Here’s the first question in the “Test Utility Uniform FAQ“. The answer leaped out at me:
Q1. Why are you switching to a new uniform?
A1. The need for a distinctive Air Force utility uniform comes from years of feedback from airmen on our current battle dress uniforms. They have complained of poor fit, the desire for better material, more functionality and more distinction from the other services. Our current uniform is supplied through Army sources and as the Army looks at changing its uniform to meet mission requirements, we are looking at changes that meet the changing needs of the 21st century airmen and our mission. [Emphasis added]
I never got the memo about “uniqueness” and “not looking like the Army” becoming primary factors in combat uniform design. If I were an airman, the only answer to the question above that I’d want to hear is: “It makes you harder to shoot.”
I checked the FAQ. Either the Air Force didn’t think concealment was important enough to be mentioned somewhere in the same discussion as “distinctiveness” (check the definition of that word and then tell me why it’s a plus for camouflage), or the airmen aren’t worried enough about concealment for the answer to rate a spot on the Frequently Asked Questions page. Either way, I’m glad I’m not a zoomie.
Time to activate the Clue Delivery System©.
Permit me an emperor’s-new-clothes observation. The typical airman is stationed at an airfield, which is in or near an urban area. An airfield has huge flat expanses of grayish or tan concrete, and has buildings that come in shades of grey, brown, or tan. It also has roads of black asphalt or brown dirt. We’re talking straight lines and right angles everywhere, plus big expanses of uniform (as in “not distinctive”) texture and earth tones. The proposed uniform above is blue, and its pattern mimics the curved lines and sunlight/shade variations found in the dense foliage of a tropical jungle. If I’m wearing it at a Middle Eastern airfield and the bad guys start coming over the fence, how exactly am I going to be hard to spot?
Even my favorite bunch of liberal comedians knows more about camouflage than the United States Air Force.
UPDATE: It’s worse than I thought.