oversight

Warfighter Support: DOD Should Improve Development of Camouflage Uniforms and Enhance Collaboration Among the Services

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-09-28.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States Government Accountability Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




September 2012
                 WARFIGHTER
                 SUPPORT
                 DOD Should Improve
                 Development of
                 Camouflage Uniforms
                 and Enhance
                 Collaboration Among
                 the Services




GAO-12-707
                                                September 2012

                                                WARFIGHTER SUPPORT
                                                DOD Should Improve Development of Camouflage
                                                Uniforms and Enhance Collaboration Among the
                                                Services
Highlights of GAO-12-707, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                          What GAO Found
Since 2002, the military services have          The military services have a degree of discretion regarding whether and how to
introduced seven new camouflage                 apply Department of Defense (DOD) acquisition guidance for their uniform
uniforms with varying patterns and              development and they varied in their usage of that guidance. As a result, the
colors—two desert, two woodland, and            services had fragmented procedures for managing their uniform development
three universal. In addition, the Army is       programs, and did not consistently develop effective camouflage uniforms. GAO
developing new uniform options and              identified two key elements that are essential for producing successful outcomes
estimates it may cost up to $4 billion          in acquisitions: 1) using clear policies and procedures that are implemented
over 5 years to replace its current             consistently, and 2) obtaining effective information to make decisions, such as
uniform and associated protective
                                                credible, reliable, and timely data. The Marine Corps followed these two key
gear. GAO was asked to review the
                                                elements to produce a successful outcome, and developed a uniform that met its
services’ development of new
camouflage uniforms. This report
                                                requirements. By contrast, two other services, the Army and Air Force, did not
addresses: 1) the extent to which DOD           follow the two key elements; both services developed uniforms that did not meet
guidance provides a consistent                  mission requirements and had to replace them. Without additional guidance from
decision process to ensure new                  DOD on the use of clear policies and procedures and a knowledge-based
camouflage uniforms meet operational            approach, the services may lack assurance that they have a disciplined approach
requirements and 2) the extent to               to set requirements and develop new uniforms that meet operational needs.
which the services have used a joint            The military services’ fragmented approach for acquiring uniforms has not
approach to develop criteria, ensure
                                                ensured the development of joint criteria for new uniforms or achieved cost
equivalent protection and manage
                                                efficiency. DOD has not met a statutory requirement to establish joint criteria for
costs. To do this, GAO reviewed DOD,
Office of Management and Budget                 future uniforms or taken steps to ensure that uniforms provide equivalent levels
(OMB) and GAO acquisition guidance              of performance and protection for service members, and the services have not
and key practices, statutory                    pursued opportunities to seek to reduce clothing costs, such as by collaborating
requirements and policies, interviewed          on uniform inventory costs. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
defense officials, and collected and            Year 2010 required the military departments to establish joint criteria for future
analyzed records about uniform                  ground combat uniforms. The departments asked the Joint Clothing and Textiles
development.                                    Governance Board to develop the joint criteria, but the task is incomplete. If the
                                                services do not use joint criteria to guide their activities, one or more service may
What GAO Recommends                             develop uniforms without certainty that the uniforms include the newest
                                                technology, advanced materials or designs, and meet an acceptable level of
GAO recommends that DOD take four               performance. Further, DOD does not have a means to ensure that the services
actions to improve the development of           meet statutory policy permitting the development of service-unique uniforms as
camouflage uniforms and enhance                 long as the uniforms, to the maximum extent practicable, provide service
collaboration among the services:               members the equivalent levels of performance and protection and minimize the
ensure that the services have and use           risk to individuals operating in the joint battle space. Without a policy to ensure
clear policies and procedures and a
                                                that services develop and field uniforms with equivalent performance and
knowledge-based approach, establish
                                                protection, the services could fall short of protecting all service members equally,
joint criteria, develop policy to ensure
equivalent protection levels, and               potentially exposing a number to unnecessary risks. Finally, the services may
pursue partnerships where applicable            have opportunities for partnerships to reduce inventory costs for new uniforms.
to help reduce costs. DOD concurred             The Army may be able to save about $82 million if it can partner with another
with GAO’s recommendations and                  service. Under DOD guidance, the services are encouraged to actively seek to
identified planned actions.                     reduce costs. The Air Force has shown interest in the Army’s current uniform
                                                development, but none of the services has agreed to partner with the Army on a
                                                new uniform. In the absence of a DOD requirement that the services collaborate
                                                to standardize the development and introduction of camouflage uniforms, the
View GAO-12-707.
For more information, contact Cary Russell at   services may forego millions of dollars in potential cost savings.
(202) 512-5431 or russellc@gao.gov.


                                                                                         United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                      1
               Background                                                                   4
               Military Services Have Not Used a Consistent Decision-Making
                 Process to Produce Effective Camouflage Uniforms                         11
               Military Services’ Fragmented Approach to Developing Uniforms
                 Has Resulted in Inconsistent Protection for Service Members
                 and No Collaboration to Reduce Costs                                     23
               Conclusions                                                                32
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                       33
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                         34

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                      37



Appendix II    Flame Resistant Ground Combat Uniforms                                     39



Appendix III   Comments from the Department of Defense                                    44



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                      47



Figures
               Figure 1: Services’ Camouflage Uniforms, Dates of Initiation and
                        Fielding, and Development Costs                                     5
               Figure 2: Services’ Flame Resistant Uniforms, Dates of Initiation,
                        and Development Costs                                             40




               Page i                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Abbreviations
ABU               Airman Battle Uniform
ABE               Airman Battle Ensemble
ABS-G             Airman Battle System-Ground
ACU               Army Combat Uniform
AT&L              Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
BDU               Battle Dress Uniform
DCU               Desert Combat Uniform
DLA               Defense Logistics Agency
DOD               Department of Defense
FR ACU            Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniform
FROG              Flame Resistant Organizational Gear
IED               Improvised Explosive Device
MARPAT            Marine Corps Pattern
MCCUU             Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
MDA               Milestone Decision Authority
MP-ICE            Program Manager-Infantry Combat Equipment
OCP               Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern
OMB               Office of Management and Budget
PEO               Program Executive Office



