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Army Stays Quiet on New Camouflage Selection

Multicam AfghanistanThe U.S. Army has selected a new camouflage pattern, but the service doesn't feel the need to formally announce it.

Military.com reported in May that the Army had selected the Scorpion W2 pattern -- a near replica to the Multicam pattern that soldiers are wearing in Afghanistan. However, the Army has  chosen not to even issue a press release on it yet. 

The first official acknowledgement of the camouflage selection came yesterday in a hotel suite in Washington D.C. when Gen. Dennis L. Via, head of Army Materiel Command, said the service had selected the Scorpion W2 pattern at a reporter round table. It wasn't announced at the event, Via only mentioned it after he was directly asked about it by a reporter.

When Military.com reporters have called Army Public Affairs for comment on the selection, officials there have said they had no new information on it. It seems strange that the Army has chosen not to publicly acknowledge such a monumental decision that will affect every soldier.

Officials are clearly talking about it within the ranks. Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III has been briefing senior sergeants major throughout the Army about the decision in this spring. But a public announcement has yet to be made.

There are a few reasons why the Army has chosen to maintain a low profile about their selection. Recent legislation passed by Congress regarding the introduction of a new service-specific camouflage pattern is a good place to start.

Lawmakers told the Pentagon that they are fed up with the services spending millions to develop their own patterns and want the military to return to one pattern.

When Via was asked if the Army had included other services in the decision to select Scorpion W2, he said he hasn't heard of any such efforts. This would seem to fly in the face of the new legislation.

Plenty of questions still exist that the Army has chosen not to answer regarding the selection. The leading one is why choose a Multicam look-a-like instead of the real thing and potentially avoid legal problems, especially when soldiers are already wearing the pattern in Afghanistan.

The Army has owned Scorpion for years. In fact, the owner of Multicam is the same person who designed Scorpion.

Army officials chose not to purchase the rights to Multicam following a dispute over funding, according to sources. The Army rejected Caleb Crye's offer to sell Multicam to the Army for $25 million.

Army leaders might not want to draw attention to this type of spat after canceling a modernization program to replace the Bradley that cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars.

So the wait continues.

Meanwhile, Via said the program remains on track to deliver the new uniforms to soldiers in 2015. The question is if the Army plans to announce it or have the uniforms just show up on base doorsteps.

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