If you think you spend crazy amounts of money on camo, think again. The U.S. Military has a bigger budget on camouflage clothes than you do. How much you ask? Well, let’s just say all the branches combined have already spent $12 million on developing seven different patterns throughout the years. But pretty soon the entire armed forces might be rocking one universal design.
Swollen wartime budgets afforded each brand to go H.A.M. and create a design of its own. It’s gotten so out of hand (err, stylish) that some of the patterns being produced might be great for your next street style shot, yet not even safe to use in battle.
To give you an idea on how much camo is being used in the U.S. military, here’s a quick breakdown. The Army uses woodland—a streetwear favorite—and desert camo. In 2005 they introduced the All Combat Uniform that was supposed to cover all environments, but it ended up sucking and proved ineffective. "All the tests we have done say it doesn't work…it puts our soldiers at risk," says Gen. Raymond Odierno.
The U.S. Air Force’s hybrid digital tiger stripe might be the coolest out of the bunch. Why do people flying fighter planes need camo exactly? Beats us. As for the Navy, just look at the movie Battleship and you’ll see Rihanna famously rocking their uniforms.
Last but not least is the Marines’ digital camo pattern. This is the most effective out of the bunch. Armed troops can use it to hide in the jungle, the desert, and even from night vision goggles. What more can you ask for?
Now, these varying uniforms might come to an end. Politicians are trying to pass a bill to get the U.S. Military to use one standard uniform across all branches. "Combat uniforms are about survivability," said Rep. Bill Enyart, and simply put, many of the new patterns have proved to be ineffective. "If you want to separate yourself, do it in your dress uniform. It doesn't do us any good to have a battlefield where you have three or four uniforms,” mentions one defense official. If the bill does get passed, we think there are a couple of designers out there that can take the unused fabric off the government's hands. Check the photos above for the different patterns currently used by the U.S. Military.