Marine Corps Grapples with Camouflage Shortage, Approves Alternative UniformsGo Back to News and Updates
The U.S. Marine Corps is now experiencing a significant scarcity of its woodland-pattern camouflage uniforms, which has prompted service personnel to seek out alternatives that are not generally permitted under Marine Corps uniform requirements.
After returning from their Indo-Pacific trip, Commandant General Eric Smith and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlos Ruiz addressed the matter in an Instagram video. According to General Smith, "That problem is going to stay with us until the autumn of 2024 when the manufacturer can fill that backlog that has been created after Covid."
In light of the current scarcity, individual companies may choose to wear FROG (Flame Resistant Organisational Gear) or desert cammies instead of the standard issue uniform. However, this is just a short-term solution that should keep the backlog at bay until the autumn of 2024.
According to the 2016 Marine Corps Seasonal Uniform Guidance, forest camouflage uniforms are to be worn year-round. Training and deployments are exempt from this rule. From 2008 through 2016, summer uniforms were often issued in a desert camouflage pattern.
Avoiding instances when Marines are seen with damaged cammies is a top priority, as stated by Gen. Smith: "That looks bad for the Corps." He apologized for the trouble and asked for patience as attempts were made to fix the problem.
The Marine Corps is dedicated to excellence, although individual battalions and squadrons may grant service personnel permission to wear nonstandard uniforms if they see fit. Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. John Parry emphasized that commanders' choices should prioritize both "mission readiness" and "reducing the overall impact on daily operations."
American Apparel Inc., the main provider of Marine Corps uniforms, is struggling to keep up with the soaring demand. Inflation and labor hikes have made it impossible to produce enough uniforms at the fixed price established in the Defence Logistics Agency contract, as CEO of American Apparel Chuck Lambert recently disclosed.
Lambert said there were widespread shortages across the Marine Corps, and he blamed the company's inability to keep production up at the agreed-upon cost. Since the Marine Corps is short on basic uniforms, other measures have been approved to keep troops mission-ready while still meeting the highest standards set by the organization.
The Marine Corps is working hard to resolve supply chain problems and reduce stress for its troops as a result of these setbacks. As the manufacturer works through the backlog caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, the situation is projected to improve over the next few years.