"In January, U.S. Army uniform officials will begin an evaluation of the service's new Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform by issuing the lighter, more breathable uniform to thousands of soldiers in Hawaii.The move comes as the service is also testing a new jungle boot.
The new IHWC is the result of a directed requirement to outfit soldier with a jungle uniform suitable for operations in the Pacific theater. This follows a similar effort that recently resulted in the Army fielding 9,000 pairs of new Jungle Combat Boots to the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat teams in Hawaii between March and August.
Up until this point, 25th ID soldiers training to operate in hot, tropical environments have been wearing Universal Camouflage Pattern Army Combat Uniforms and Hot Weather Combat Boots intended for desert environments."
Soldiers may very well end up liking the new threads. But the move highlights what some critics say is a tendency by the Army -- and other military services -- to make too frequent uniform changes, and with questionable results.
Defense Secretary James Mattis himself recently blasted Pentagon bureaucrats for wasting nearly $30 million over a decade on uniforms for Afghan forces featuring a camouflage forest pattern that may be ineffective in the country's desert terrain.
What was the military's response? To further study the issue, of course -- even though the Army had already conducted exhaustive reviews of camouflage patterns for Afghanistan.
After we shared Matt's story about the jungle uniform on Twitter, John Q. Public, a watchdog site focusing on Air Force issues, tweeted, "If the Military would just listen to the enlisted ranks they would have had a usable uniform decades ago. Generals are not the end users."
What do you think? Would the quality of military uniforms and gear improve if enlisted troops were the ones making the call? What should change about the current decision-making process?