February 19, 2010 - The secretary of the Army announced today that the Army will provide combat uniforms in the MultiCam pattern to all soldiers deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, starting this summer.
This decision follows a rigorous four-month evaluation and reflects the Army's commitment to giving soldiers in Afghanistan the most effective concealment possible.
Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan this summer will receive fire resistant Army combat uniforms in MultiCam, along with associated equipment including body armor, rucksacks, and helmet covers.
The Army's selection of MultiCam for soldiers in Afghanistan culminates phase III of a four-phase plan to thoroughly and deliberately evaluate camouflage alternatives.
The Army took action in fall 2009 to provide two battalion-size elements in Afghanistan with uniforms and associated gear in patterns other than the standard-issue universal camouflage pattern (UCP). One unit received uniforms and gear in MultiCam, and the other in a variant of UCP known as UCP - Delta.
In addition, the Army deployed a team of experts to Afghanistan in October to gather extensive data and photos on the diverse environments of Afghanistan, where soldiers often travel through multiple environments in a single mission, from snow to woodland to desert.
The Army incorporated the information gathered into a photo simulation study it then administered to nearly 750 soldiers who had deployed to Afghanistan. The study asked them to compare six patterns against eight different environments. The results, along with surveys of soldiers in the two battalions who received alternate camouflage, formed the basis for the Army's decision on MultiCam.
The Army will now implement phase IV of its plan for camouflage, which is to evaluate long-term Army combat uniform camouflage options for all soldiers.
Camouflage alternatives represent one facet of the Army's ongoing efforts to improve the Army combat uniform. The Army has made more than 26 improvements to the ACU since it was first fielded in June 2004.