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New camouflage Army uniform nowhere to be seen

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By The Washington Post
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 8:39 p.m.
 

The Army's effort to design a new camouflage uniform — which has taken three years and cost at least $2.9 million — appears to have stalled and may never produce a design.

Army spokesman William Layer said choosing a new camouflage pattern “is not a priority at this time.” He said he did not know when the choice of a new pattern — planned for last December — would be made.

One reason for the uncertainty, Layer said, is that Congress appears ready to crack down on the military's expensive habit of letting each armed service design its own camouflage.

In 2002, the military had just two camouflage patterns. By this year, as a result of a series of duplicative efforts documented by the Government Accountability Office, there were 10. And many of them have problems: the Air Force issued an “Airman Battle Uniform” and then decreed that airmen in Afghanistan should not use it in battle. The Navy puzzled sailors by issuing them blue camouflage uniforms, which would camouflage them best if they fell overboard.

The Army was working on a pattern that would replace the flawed “universal” camouflage that was issued Armywide in 2005 but failed to work well in Afghanistan.

The new pattern was supposed to be chosen by December 2012. It wasn't. And it's not clear when or whether it will be — a situation reported last week by the Army Times.

Layer said the Army was operating with less money because of budget cuts.

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