WTF; How Did This Happen?

From an Editorial in the Army-Times, it was stated:

If you pick up a book on leadership you’ll find a recurring theme: Listen to your employees. After all, they are the ones on the front lines, face to face with the customers.

That advice applies equally in the military. But even a cursory analysis of the camouflage uniform debacle indicates that Army leadership didn’t get the word.

The Army’s employees — soldiers — have been complaining about the camouflage uniform almost since Day One. Oh, troops love the cut, the fabric, the pockets — but the camouflage pattern works only in urban terrain.

The ACU is ineffective in Iraq; it’s a disaster in Afghanistan.

You don’t need an MBA or an expensive study to determine the effectiveness of the camouflage uniform. Take it to the battlefield and see if a soldier fades into the terrain. If he does, it works. If he is visible — “sticks out like a sore thumb,” as one soldier described it — it doesn’t. Period.

Now, several years and $5 billion — and heaven knows how many lives — later, the Army brass is finally addressing the problem. Within the next month, two different camouflage patterns will be put to the test in Afghanistan.

The tests should provide data to be used — we hope — in the development and deployment of a more effective combat uniform.

There has been much discussion in recent weeks about how effective Universal Camouflage Pattern of the Army Combat Uniform is? Having worn it for four years, I like the cut, but if the information contained in the Army Times article on the same subject, I have to wonder who is responsible? According to the article there was no test data to support the choosing of the UCP for the ACU. Now I am not sure how decisions are made by the Army leadership, but if a decision that involved spending five billion dollars on a uniform and associated patterns on all sorts of equipment is true for a camouflage pattern that doesn’t work, I have to wonder who are we going to hold liable for such a mistake.

This, along with other decisions made by the Army since the beginning of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, make me wonder who is making the decisions? Why did the Army insist on procuring Up Armored HUMVEE knowing they did not provide adequate protection, that they were overweight, underpowered, lacked easy egress and could carry limited numbers of troops, whereas the there were vehicles which could have procured as early as 2005 or 2006 that offered better protection etc. Why is the Army still armed with M16A2/A3/A4, a good rifle, but there are better ones out there? Why is the Army still using the SAW a weapon that has never worked as advertised.

I am generally support the decisions the Army makes, as I figure they do things generally in a smart manner, but I am beginning to wonder? More to follow. . .