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Page ii                                                     GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   September 28, 2012

                                   The Honorable Claire McCaskill
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Kelly Ayotte
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Subcommittee on Readiness
                                     and Management Support
                                   Committee on Armed Services
                                   United States Senate

                                   The Honorable Richard Burr
                                   United States Senate

                                   The military services spent about $300 million in Fiscal Year 2011 to
                                   procure new camouflage uniforms. The primary goal of camouflage is to
                                   reduce vulnerability of forces to detection in combat; however, over time
                                   the services also have chosen camouflage patterns that are service
                                   specific and distinguish one service from another. Since 2002, the
                                   services have introduced seven new camouflage uniforms with varying
                                   patterns and colors—two desert, two woodland, and three universal. 1 In
                                   addition, each service has introduced a service-specific flame-resistant
                                   uniform in response to urgent warfighter needs. Most of the services’ new
                                   camouflage patterns and colors replaced two Army-developed
                                   camouflage patterns that all military services were using. 2 Specifically, the
                                   services replaced the Army’s four-color woodland camouflage pattern
                                   developed in 1981, known as the Battle Dress Uniform or Combat Utility
                                   Uniform, and its three-color desert camouflage pattern developed in early
                                   1990 and known as the Desert Camouflage Uniform. Further, as part of
                                   the Army’s ongoing camouflage study, the office responsible for uniforms,
                                   Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, plans to present the results of
                                   its camouflage testing to senior leadership by the end of December 2012
                                   on future uniform options. If the Army selects a new uniform, officials




                                   1
                                    A universal camouflage pattern is designed to blend across terrains such as woodland,
                                   urban, and desert.
                                   2
                                    One camouflage pattern, the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, replaced
                                   the Army Combat Uniform in Afghanistan.




                                   Page 1                                                    GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
estimated that it may cost up to $4 billion over 5 years to replace a new
camouflage uniform and associated protective gear for the entire service.

In May 2010, we reported on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) use of
ground combat uniforms in response to a mandate in the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. 3 We reported that
combat uniform performance standards developed by some of the
services were not related to specific combat environments; the
introduction of flame-resistant fabric, insect repellent treatment, and the
increased pace of operations in Afghanistan accounted for increases in
uniform production and procurement costs; and government-owned
patents on elements of the Marine Corps’ uniforms presented no legal
barrier to allowing other services to use these elements. In June 2011, we
reported on matters related to the supply of flame resistant fibers for the
production of military uniforms. 4 In response to your request, this report
addresses 1) the extent to which DOD guidance provides a consistent
decision process to ensure new camouflage uniforms meet operational
requirements and 2) the extent to which the services have used a joint
approach to develop criteria, ensure equivalent protection, and manage
costs.

To determine the extent to which DOD guidance ensures the services
follow a consistent decision process to guide the development and
acquisition of their camouflage uniforms, we reviewed key guidance and
service decision-making processes. We reviewed key practices for
federal acquisitions that are included in the Office of Management and
Budget’s (OMB) guidelines and GAO’s framework for assessing
acquisition functions. 5 We compared OMB’s and GAO’s key elements for
acquisitions with the decision processes used by the services, and we
identified two elements that are essential for agencies to follow to


3
 GAO, Warfighter Support: Observations on DOD’s Ground Combat Uniforms,
GAO-10-669R (Washington, D.C.: May 28, 2010). The report followed a briefing provided
to the committees in April 2010 to fulfill the mandate found in section 352 of the Act. See
Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(b), (c) (2009) (10 U.S.C. § 771 note prec.).
4
 GAO, Military Uniforms: Issues Related to the Supply of Flame Resistant Fibers for the
Production of Military Uniforms, GAO-11-682R (Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2011).
5
 Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Federal
Procurement Policy, Guidelines for Assessing the Acquisition Function (May 2008); GAO,
Framework for Assessing the Acquisition Function at Federal Agencies, GAO-05-218G
(Washington, D.C.: September 2005).




Page 2                                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
produce successful outcomes and were applicable to uniform-
development programs. The two elements are clear policies and
procedures that are implemented consistently and a knowledge-based
approach that includes meaningful data to determine whether a product
will meet customer requirements. Additionally, we interviewed relevant
DOD and military service officials, including military service officials
responsible for the management of uniform development and acquisition
policy. Further, we interviewed officials from the Office of the Under
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics about the
relevance and flexibility of DOD’s acquisition guidance and how the
services used this or other guidance in their development decisions. We
visited the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy offices responsible
for managing the development or acquisition of its camouflage uniforms
and gathered and analyzed data on the use of policies to support their
decision processes and the testing or cost data that guided decisions
during the development of their camouflage uniforms.

To determine the extent to which the services have used a joint approach
to develop criteria, ensure equivalent protection and manage costs, we
reviewed requirements and policies found in DOD guidance and in the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. 6 We also
reviewed data and interviewed officials from the military services and
members of the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board to
determine if the services had established criteria for camouflage uniforms
using a joint approach. In addition, we assessed information from DOD
about how DOD officials plan to meet the statutory policy permitting future
uniforms to uniquely reflect the identity of the individual services, as long
as they provide equivalent levels of performance and protection to the
maximum extent practicable. Finally, we reviewed guidance and
interviewed officials with the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support
office to assess how they encourage the services to jointly reduce
development and acquisition costs. Our detailed scope and methodology
appears in Appendix I.

