After learning that the Universal Camo Pattern (UCP) was useful for hiding in arid regions (and on floral pattern couches) and just about nowhere else, the Army started adopting Crye’s Multicam for use in the temperate and mountainous environments of Afghanistan.
They liked it enough that they think everyone in the Army should have it, and they’re now making the adoption official.
It has now been released by the U.S. Army that a contract was awarded to license Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP) from Crye Precision. It been a long haul for the Crye Precision camouflage to become the chosen pattern to replace the Universal Camouflage Pattern, despite previous evaluations showing the effectiveness of the MultiCam pattern. The Justification and Approval document released in regard to the contract was redacted and the award amount was not indicated, however there is a great amount of information in the answers given to justify this licensing agreement.
Unlike the grossly over-hyped UCP, Multicam (or as they’re now calling it, OCP) is a good all-purpose temperate climate pattern… but I simply don’t see an advantage in the change for the way American Army units typically fight.
If soldiers are patrolling they are moving, and whatever they are wearing is largely irrelevant, and if they are stationary at a distance (say, 500 yards) wearing anything remotely earth-toned, you won’t.
If soldiers are mechanized infantry dismounting from Bradleys or Strykers, or heli-borne troopers, they’re arriving in loud and noisy vehicles, and then moving, so the idea that camouflage will make a difference is far-fetched.
If soldiers are sitting in static bases/fixed combat outposts, their on-site camouflage is largely irrelevant (as they’re likely to be targeted with indirect fire weapons anyway).
The only time that camouflage seems to matters at all in the Modern American Way of War are those relatively rare instances where we use true light infantry tactics and close-quarter small unit ambushes in woodland environment, which in this Army, seems to be wholly owned by Green Berets these days.
The relative uselessness of printed-color camouflage for mostly mechanized infantry was something long ago figured out by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), who have instead spent their time and energy working on defeating infrared and thermal imaging technologies, with the singular nod towards camouflaging the most distinctive and obvious shape on the human body—the head—with their purposefully floppy and bizarre-looking but effective helmet covers called mitznefet.
I do see a possible silver lining in the adoption of OCP by the Army. As military surplus hits the market, the price of Multicam is likely to come down for the civilian hunters who can make best use of it.