By David A. Fahrenthold
The U.S. Army’s effort to design a new camouflage uniform — which has taken three years and cost at least $2.9 million — appears to have stalled and may never produce a new design.
This week, Army spokesman William J. Layer said that choosing a new camouflage pattern “is not a priority at this time.” He said he did not know when the choice of a new pattern — planned for last December — would be made. One reason for the uncertainty, Layer said, is that Congress appears ready to crack down on the military’s expensive habit of letting each armed service design its own camouflage.
In 2002, the military had just two camouflage patterns. By this year, after a series of duplicative efforts documented by the Government Accountability Office, there were 10. And many of them have problems: the Air Force issued an “Airman Battle Uniform” — and then decreed that airmen in Afghanistan should not use it in battle. The Navy puzzled sailors by issuing them blue camouflage uniforms, which would camouflage them best if they fell overboard.