We conducted this performance audit from September 2010 to
September 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. These standards require that we plan and perform the
audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable



6
See Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(a), (d).




Page 3                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                      basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
                      believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
                      findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background

Military Services’    Each service has introduced at least one new uniform into inventory in the
Camouflage Uniforms   last 10 years. Prior to 2002, all four military services were using the
                      Army’s Battle Dress and Desert Camouflage uniforms. However, since
                      that time each of the services (including the Army) has developed new
                      uniforms to address deficiencies that they identified with the existing Army
                      uniforms. Improvements incorporated into the design of the services’ new
                      uniforms include improved visual or near-infrared capabilities for
                      concealment and improved fabric technology. Additionally, each service
                      introduced a service-specific flame resistant uniform in response to urgent
                      need requests. For additional information on the development of flame
                      resistant uniforms by the services, see appendix II. The services also
                      expected the new uniforms to provide other benefits, such as a unique
                      appearance to increase the morale of personnel and aid in recruitment.
                      Figure 1 provides additional information on the development of the
                      services’ uniforms and is followed by a description of each service’s
                      development activities.




                      Page 4                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Figure 1: Services’ Camouflage Uniforms, Dates of Initiation and Fielding, and Development Costs




                                         Page 5                                                GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Marine Corps   In April 2000, the Commandant of the Marine Corps directed the
               development and fielding of a new Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
               (MCCUU). The requirements of the new uniform, developed under the
               decision-making authority of the Commander of the Marine Corps System
               Command, were to provide Marines with a uniform that increased
               durability and combat utility compared to the current uniform, provide
               commanders versatility for a variety of missions, and be uniquely Marine.
               The Marine Corps spent $319,000 to develop the MCCUU, and began
               fielding its new uniforms in June 2002.

Army           Development of the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) began in January 2003
               in response to a need for a combat uniform with greater operational utility.
               Under the decision authority of the Chief of Staff, the new uniform
               included requirements to improve visual or near-infrared capabilities, to
               improve morale, and to provide a universal camouflage pattern with
               acceptable levels of performance in woodland, desert, and urban terrains.
               The Army spent about $3.2 million to develop the ACU in the universal
               camouflage pattern and began fielding its new uniform in February 2005.

               In 2009, based on concerns from soldiers in Afghanistan, a congressional
               conference committee directed DOD to take immediate action to provide
               personnel deployed to Afghanistan with a camouflage pattern that was
               suited to that environment. 7 The conference committee further directed
               the Secretary of the Army to provide a report on the program plans and
               budgetary adjustments necessary to provide appropriate uniforms to
               deployed and deploying troops to Afghanistan. In response, the Army
               developed the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP)
               to address current camouflage requirements and initiated a study of
               camouflage for future uniforms. The Army spent about $3.4 million to
               develop the OCP and began fielding the uniform in July 2010. As part of
               its study of camouflage, the Army is reviewing camouflage to identify
               three color variations—desert, woodland, and transitional 8—as future
               uniform options. Additionally, the study will identify one camouflage
               pattern for protective gear that blends well with all three uniforms. By the
               end of December 2012, the Army plans to brief senior Army leadership on



               7
                See H.R. Rep. No. 111-151, at 86 (2009) (Conf. Rep., accompanying the Supplemental
               Appropriations Act, 2009).
               8
                A transitional camouflage pattern, similar to the universal camouflage pattern, is
               designed for multiple geographic environments.




               Page 6                                                       GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
            the results of its study. The Army spent about $2 million through Fiscal
            Year 2011 on the development of these uniforms, and reported in
            February 2012 that it expects to spend an additional $5 million on
            development costs through Fiscal Year 2017. If the Army chooses a new
            camouflage uniform, officials estimate that it may cost up to $4 billion over
            5 years to replace its uniform and related protective gear.

Air Force   The Chief of Staff of the Air Force in October 2002 initiated a research
            and development project to field a new uniform. The objective was to
            design a distinctive uniform that—compared to the current Army Battle
            Dress Uniform (BDU)—provided a better fit, and was also easier and less
            costly to maintain. 9 According to officials, the program was conducted
            under the authority of the Chief of Staff. The Air Force spent about $3.2
            million on the development of the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) and
            began fielding its new uniform in January 2007.

Navy        In 2006, as part of a broader review of Navy uniforms, the Chief of Naval
            Operations announced approval of a concept for new desert and
            woodland 10 uniforms for Navy ground forces. 11 In 2009, the Chief of Naval
            Operations received approval from Special Operations Command to use
            camouflage patterns, developed by Naval Special Warfare Command, 12
            for the Navy’s new Type II desert and Type III woodland uniforms. The
            Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, oversaw the
            $435,000 spent by the Navy on the final design of its two new camouflage
            uniforms. The Navy began fielding its Type II desert uniform in February
            2011 and its Type III woodland uniform in September 2011.




            9
             The BDU was not permanent pressed and needed either to be ironed after laundering or
            to be professionally dry cleaned to maintain an acceptable appearance during duty at
            bases, according to Air Force officials.
            10
              The desert uniform is designed for desert, tundra, and arid regions; the woodland
            uniform is designed for jungle, woodland, and temperate regions.
            11
              The Navy also developed its Navy Working Uniform Type I in a blue, digital pattern, but
            designated it for sailors at sea and ashore. It is not considered a ground combat or utility
            uniform, and consequently we did not include it as part of this review.
            12
              Independent of the Navy costs, Naval Special Warfare spent around $8 million overall
            on the development of its Personal Signature Management program, of which its
            camouflage uniforms were one component.




            Page 7                                                       GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
DOD Policies   DOD’s acquisition guidance, collectively referred to as the 5000 series, 13
               provides management principles, policies, and procedures to establish
               and manage acquisition programs and to help to manage the nation’s
               investments in technologies, programs, and products. The primary
               objective of defense acquisition is to acquire quality products that satisfy
               user needs with measurable improvements to mission capability and
               operational support, and to do so in a timely manner and at a fair and
               reasonable price. The military departments have issued guidance to
               implement the DOD guidance. 14 According to DOD Directive 5000.01,
               The Defense Acquisition System, an acquisition program is a directed,
               funded effort that provides a new, improved or continuing materiel,
               weapon or information system, or service capability in response to an
               approved need. DOD Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the Defense
               Acquisition System, establishes a flexible management framework for
               translating capability needs and technology opportunities into acquisition
               programs.

