What do I need to know about the new Army Combat Uniform?

The United States Army has updated its standard uniform, known as the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).  The new ACU differs in both the garment features (that is, the pattern) and the uniform camoflauge pattern of the fabric itself.   The new camo fabric is known as Operational Camoflauge Pattern (OCP).

Although the new camo pattern for the Army Combat Uniforms has been selected, it is not yet commercially available, so some military uniform manufacturers, notably Propper International, are making the new style ACU in the old OCP camo fabrics.  That is, the style and features of the new ACU's meet the new spec, but they are made from the camo fabrics that are being phased out.  

The changeover to the new Operational Camoflauge Pattern ACU uniforms is authorized as soon as materials are available, with priority given to outfitting new troops.  There will be a transition period, as U.S. soldiers may continue to wear existing Universal Digital Pattern ACU uniforms until the designated wear-out date of September 30th, 2019.  

The new OCP print camo pattern was developed based on the original Scorpion pattern used for MultiCam.  Until the Operational Camoflauge Pattern fabric is available for use by commercial manufacturers, military uniform suppliers like Propper have issued new-spec ACU coats and new-spec ACU trousers that incorporate the changes to the uniform design while using the Universal Digital Pattern or MultiCam patterns currently in service.  These new-spec Army Combat Uniforms are currently available and approved for use.

To familiarize you with the changes, Anchortex Corporation has compiled a brief list of changes to the uniform:

Eight Changes to the new OCP Army Combat Uniform Coat Pattern:

  1. The traditional mandarin collar has been replaced with a fold down collar design.
  2. Flap extensions to the collar have been removed.
  3. Hook and loop closure of the collar has been removed.
  4. The upper sleeve pocket hook and loop flap closure has been replaced with a more secure zipper closure.
  5. The upper sleeve pocket has been extended by one inch in length.
  6. Elbow patches do not include hook and loop but retain double fabric reinforcement.
  7. Internal elbow padding has been removed.
  8. Lower sleeve pen pocket channels have been reduced from three to two.

Five Changes to the new OCP Army Combat Uniform Trousers Pattern:

  1. Trouser waistband has removed the drawstring component.
  2. Cord and barrel lock has been removed from cargo pocket (replaced by standard button closure)
  3. Hook and loop closure on lower leg pocket flap has been replaced by standard button closure.
  4. Internal knee padding has been removed.
  5. Knee pad patches do not include hook and loop but retain double fabric reinforcement.

Additional Changes to the new Army Uniform Regulations:

It is important to note that the tan duty boots and sand color T-shirt and belt that are acceptable under the current uniform policy will only be acceptable during the transition period which ends on September 30th, 2019. The new OCP Army Combat Uniform requires use of Tan 499 T-shirts, Tan 499 belts, and coyote brown boots to be worn with the new uniform camoflauge pattern, which will be mandatory starting October 1st, 2019.