The Army Made A $5 Billion Mistake Choosing Its Uniforms

Army Uniform

Photo: US Army via clickr

The U.S. Marine Corps has long been known for doing more with less; smaller, more agile, and quick to react, it actually employed that ability when hunting for new uniforms in 2002.Erik German at The Daily tells the story of the Marines and the Army’s uniform selections, mentioning a conversation he had with a textile technologist that shows the Marines flexibility and the Army’s cumbersome bureaucracy.

The Marines went to their sniper school at Quantico, Va., and told a couple of their guys to find a good camouflage colour for the new uniform pattern. A group of snipers went to the local Home Depot and found the main base colour in the Ralph Lauren section of the paint department. The colour now called Coyote Brown went into the pattern of their very successful and well-loved MARPAT uniform pattern.

This was also around the time the Army was sending its troops to Iraq with uniforms and body armour in a variety of mismatched patterns that, in effect, left U.S. soldiers wearing a target for the enemy to fire upon.

Bedder explains that in response to this and the Marines new uniforms, the general in charge of Army uniform procurement told his staff to pick a colour before trials were finished. 

Five billion dollars, eight years later, and the Army is now doing the whole thing again. Over the next 12 months 1.1 million soldiers will be replacing their uniforms for something called Multicam.

Hopefully this will work out better for troops, and won’t have to be replaced again in a handful of years.

Read the whole story at The Daily.


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