               In addition, the instruction identifies specific statutory and regulatory
               reports and information—such as an acquisition strategy, cost estimates,
               test and evaluation activities, and risk assessments throughout the
               process to support decisions from design to production. 15 A key tenet of
               the guidance is that it provides the approving official, the Milestone
               Decision Authority (MDA), with the discretion to structure the activities
               and reporting requirements of the acquisition process as appropriate and




               13
                 The 5000 series includes Department of Defense Directive 5000.01, The Defense
               Acquisition System (May 12, 2003) (certified current as of Nov. 20, 2007); Department of
               Defense Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System (Dec. 8, 2008);
               and the Defense Acquisition Guidebook, which supports the guidance by providing
               background information, tutorial discussions, key practices, and information about
               requirements for each phase and milestone decision.
               14
                  The military departments’ implementing guidance includes Army Regulation 70-1, Army
               Acquisition Policy (July 22, 2011); Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5000.2E,
               Implementation and Operation of the Defense Acquisition System and the Joint
               Capabilities Integration and Development System (Sept. 1, 2011); and Air Force
               Instruction 63-101, Acquisition and Sustainment Life Cycle Management (Apr. 8, 2009)
               (incorporating through change 4, Aug. 3, 2011).
               15
                 DOD has issued guidance that amplifies and amends the requirements found in DOD
               Instruction 5000.02. See, e.g., Directive Type Memorandum 11-003, Reliability Analysis,
               Planning, Tracking, and Reporting (Mar. 21, 2011); Directive Type Memorandum 09-027,
               Implementation of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 (Dec. 4, 2009).




               Page 8                                                    GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
consistent with statutory and regulatory requirements to achieve
performance, schedule, and cost goals.

Under another DOD Regulation, DOD 4140.1-R, DOD provides guidance
on the development to the delivery of items, and on the key practices in
materiel management within DOD’s supply chain framework. 16 For
uniforms and other clothing and textiles, the regulation includes
procedures on coordination of research and testing activities. It also
encourages DOD components to actively seek to reduce costs by
standardizing basic materials and accessories, such as new clothing
items, 17 and provides information on costs to introduce a new uniform into
inventory. According to Defense Logistics Agency policy, an initial
inventory fee could apply to new items when the cost of introducing a
replacement item into inventory is greater than 10 percent of the cost of
the item being replaced or when a new item is introduced by an individual
organization. 18 The initial inventory fee, charged by the Defense Logistics
Agency, covers the cost of acquiring initial inventory of seven months of
the new clothing and the cost of the remaining inventory being replaced.

Also, DOD issued Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and
Textiles (Class II), in August 2008, in part to prescribe authority, policy,
and responsibilities for the management of clothing and textiles in
peacetime and across the spectrum of military operations. 19 The
instruction directed the establishment of the Joint Clothing and Textiles
Governance Board and also made the Director of the Defense Logistics



16
 See generally Department of Defense Regulation 4140.1-R, DOD Supply Chain Materiel
Management Regulation (May 23, 2003).
17
  With respect to clothing items, including combat and individual equipment, the regulation
encourages standardization insofar as functionality, maintenance of combat readiness,
and mission accomplishment permit. The regulation states that any desired distinctiveness
should be obtained by using separate items of insignia, patches, etc. See id., para.
C8.2.2.4.1.
18
   For new clothing with a forecasted total annual demand value exceeding $100,000,
DOD policy provides that the initial investment and acquisition of inventory levels to satisfy
demands up to the effective date of supply is the financial responsibility of the requesting
component. Officials of the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support office stated that
their interpretation of the policy is that items with a value of 10 percent greater than the
item being replaced will include the initial inventory fee.
19
 See Department of Defense Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and
Textiles (Class II) (Aug. 5, 2008).




Page 9                                                        GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                        Agency responsible for ensuring collaboration and DOD-wide integration
                        of clothing and textiles activities by establishing and chairing the board.
                        The governance board includes representation from the Office of the
                        Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Supply Chain Integration and
                        logistics officials from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, military services, and the
                        Defense Logistics Agency.

                        DOD Instruction 4140.63 also describes responsibilities of various DOD
                        entities in the development, management, and use of clothing and
                        textiles. Clothing and textiles covered by the instruction include uniforms,
                        other personal items, and organizational clothing and individual
                        equipment that belong to the organization and not to the person using it.
                        In addition, the instruction prescribes policy that the military departments
                        maintain responsibility for the acquisition, funding, and fielding of new
                        clothing and textiles in accordance with the management principles,
                        policies, and procedures in DOD Directive 5000.01, The Defense
                        Acquisition System. Finally, Instruction 4140.63 directs the military
                        departments to coordinate operational requirements and sourcing with the
                        Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to minimize duplication and
                        redundancy.


