The Army announced that it will be replacing its old camouflage pattern with the new Operational Camouflage Pattern that carries a close resemblance to the Multicam pattern issued to soldiers and airmen in Afghanistan.
However, Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson confirmed that the Air Force will not follow the Army's lead and will keep its tiger stripe pattern for garrison use. The decision by the Air Force marks a reversal from a decade ago when the Air Force was quick to adopt its own digital pattern after the Army unveiled its new pixilated Universal Camouflage Pattern in 2004.
The Army plans to make Army Combat Uniforms, printed in the new pattern, available at Military Clothing Sales Stores next summer. Soldiers are expected to retire their current uniform and begin wearing the new pattern by the summer of 2018.
Speculation has arisen that the Army's decision to introduce a new camouflage pattern will lead to a new wave of service-specific patterns that the Defense Department saw over the past decade. Congress has tried to reign in service-specific patterns after the services spent billions of dollars testing and fielding the new uniforms.
Congress mandated that any new camouflage pattern must be designed to be introduced to all services. The Air Force's decision not to adopt OCP will be an issue sure to be raised in the next round of Congressional hearings set to start this month.