Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Army UCP goes DOA

Written By: Bob - Jun• 26•12

The U.S. Army’s universal camo pattern (UCP), which worked halfway decent in some environment but stuck out like a sore thumb in more, is finally going the way of the dodo.

After eight years and billions of dollars, the Army has given up on an ambitious effort to clothe its soldiers in a “universal camouflage pattern.” The grey uniform, widely issued and widely loathed, was supposed to blend in equally well in all environments, from desert sand to green forest to city streets. It just didn’t. Now the Army’s going back to the old, obvious approach of having different designs for different places.

Despite what some have said about it, the UCP was not a horrible design. The digital camo pattern concept works and has been adopted by many armed forces. It a matter of color selections within the design to match a specific terrain environment.

If the Army is smart, they won’t look far for their next patterns, as there are several good ones already being usedby soem Army units and by other U.S. Armed Forces.

The most obvious choice would be following the CADPAT pattern base that the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy did, developing desert, woodland, and possibly urban variants.

A second option would be to developing more environmentally specific variants of the Multi-Cam pattern popular among soldiers in Afghanistan and civilians here in the States for it’s general adaptability… perhaps arid and urban flavor to compliment the existing pattern that works so well in vegetation.

A third option, theoretically “more organic” in design, is the A-TACS universal pattern that the developers were smart enough to break into an arid/urban and forest patterns.

All three options provide solid camouflage technology and can be adopted to varying color schemes. The problem is, as it always is, getting Army desk jockeys out of the damn way to get the troops the gear they really want and need.

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  1. Let’s just outfit ’em all in Mossy Oak.

  2. Phelps says:

    Funny thing is I prefer UCP for myself because it is an outstanding urban camo and pretty good for Texas summers.

  3. mightysamurai says:

    Off-topic but important.

    Zimmerman passed a lie detector test the day after killing Trayvon Martin.

  4. Critch says:

    Well, the USAF got their ABU pattern right, but the material was so heavy it burned you down. When we had the greens and BDUs all the enemy had to do was shoot the tree on the flightline next to the big grey airplane. The new pattern is a darn good urban camo, but not so great in the woods.

  5. Orion says:

    I’m currently a US Soldier and my opinions are mine alone and in no way am I speaking for the Army or anyone else but myself. That being said, UCP SUCKS.

    It does seem OK in an urban environment – in everything else, you are better camouflaged wearing a rotating yellow beacon on your head. Bad guys would figure you were some sort of construction equipment…I’ve been able to pick out individual Soldiers standing in broken brush in bands of light and shadow from a distance of almost 2 miles. EASILY.

    Multi-Cam? You disappear. From even close ranges. That stuff is AWESOME. I would LOVE to see that be the standard issue much as the old Woodland pattern…

    Other than that and the velcro cargo pocket flaps, I LOVE my ACUs and all the new gear they issue. This stuff is light-years ahead of what they had in the 80’s.


    • Bob says:

      I completely second your comment about the crappy velcro cargo pocket flaps. It can’t seem to contain even moderately-weighted contents like first aid items, much less heavier components. I’d like to see these pockets replace the velcro with buttons like the old BDUs with the addition of an elastic drawstring to constrict the opening size.