The U.S. military's changing camouflage
In 2002, U.S. military forces wore only two camouflage patterns. Today there are many versions.
|Pattern||Military branch||Development costs||Background|
|Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), left; Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU)||Before 2002, all U.S. military branches used the same two camouflage patterns: a predominantly green one for woodlands and predominantly brown one for the desert.|
|Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform, woodland and desert (shown)||$319,000||The Marine Corps produced new and markedly better camouflage patterns. But the Marines took steps to make sure they weren't copied or used by other services. One such measure: The Marines inserted small Marine Corps logos into the pattern.|
|Army Combat Uniform (ACU)||$2.63 million||The Army unveiled its own "universal" camouflage pattern, intended for use in all environments. But that choice was marred with shortcuts and mistakes. The Army commissioned a study of which pattern worked best, but the brass chose this pattern before that study was finished.|
|Airman Battle Uniform (ABU)||$3.1 million||Most Air Force personnel work far from the front lines. But that force has its own "tiger stripe" uniform. Now, Air Force personnel in Afghanistan are told to wear Army Operation Enduring Freedom Pattern camouflage instead. The Airman Battle Uniform is now prohibited for use in battle.|
|Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP)||$2.9 million||For troops in Afghanistan, the Army scrapped the pattern it had introduced in 2005 and replaced it with a new one. Now, the Army is working to replace this replacement. It is expected to present another camouflage pattern later this year. The Army estimated that switching out the uniforms cost more than $38.8 million.|
|Navy Working Uniform Type I||$435,000 (combined with other 2011 patterns)||The Navy designed this camouflage-style uniform for settings where camouflage is not usually necessary: on Navy bases and ships. Sailors call them "aquaflage" or "blueberries."|
|Navy Working Uniform Type II (desert)||$435,000 (combined with other 2011 patterns)||In the mid-2000s, the Navy decided it needed its own distinct uniform for fighting on land. But the Marine Corps objected, because the pattern was similar to the Marine one. Now, the Navy limits the use of this pattern: It is worn only by Special-Operations troops and Navy personnel supporting them.|
|Navy Working Uniform Type III (woodland)||$435,000 (combined with other 2011 patterns)||This uniform features a green camouflage pattern with Navy logos. Because of the spat with the Marine Corps over the Navy's desert camouflage, some Navy forces in the Middle East have been issued these uniforms instead.|
|New camouflage pattern||$4.2 million||At some point this year, the Army is expected to announce a new camouflage pattern for troops in Afghanistan.|
SOURCES: U.S. Government Accountability Office; wire photos. GRAPHIC - The Washington Post. Published May 8, 2013.