National Defense        The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 requires the
Authorization Act for   Secretaries of the military departments to establish joint criteria for future
Fiscal Year 2010        ground combat uniforms. 20 According to the act, the joint criteria shall
                        ensure that new technologies, advanced materials, and other advances in
                        ground combat uniform design may be shared between the military
                        services and are not precluded from being adapted for use by any military
                        service due to service-specific proprietary arrangements. The act also
                        established United States policy that the design and fielding of future
                        ground combat uniforms may uniquely reflect the identities of the
                        individual military services as long as the uniforms, to the maximum
                        extent practicable, provide equivalent levels of performance and
                        protection for members commensurate with their respective assigned




                        20
                         See Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(d).




                        Page 10                                             GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                              combat missions and minimize the risk to the individual soldier, sailor,
                              airman, or marine operating in the joint battle space. 21


                              The military services have a degree of discretion regarding whether and
Military Services Have        how to apply acquisition guidance for their uniform development, and
Not Used a Consistent         varied in their use of the guidance. DOD provided no alternative or
                              additional direction clarifying use of acquisition guidance or other
Decision-Making               guidance when developing ground combat uniforms. Consequently, the
Process to Produce            services used varying, fragmented processes for managing their uniform
                              acquisition activities, which have not consistently ensured the
Effective Camouflage          development of effective camouflage uniforms.
Uniforms

DOD, OMB and GAO Have         DOD has provided policy, known as the 5000 series, which is designed to
Provided Guidance and         offer the services a flexible management framework for translating
Key Practices for Effective   capability needs and technology opportunities into stable, affordable, and
                              well-managed acquisition programs. In the context of their uniform
Acquisition Processes         development activities, the services varied in their views as to the
                              applicability of the 5000 series. For example, the Air Force did not view its
                              uniform development and fielding activities as an acquisition program,
                              although it may do so in the future as a consequence of the policy
                              contained in DOD Instruction 4140.63. 22 The services also varied in their
                              usage of the acquisition guidance where they determined that it applied.
                              Under the guidance, the milestone decision authority may tailor the
                              regulatory information requirements and acquisition process to achieve
                              cost, schedule, and performance goals, where consistent with statutory
                              and regulatory requirements. Generally, due to statutory and regulatory



                              21
                                See § 352(a). Under the policy, service-unique uniforms would, to the maximum extent
                              practicable: (1) provide members of every military service an equivalent level of
                              performance, functionality, and protection commensurate with their respective assigned
                              combat missions; (2) minimize risk to the individual soldier, sailor, airman, or marine
                              operating in the joint battle space; and (3) provide interoperability with other components
                              of individual war fighter systems, including body armor and other individual protective
                              systems. See id.
                              22
                                The instruction prescribes policy that the military departments maintain responsibility for
                              the acquisition, funding, and fielding of new clothing and textiles in accordance with the
                              management principles, policies, and procedures in DOD Directive 5000.01. See
                              Department of Defense Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and Textiles
                              (Class II), para. 4(b) (Aug. 5, 2008).




                              Page 11                                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
requirements, higher-cost acquisition programs have greater information,
reporting, and procedural requirements than lower-cost programs.
Accordingly, since milestone decision authorities that manage lower-cost
programs generally have fewer statutory or regulatory requirements to
implement, they often have greater flexibility to tailor the guidance. Due to
the flexibility allowed in DOD’s acquisition guidance and varied views as
to its applicability to uniform development programs, we also evaluated
key practices in the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance to
federal acquisition officers on steps to take to assess and achieve
efficient and effective acquisition functions. OMB’s guidance noted that it
was adopting key practices that we reported in 2005, which listed a
framework of cornerstones and elements for an effective acquisition
function. 23

Specifically, for this review we identified two elements from the OMB and
GAO guidance that we considered essential for agencies to follow to
produce successful outcomes because the two elements most closely
relate to product development activities. The two elements are: clear
policies and procedures that are implemented consistently, and a
knowledge-based approach that includes meaningful data to determine
whether a product will meet customer requirements. We assessed
whether three services—the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force—followed
two key elements that OMB and GAO have determined are key practices
for a decision-making process that produces successful outcomes, and to
what extent each service developed uniforms that met requirements. We
did not assess the Navy’s decision process because it adopted uniforms
developed by Naval Special Warfare Command rather than developing a
new uniform. The development activities of special operation forces, such
as the Naval Special Warfare Command, are outside the scope of this
review. We were not requested to review the uniform program for special
forces.




23
  Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Federal
Procurement Policy, Guidelines for Assessing the Acquisition Function (May 2008);
GAO-05-218G.




Page 12                                                   GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Services Varied in their         The services’ decision-making processes for developing new uniforms
Decision-Making                  are fragmented and vary in their effectiveness. The Marine Corps used a
Processes for Acquisitions,      decision process that followed the two key elements that we identified as
                                 essential to produce a successful acquisition outcome, and produced a
and Two New Uniforms             combat uniform that the Marine Corps officials have found effective.
Did Not Meet Specific            However, the Army and Air Force did not follow the two key elements,
Mission Requirements             and they found that their new uniforms did not meet specific mission
                                 requirements. To meet combat requirements, both the Army and Air
                                 Force replaced their uniforms for personnel deployed to Afghanistan with
                                 the OCP uniform.

                                 Without additional guidance from DOD on the use of clear policies and
                                 procedures for a knowledge-based approach to developing effective
                                 uniforms, some services may continue to lack assurance that they have a
                                 disciplined process that is capable of delivering uniforms that meet
                                 warfighter requirements.

Marine Corps’ Decision Process   Marine Corps officials used a decision process that followed two key
Used Elements Essential For a    elements we found essential to produce a successful acquisition
Successful Outcome               outcome, and produced a combat uniform that the Marine Corps officials
                                 have found effective and continues to meet Marines’ needs. The Marine
                                 Corps officials used clear policies and procedures that were implemented
                                 consistently, and used a knowledge-based approach that included
                                 collection and use of meaningful data to determine whether a product will
                                 meet warfighter requirements.

                                 Regarding clear policies and procedures, according to officials, the
                                 Marine Corps used the flexible decision framework provided by then-
                                 current versions of DOD’s and the Secretary of the Navy’s acquisition
                                 guidance to establish a process designed to ensure that its decisions
                                 would result in a camouflage uniform that met its requirements. 24 In doing
                                 so, the Marine Corps developed a number of key documents as tools to
                                 support acquisition planning and decision making. For example, the
                                 Marine Corps developed documents to support decision making in the
                                 five areas described below.



