’t recognize the uniform.
But which uniform should everyone conform to? That’s a question that may be at the center of heated debate in the next year.
In a recent Army Times report, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the uniform soldiers wear in Afghanistan — the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or MultiCam — will likely soon replace the Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, which soldiers wear everywhere else.
So, the Army at least, will switch to MultiCam?
“I think the testing tells us that’s the best uniform, but we have not finalized that decision yet. You know that I usually don’t avoid questions, but it’s contractual, so I’ve got to be careful of what I say,” Odierno told Army Times.
Apparently, even though it went through $5 billion of research and development, it was determined that the UCP isn’t very effective in environments like Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Wasteful spending like that, combined with defense budget cuts, is causing Congress to get tough on the military when it comes to clothes.
The military should adopt one camouflaged pattern across the board. It should be a multibranched effort consisting of combat veterans from all services. And if we want to pick one that’s out there already, then the MultiCam is probably as good as any.
The service tag opposite the name tag still says to which branch the service member belongs. And there are other things that can be done to differentiate the uniform, like various hats, including that funny one Marines wear.