Army Increases Clothing Allowance for New Camouflage Uniforms

new army camouflage
The Army has released the first images of its new Operational Camouflage Pattern, the replacement for the service’s Universal Camouflage Pattern.

Soldiers will soon start seeing a little extra money in their clothing allowance, according to a recent All Army Activities message.

The ALARACT message, released by the Army's G-4, shows soldiers receiving roughly a 7-percent increase in their annual Clothing Replacement Allowance for 2016, a Dec. 14 Army press release states. The message also contains the clothing bag list for enlisted soldiers.

The list contains the set of clothing items issued to soldiers in basic training. It's published yearly and reflects any uniform changes approved by the Army's leadership.

The clothing allowance is intended to help enlisted soldiers maintain the items on the list.

For male soldiers with less than three years of service, their closing allowance for 2016 is $327.60 -- an increase of 7 percent. For those with more than that time in service, their allowance is $468 -- a 7.4-percent bump, according to the release.

For female soldiers under three years of service, their CRA is $349.20 -- a 7.8 percent increase over last year. Female soldiers beyond the three-year mark will get an annual $496.80 CRA -- a 7 percent increase over fiscal 2015, according to the release.

Soldiers are meant to use the yearly stipend to ensure they own all of the items listed in the clothing bag list and that the items are serviceable, the release states. The CRA shows up as an untaxed item in a soldier's paycheck, annually, on the anniversary month in which the soldier entered the service.

Changes to the clothing bag list for 2016 include the uniform items in the Army's new Operational Camouflage Pattern.

New soldiers will get four sets of Army Combat Uniforms, or ACUs, in OCP, as well as a number of items that match the new color scheme. The total list of new additions is:

-- Tan riggers belt;

-- Hot-weather combat boots in coyote color;

-- Temperate-weather combat boots in coyote color;

-- ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern patrol cap;

-- ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern coat;

-- ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern trousers;

-- Tan drawers, men's brief;

-- Lightweight cold weather drawers;

-- Mid-weight cold weather drawers;

-- Black light duty utility glove;

-- Coyote glove inserts;

-- Black glove inserts;

-- Tan moisture-wicking t-shirt;

-- Lightweight undershirt, cold weather; and

-- Mid-weight undershirt, cold weather.

Soldiers in basic training will start getting the new ACU in the Operational Camouflage Pattern later this month. For soldiers already in the force, they can continue to wear the Universal Camouflage Pattern ACU until Sept. 30, 2019. It's not until Oct. 1, 2019, that they will be required to both own and wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU.

The male and female clothing bags that are issued in basic training are similar in what they contain. Male soldiers are issued about 83 items, while female soldiers are issued about 74 items. Of those, more than 60 are exactly the same.

Male soldiers are issued nine items more than female soldiers because male soldiers are issued seven tan underwear briefs as well as two white cotton crew neck T-shirts.

Both male and female soldiers get cash allowances as part of their initial issue of uniforms in basic training. For male soldiers, that $94.33 cash allowance is meant for them to purchase running shoes and socks for physical training.

Female soldiers are given a larger cash allowance -- $391.27 -- to purchase running shoes, physical training socks, underwear, black dress pumps, and a handbag, the release states.

--Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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