                                 24
                                   According to officials, the Marine Corps used Department of Defense Instruction 5000.2,
                                 Operation of the Defense Acquisition System (Jan. 4, 2001) and Secretary of the Navy
                                 Instruction 5000.2B, Implementation of Mandatory Procedures for Major and Non-Major
                                 Defense Acquisition Programs and Major and Non-Major Information Technology
                                 Acquisition Programs (Dec. 6, 1996). These publications have since been superseded.




                                 Page 13                                                   GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
•   Acquisition Strategy—First, officials used an acquisition strategy to
    highlight deficiencies in the service’s current uniform and assessed
    methods for addressing the deficiencies. The service considered
    modifying the current uniform or buying a commercially available
    uniform, but concluded that the best approach was to begin a new
    development program that could rapidly test and evaluate prototypes
    of alternative designs that would meet Marine preferences obtained
    from field surveys and allow it to develop a unique uniform for the
    Marine Corps. Officials provided an action plan and key dates for
    developmental testing, testing of prototypes, field evaluations,
    production approval, contract award, first article testing, product
    verification, full production, initial issuance, and initial operational
    capability. Also, the strategy included contracting requirements and a
    phased fielding plan to test small lots of uniforms for a limited number
    of Marines before building up inventory to meet the needs of all
    Marines.

•   Acquisition Program Baseline—The Marine Corps developed an
    acquisition program baseline to seek and receive full funding for new
    uniforms, and to list performance, schedule, and cost parameters over
    the program’s life cycle.

•   Risk Assessment—In preparing a risk assessment, the Marine Corps
    concluded that risk to cost, schedule, and performance would be low.
    The assessment included a 20-year life cycle cost estimate for the
    uniform. Further, the scheduled fielding of the uniform would be
    deliberately slow to build up inventory before changing over to the
    new uniform. The new uniforms were developed with Marine input
    both at the conceptual and developmental phases, and the uniforms
    were updated based on field input during the first phase of fielding.

•   Cost Estimate for Program’s Life Cycle—The Marine Corps chose to
    prepare a life-cycle cost estimate for the program. Life-cycle costs
    include research and development, investment, operation and
    support, and disposal. The life-cycle cost analysis was used to assess
    program affordability and to support the review and oversight of cost
    estimates. Among various assumptions of costs, Marine Corps
    officials determined that the 2001 projections of the number of officer
    candidates and active and reserve recruits would remain constant
    throughout the 20-year life cycle. All told, the Marine Corps estimated
    that the 20-year life-cycle costs would be about $502 million in
    constant fiscal year 2001 dollars.




Page 14                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
•   Test and Evaluation Master Plan—The Marine Corps Systems
    Command created a plan to evaluate different camouflage patterns
    and colors. Marine Corps Systems Command and U.S. Army Soldier,
    Biological and Chemical Command, conducted testing and evaluation
    on camouflage technology and alternative uniform designs to
    determine which camouflage and elements of uniform design would
    meet user requirements. The plan also included field tests by
    approximately 450 Marines to evaluate two designs of the new
    uniform for suitability for a number of mission-oriented tasks, such as
    helicopter and amphibious operations. The planned tests and
    evaluations were to determine durability, function, and preferred
    features.

In addition, Marine Corps officials established a process that followed the
federal key practice to use a knowledge-based approach that includes
meaningful data to determine whether a product will meet customer
requirements. A knowledge-based approach includes obtaining sufficient
information about technology, design options, and production capabilities
so that the product will be able to meet various requirements. In April
2000, according to documents, Marine Corps officials decided to replace
the existing combat uniforms with new camouflage combat uniforms to
increase durability and utility for combat over the current BDU and Desert
Camouflage Uniform and to provide Marines with a unique and distinct
combat uniform.

As part of their knowledge-based approach during decision making,
Marine Corps officials considered about 70 camouflage patterns, and
Marine Corps test observers, who were assessing the effectiveness of the
camouflage, narrowed the candidates to eight. The eight were narrowed
to the top three performers, due to what Marine Corps officials described
as patent issues. The Marine Corps chose four colors each for the
patterns for woodland and desert environments based on discussions
with camouflage experts. The Marine Corps Commandant reviewed the
camouflage patterns and officials chose two camouflage patterns for
further testing—Tiger Stripe and Canadian Disruptive Pattern (later
named the Marine Corps Pattern or MARPAT). However, initial field
testing showed that the Tiger Stripe was not an effective camouflage
pattern. After other field tests with woodland and desert colored variations
of the Marine Corps Pattern, Marine Corps officials determined that the
Marine Corps Pattern had performance advantages over the Tiger-Stripe
pattern when used in camouflage uniforms. On the 7-point scale, with 7
being the most effective camouflage, test observers gave average scores
of 5.0 to the Marine Corps Pattern and 4.16 to the Tiger Stripe. In June



Page 15                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                              2001, the Commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command approved
                              the MARPAT camouflage pattern for production and deployment of the
                              new MCCUU uniform.

                              During the field tests of the MCCUU, evaluators involved 284 Marines
                              from Marine Expeditionary Forces for an average of 22 days in 2001.
                              Wearers spent about 8 days in the field, and 14 days on base. The
                              evaluation led by U.S. Army Soldier, Biological & Chemical Command,
                              included the following results:

                              •   Fit and Comfort: 76 percent were satisfied with the fit of the blouse
                                  and 64 percent were satisfied with the fit of the trousers. Overall,
                                  wearers gave both clothing items 6.3 comfort ratings toward the
                                  maximum positive rating of 7.

                              •   Durability: 13 percent reported durability problems with the blouse,
                                  such as Velcro and snaps that did not hold or rips and tears. 25
                                  percent reported durability problems with the trousers, such as
                                  excessive wear and rips at the knees (mostly caused by field training).

