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New Rules Force Army to Add MARPAT to Camo Strategy

camo4Army leaders will have to include the Marine Corps' camouflage patterns in the new camouflage strategy the service plans to unveil in April.

Army uniform officials will outline the new strategy after it appeared the service was ready to announce it would replace the service's Universal Camouflage Pattern with Crye Precision's Multicam last fall. However, Congress introduced new legislation last year stipulating that any new camouflage pattern must be designed with the entire military in mind.

This was always part of the plan, Army officials said Wednesday. However, it has never been so clearly stipulated in their statements to the media as it was on Wednesday in response to an article Matthew Cox wrote for Military.com on the new strategy coming in April.

"The Army continues to move forward with [camouflage] testing. As in the past Phase IV Camouflage testing, the Army will continue to test existing service camouflage patterns, exploring all camouflage options that are in keeping with the law," Army spokesman William Layer said in an email. "This includes existing Navy and United States Marine Corps patterns-as it has all along."

That's right, the Navy Working Uniform type II & III desert and woodland pattern will be included in the overall discussion of the Army's replacement of the UCP. And apparently the Air Force got left out of the service-wide disccusion.

Lawmakers inserted language into last year's National Defense Authorization Act following frustrations with the amount of money spent by the services to each have their own camouflage pattern. Congress has said it has led to confusion from allied nations. Capitol Hill wants the military to go back to one universal camouflage pattern across all services by 2018.

Of course, the Marine Corps was the first to introduce a service-specific camouflage pattern with MARPAT in 2002 when the service chose to brand their symbol onto the uniform. The other services have followed suit leading to many service members, especially Marines, to identify their service-specific camouflage pattern as a source of pride.

Therefore it's hard to imagine the Army adopting the Marine Corps' pattern or vice versa. It seems like it would require a joint program to design a brand new pattern that all services could wear by 2018. This, of course, will likely be expensive, which was what Congress wanted to avoid in the first place.

UPDATED: An earlier version of the article referred to the Navy's NWU type I camouflage pattern instead of the Navy Working Uniform type II & III desert and woodland pattern the Army is considering as a reader pointed out.

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