But is that such a bad thing?
If you ask Soldiers wearing the current Mountain Combat Boot, a version of the Danner Combat Hiker, there's nothing to improve. But the Army, being what it is, is a bit uncomfortable with anything but a uniform solution, so early this year they launched a formal mountain combat boot program to field a standard solution to all Soldiers.
As you may remember, we've been on top of the Army's mountain combat boot story since the beginning(even being held off my Army PAOs so they could feed the info to a one-time competitor). We reported here that the service planned to come to a final decision on the boot design by September.
Well, September came and went, and the Army still hasn't decided. Rumor has it, because they'r pleased with the current boot and don't feel the pressure to change it.
Listen to PEO for Soldier Equipment Col. Bill Cole at a recent media roundtable:
Right now we're still fielding the [rapid fielding initiative] items -- mostly the Danners but some Wellcos as well. We hope within the next few months to finalize the design and go out for some solicitations for production of the final Army Mountain Boot design.When I asked him why it's taking so long to decide, Cole showed his cards a bit...
First of all, we think we're issuing a pretty good boot right now with the RFI items. So we don't feel like there's a glaring capability gap that we're not giving Soldiers. We are giving Soldiers a good capability now. But when we go to a final design and open it up for production to everybody, we want to make sure we have the chance to incorporate all the Soldier feedback and what they want out of a mountain boot.So what exactly was motivating the Army to standardize its mountain boot? A cabal of CSMs turning their nose up at the lack of uniformity during muster? I betcha there were some COs in there too. And somehow the pressure has been relieved, because the decision was to be made two months ago and Cole admitted there isn't anything wrong with the boots that are being worn now.
Or was there some massive design snafu with the candidates up a Natick? Does anyone know what's going on here?
Still, the current Danner and Wellco MCBs are pretty darn good -- though hot -- so what's the diff?