As much as it shames me to say - the Army is smarter than the Navy by an order of magnitude on this.
The Army this month began issuing new uniforms printed with a camouflage pattern called MultiCam, which is designed to blend in better with the varied landscapes of the country's mountainous terrain.I first put out my preference in Spring of '08 for multicam - and I liked it even earlier than that.
"MultiCam was selected as being the best pattern suited to Afghanistan," says Lt. Col. Mike Sloane, product manager for soldier clothing and individual equipment for Army's Program Executive Office Soldier.
The first to get the clothing is the 2nd Brigade 34th Infantry division, an Iowa National Guard unit preparing to deploy overseas from Camp Shelby, Miss. Brigades will get the uniforms as they deploy. Those that have already deployed will begin turning in their uniforms for new ones in December.
The current camouflage has been in use for six years and consists of hundreds of tiny squares bearing shades of tan, green and gray.
The MultiCam uniforms (as well as backpacks and other gear) are a patchwork of seven shades, including greens, tan and brown interspersed with dark brown splotches.
One significant difference between the two patterns is that MultiCam is designed not only to blend with the environment but also to reflect some surrounding colors, taking on an overall green appearance under a forest canopy and a tan look in the open desert, according to Crye Precision, the Brooklyn company that created the pattern.
The pattern also benefits U.S. troops who fight mostly under the cover of darkness. It is less reflective of infrared and near-infrared colors, "so at night you'll blend into the background a little bit" when seen through night-vision goggles, Sloane says.
It didn't take a chrystal ball to figure that out, I wasn't alone in seeing it was the right answer either. As the Navy's NWU I, II, III train-wreck roll-out continues and Navy stuffs sea bags with cheesy, hard to supply, expensive, and duplicative uniforms .... there is still time to do the right thing and say, "We screwed the pooch on this. We will do what the Army does WRT camo."
That is the solution. We can do it now and save the Navy and its Sailors money, time, and supply troubles. As stated before - it will hide paint just fine if you insist that is the reason you want CAMO on ships (though most would prefer coveralls that I talk to when underway if given the choice between that and NWU). It also works fine ashore. It could replace three uniforms (more if you include DCU for non-NSW).
We won't do that though - only because of mens' tender egos. That is sad; Sailors will be poorer and overburdened because grown men who call themselves leaders act like poorly raised 8-yr old girls.