The US Army Camouflage Plan
A Secretary of the Army-approved four-phase plan was implemented in late FY09 to collaboratively determine the best available camouflage pattern for use in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) (Phases I-III) and to develop a long-term concealment strategy for the Army’s combat uniform and organizational clothing and individual equipment (OCIE) (Phase IV). Execution partners include the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Program Executive Office (PEO)-Soldier, Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), Naval Research Laboratories (NRL) and the US Air Force.
The 4-phase plan:
- Phase I: Immediate Action (Completed)
- In-theater field test of two alternative uniform camouflage patterns
- Survey for early feedback
- Phase II: Build the Science (Completed)
- Capture OEF Soldier feedback
- Capture OCONUS images and conduct photo-simulation detection, photo-simulation blending and rank order evaluations
- Phase III: OEF Decision and Fielding (In process)
- On 19 Feb 2010 the Secretary of the Army approved MultiCam® for OEF Soldiers
- Project Manager-Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM-SPIE)currently fielding OEF Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniforms and OCIE to next deployers and those in-theater
- Phase IV: Army Camouflage Strategy and Requirements Development (In process)
- Work with Camo IPT, led by TRADOC, to develop camouflage uniform requirements and Army Soldier camouflage strategy
Phase IV Efforts:
On 17 Feb 2010 the Army G-3/5/7 LTG Thurman assigned to TRADOC the task to develop uniform camouflage requirements and strategy recommendations by 1Q11. TRADOC has facilitated an IPT, with representation from the capability, scientific, testing, acquisition, and joint service communities, to develop this strategy. The strategy will address the needs of the entire Army which operates in an expeditionary manner and in multiple, concurrent theaters. Joint Service applications, OCIE compatibility, as well as cost to the Soldier and to the Army are also being considered in the strategy.
To assist with this task, NSRDEC has teamed with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to conduct terrain analyses that identify the diverse land cover, terrain features and seasonal effects that exist in the world. With this information, CONUS-based test locations with terrains that closely resemble geo-politically interesting areas can be identified and used for future camouflage development and evaluation. CONUS-based image collection and quality rating is currently underway to capture an initial set of images that are an appropriate representation of the world in order to support upcoming camouflage development efforts by both the government and industry. Follow-on efforts will continue until all types of worldwide terrains and their seasonal effects are fully captured.
This information will not only improve camouflage development but also simplify future camouflage performance evaluation efforts. To this end, NSRDEC has been working with ATEC to validate rendering techniques that take a color-referenced image of a camouflaged Soldier or a fabric panel and insert it into a color-calibrated terrain image. Rendering techniques such as this can be used to evaluate pattern blending and detection performance in a quick and cost effective manner during both pattern development and initial downselection. As a result, field evaluation will only become necessary prior to procurement decisions.
- Improved concealment across the spectrum of global military operating environments
- Decreased probability of detection
- Mitigation of sensor threats and acquisition/re-acquisition
- Visual compatibility of uniform and equipment