Soldiers to get new cammo pattern for Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — This summer, Soldiers sent to fight in Afghanistan will wear an Army Combat Uniform with the “MultiCam” pattern instead of the standard-issue universal camouflage pattern.
After a rigorous four-month evaluation of various uniform patterns to determine what could best protect Soldiers in Afghanistan, the decision to use the MultiCam pattern came after the Army evaluated its effectiveness at providing camouflage protection in Iraq. That was done, in part, by consulting with nearly 750 Soldiers who had deployed to Afghanistan. Those Soldiers participated in a “photo simulation” study administered by the Army. Additionally, feedback from Soldiers who have already worn the uniform in Afghanistan was used to make the final decision. About 2,000 Soldiers were involved in tests to see how effective patterns such as MultiCam and UCP-Delta were at providing concealment in the varying terrain of Afghanistan.
The new uniforms are officially called the Fire Resistant Army Combat Uniform. They are of the same material and cut that Soldiers are already wearing in the ACU. It is the camouflage printed on the fabric that will be different. General sees gains in Afghan army training
WASHINGTON — Though training an Afghan army essentially from the ground up has been a difficult undertaking, MG David Hogg, deputy commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, said he sees positive results.More than 17,000 Afghan recruits are in basic training at regional training centers that instruct 1,400 recruits at a time. The Afghan army also has an officer candidate school and a noncommissioned officer education program, including a sergeants major academy.
The Afghan army currently has about 104,000 troops, and officials expect to have 134,000 soldiers by the end of October, Hogg said.
“When we throw in our other schools from the NCO and the officers’ side, counterinsurgency (and the) command and general staff college, we’ve got a total of almost 20,000 Afghan army folks in training right now,” Hogg said.Afghanistan also has a military academy established — 213 cadets will graduate March 16. On March 22, a new class of 600 cadets will begin the four-year program.
Recruiting has been on the upswing, Hogg said. In December, the Afghan army recruited 8,800 soldiers, twice what the Afghans ever had recruited previously. Part of that, he explained, is a matter of the season; winter and fall typically are high recruiting times in Afghanistan.
“The real test on whether or not the Afghans can make the numbers is going to start happening probably in the April-May time frame,” he said. “When we hit the spring (and]) summer, we’ll see how that goes. But right now, the Afghans are saying they’re going to make their numbers.”
Challenges also exist in the Afghan army’s logistical system — the infrastructure simply isn’t there yet, Hogg said. Personnel issues — including establishing an effective military pay system — have been a problem as well.
Afghan military officials also have some difficulty rotating soldiers out of combat to teach soldiers from their experiences. Hogg likened the latter issue to a problem the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command is experiencing.
“We have the same challenges here as far as getting folks out of the fight into the training environment,” Hogg said. “And what we’re trying to do is get the Afghans to rotate fresh with combat experience and get combat experience in the training center.”