                              •   Appearance: 98 percent stated the uniform generally was easy to care
                                  for and maintain, and about two-thirds of respondents stated that the
                                  uniform, after laundering, had creases that were sharp enough for
                                  garrison wear.

                              •   Mission Suitability: 97 percent stated the uniform was suitable for use
                                  in a tactical environment.

                              As a result of the field testing, the service adopted the Marine Corps
                              Pattern and uniform design in the production of its new camouflage
                              uniforms.

Army’s Decision Process Did   The Army used a decision process for the development of a new uniform
Not Use Elements Essential    that did not produce a successful outcome, and it had to replace that
For a Successful Outcome      uniform in 2010. The Army did not consistently use clear policies and
                              procedures or use a knowledge-based approach that includes meaningful
                              data to determine whether the product would meet customer
                              requirements. Our prior work has shown that the use of policies,
                              procedures, and a knowledge-based approach is essential to produce




                              Page 16                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
successful outcomes. 25 While the Army conducted some testing on
camouflage patterns, it did not complete the testing before selecting a
pattern. As a result, the Army developed a uniform that proved to provide
ineffective concealment for operations in Afghanistan.

According to officials and documentation, during the decision process to
develop the Army Combat Uniform (ACU)—which ran from 2003 to
2005—the Army used some elements of DOD’s 5000-series policy and
Army Regulation 70-1, which is the military department’s implementing
guidance. The Army identified the approval structure and decision maker
for its development activities. However, the Army did not follow the 5000-
series policy or establish alternate policies and procedures on reporting of
testing, performance, and risk to the program to support its decision
making, which could have provided reasonable assurance that its
requirements were met. The Army tailored its development program in a
manner that excluded steps in the process that might have ensured the
use of test and evaluation results to support decision making throughout
the development of the ACU. For example, the Army did not take steps to
establish an acquisition strategy, which can guide the development
activities, or use another mechanism to inform senior leadership about
testing, performance, and risks associated with the development of the
uniform. An acquisition strategy can provide a master schedule for
research, development, testing, production, fielding and other activities;
one of the keys to a successful program is an acquisition strategy that is
carefully developed and consistently followed.

As part of our review, officials from the program office that managed the
program—Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier—told us that officials
briefed the Chief of Staff in March 2004 through the Army Uniform Board
on issues related to the management of fielding the new uniform to
soldiers. Specifically, the briefing included the number of uniforms per
soldier, the cost of the new uniforms, and the timeline for fielding. The
Army did not provide information on testing results or an evaluation of the
performance and risks associated with the development of the uniform.
Developing an acquisition strategy could have provided the Army with a
structured approach to requirements, testing plans, cost estimate data, a
risk assessment of the program, and recommendations to support
decision making.



25
 GAO-05-218G.




Page 17                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Similarly, we found that the Army did not employ the key practice of using
a knowledge-based approach to support development decisions that
included obtaining sufficient information about camouflage performance
from testing data. As part of the development of the ACU, the Army
Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center began a
field evaluation in 2002 of the performance of 13 camouflage patterns and
color combinations. However, PEO Soldier officials told us that prior to
the completion of this study the leadership chose a camouflage pattern
and colors for the new uniform without data from the camouflage study.
PEO Soldier leadership could not provide a performance report to support
the selection of the Universal Camouflage Pattern nor explain how the
camouflage pattern was developed. The Universal Camouflage Pattern
was not part of the Natick study and was not tested prior to the decision
by PEO Soldier to use this pattern or prior to the June 2004 approval of
the pattern by the Chief of Staff. The Army began fielding the uniform in
February 2005. Later in 2005, the Army Natick Soldier Research,
Development, and Engineering Center completed its camouflage
evaluation and recommended a different pattern—Desert Brush—as the
most effective universal camouflage pattern. In 2009, a follow-on Army
study found that the Universal Camouflage Pattern of the ACU offered
less effective concealment than the patterns chosen by the Marine Corps
and some foreign military services, such as Syria and China. The test
showed that soldiers wearing the Universal ACU were at greater
operational risk of visibility to enemy forces than soldiers wearing the
Marines’ pattern.

Moreover, soldiers deployed to Afghanistan conveyed concerns about
their uniform, which they indicated provided ineffective concealment in the
Afghan environment. In response to those concerns, in 2009 a
congressional conference committee directed immediate action to provide
combat uniforms suited to that environment. 26 The Army established a
decision process that included a strategy of development and fielding
activities and leadership review of the testing to support a decision on a
new uniform. The Army expedited testing of camouflage patterns suited
for Afghanistan by sending a photo simulation team to Afghanistan to
collect environmental data. Further, the Army surveyed soldiers on




26
 See H.R. Rep. No. 111-151, at 86 (2009) (Conf. Rep., accompanying the Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 2009).




Page 18                                                GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                               deployment to support its decision making. The Army also considered the
                               conclusions of the 2005 and 2009 Natick studies.

                               In 2010, the Army began replacing the ACU for personnel deployed to
                               Afghanistan with Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern
                               (OCP), and estimated that the replacement would add more than $38.8
                               million in development and initial fielding costs for fiscal year 2010 and
                               2011.

                               For future uniform needs, the Army is conducting a study to choose
                               environment-specific camouflage patterns for use Army-wide by the end
                               of December 2012. If the Army chooses a new camouflage uniform,
                               officials estimate that it may cost up to $4 billion over 5 years to replace
                               its uniform and related protective gear. The leadership of PEO Soldier
                               told us that, unlike the decision process used to support development of
                               the camouflage pattern for the ACU, the decision process for future
                               camouflage uniforms will include a knowledge-based approach and
                               greater use of DOD policies and procedures to ensure that decisions are
                               informed, science-based, and data driven. For example, the Army
                               established an acquisition strategy for conducting the development of
                               new uniforms, hosted regular meetings to obtain input from other services
                               and Army organizations, and PEO Soldier regularly provided Army
                               leadership with information about its development activities.

