DLA provides ‘tip of the iceberg’ support for new Army camo pattern

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support

The release of the Army combat uniform in the operational camouflage pattern July 1 is just the beginning of Defense Logistics Agency’s camouflage transition support to the Army, a DLA Troop Support leader said.

As the official procurement agency for the ACU, DLA Troop Support Clothing and Textiles has been working with the Army and other stakeholders for more than a year planning the operational camouflage pattern rollout, C&T Plans and Integration Division Chief Dave Farrell said.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Farrell said. “The Army is changing their camouflage pattern in everything they wear; bag items are changing now, and beyond this we have organizational items, cold weather gear and so on.”

About 150,000 operational camouflage pattern ACU sets of coats, trousers, caps, T-shirts, belts and boots are now available in select military clothing sales stores around the world, Farrell said.

The operational camouflage pattern replaces the existing universal camouflage pattern and Operation Enduring Freedom camouflage pattern. All military clothing sales stores will offer the ACU in the operational camouflage pattern by soldiers’ mandatory possession date, October 1, 2019, Army officials said.

“The Army has confirmed through testing that the pattern would offer exceptional concealment, which directly enhances force protection and survivability for soldiers,” officials said. “The operational camouflage pattern emphasizes that the pattern’s use extends beyond Afghanistan to all combatant commands.”

In addition to the camouflage pattern change, some design elements were updated, including pocket, collar and waistband changes. The color of T-shirts and belts will also change from sand to tan and the color of boots from sand to coyote brown.

C&T is part of an integrated process team with the Army Program Executive Office Soldier, Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center, and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service that plans the phasing stages of the uniform transition.

“It’s a collaborative effort internally and externally,” said Monique Williams, C&T Army Recruit Cell branch chief. “Nothing happens without a plan.”

Customer collaboration is also ongoing, Recruit Training Division Chief Thomas Holtz said. C&T customer account specialists personally called each MCSS affected by the initial release, including those as far as Korea, to ensure everything runs smoothly.

These representatives are working to mitigate any issues the stores may have, ensure there is enough space for the material and make themselves accessible to customers, Holtz explained.

C&T is working with vendors to maintain production levels of the OCP uniform as its small industry base is also still producing other uniform requirements, including utility uniforms and universal camouflage pattern ACUs for recruit training centers, Farrell explained.

Centralized issue of the OCP uniform for recruits will begin in January 2016, Army officials said.

“To be most cost effective to the [American] taxpayer, we have a drawdown plan for residual assets,” Field Clothing Division Chief Steven Merch said.

Prices for the UCP and operational camouflage pattern ACUs are comparable, both priced near $200 per set of coat, pants, T-shirt, belt and boots, Holtz said.