With 10 patterns, U.S. military branches out on camouflage front

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.

1

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 a federal duplication.

***

The U.S. military's changing camouflage

Full Graphic

Update: The U.S. House approved a measure Friday that would require all branches of the U.S. military to share the same camouflage uniforms — instead of the 10 different camouflage patterns in use today.

Advertisements