Air Force’s Decision Process   In 2002, Air Force officials began developing the Airman Battle Uniform
Did Not Use Elements           (ABU) for noncombat use to replace two combat uniforms. At the time,
Essential for a Successful     the U.S. military, including the Air Force, was conducting expeditionary
Outcome                        operations worldwide, including Afghanistan. Officials later recognized
                               that the ABU under development might not meet their needs, and in 2005
                               they began testing to determine the suitability of the ABU in a combat
                               environment. We found that the decision process used by the Air Force in
                               the development of the ABU did not follow the key element of using clear
                               policies and procedures. Also, the Air Force did not employ a knowledge-
                               based approach including an analysis of the potential requirements for
                               both combat and base uniforms. As a result, the Air Force developed a
                               non-combat uniform for wear at the home base. Personnel found that the
                               uniform’s fabric weight was uncomfortable due to heat buildup, and the
                               Air Force had to replace the uniform with one constructed from a lighter
                               fabric.

                               During our review, Air Force officials told us that they did not follow
                               DOD’s 5000-series policies. According to Air Force officials, in 2002 Air
                               Force leadership determined that its development activities for its new


                               Page 19                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
uniform—intended for use only on bases—did not constitute an
acquisition program under the 5000 series and Air Force Instruction 63-
101, entitled Operations of Capabilities Based Acquisition System.
Instead of following a specific policy, the Chief of Staff provided direction
on the development of the uniform during three senior leadership
briefings between 2002 and 2004, according to Air Force officials. In
considering support for his decision making, the Chief of Staff did not
require the Clothing Office to establish a strategy to guide the
development activities, such as documenting deficiencies of the current
combat uniforms and establishing capability requirements for the
replacement uniforms. Also, the Chief of Staff did not use a mechanism to
report how the new uniform would meet capability requirements, as well
as the results of uniform testing, performance evaluation, and risk
assessment. All these procedures could have provided more reasonable
assurance that personnel requirements were met. If the Air Force had
used DOD policies or established an alternative policy that included
procedures to review requirements of the new uniform prior to the start of
development activities, Air Force officials may have determined that
replacing combat uniforms with a non-combat uniform would leave a gap
in uniform capabilities.

In addition, in developing their uniform the Air Force officials did not fully
employ the key practice of using a knowledge-based approach that
included the collection and use of meaningful data to determine whether a
product will meet customer requirements. The Air Force tested the ABU
against other service uniforms in different environments for camouflage
effectiveness and conducted field tests for comfort and durability. We
found that the Air Force’s testing process had weaknesses, such as not
testing different camouflage patterns and fabrics prior to choosing the
tiger-stripe pattern, and using test results of a desert pattern in a
woodland area. Also, officials chose not to implement all of the testing
recommendations from the Air Force’s Air Warfare Center, including one
recommendation to reduce the heat build-up from the uniform.

During the development of the uniform, the Air Force conducted surveys
of personnel to determine their uniform design preferences. Then,
according to Air Force officials and documents, the Chief of Staff directed
the Clothing Office to use a tiger-striped camouflage pattern in a uniform
for all environments with colors complementing the Army’s universal
camouflage uniform, and to use one fabric weight for the trousers and the
blouses worn in hot and cold climates. In contrast, the Marine Corp’s
knowledge-based approach included testing and evaluation of multiple
camouflage patterns and colors from which they selected two top


Page 20                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
performing patterns. As a result, the Marine Corps produced two
prototypes for extensive field testing and evaluation. Using this
information, the Marine Corps was able to make knowledgeable decisions
to select the best prototype and to make improvements in the design prior
to production. The Marine Corps selected the same twill fabric weave that
the Air Force selected for the ABU, but the Marine Corps decided to use a
lighter weight fabric than the Air Force did for the uniform jacket as a way
to prevent heat buildup.

In 2005, the Air Force Uniform Board sought testing of the ABU to assess
the uniform’s suitability for use in a combat environment and whether a
second version of the uniform was needed. The Air Warfare Center
produced a test plan, which included the overall test methodology and
measures of uniform effectiveness and performance for concealment and
comfort.

In October 2006, the Air Warfare Center issued a report on its testing of
the combat effectiveness of the ABU. The report concluded that the ABU
camouflage performed well in most environments—never ranking lower
than third among the six uniforms in different environments. However, the
report also concluded that the ABU was not an effective combat uniform
due to trouser fit, heat buildup, and other concerns.

Regarding camouflage effectiveness, the Air Force compared the ABU
performance to five fielded uniforms: Army Combat Uniform, Marine
Corps desert and woodland uniforms, and Army Battle Dress (woodland)
and Desert Camouflage uniforms. However, four of the five uniforms were
environment-specific uniforms not intended for a number of settings for
which they were tested. Specifically, in a tropical forest environment, the
Air Force tests showed that the DCU and Marine Corp desert uniforms
performed worst, and were ranked 5th and 6th respectively out of six
uniforms tested. Similarly, in a desert scrub environment, the Air Force
tests showed that the BDU woodland and Marine Corps woodland
performed worst, ranking 5th and 6th respectively among six uniforms
tested. Our analysis shows that the Air Force used camouflage test
results from settings other than the ones for which they were developed,
which raises questions about the meaningfulness of the report’s
conclusion that the ABU camouflage performed well in most




Page 21                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
environments. In 11 of 19 tests, Air Force observers rated the ABU as
marginal or unsatisfactory for concealment 58 percent of the time. 27

Additionally, the report recommended some design changes to improve fit
and comfort and to improve the ABU’s overall effectiveness for combat
use. As a result, the Air Force incorporated some changes into the final
production design, such as relocating pocket drain holes and redesigning
the trouser crotch, but did not address other recommendations like the
heat buildup. 28 In response, the Clothing Office noted that the original
direction for the development of the ABU was for non-combat use rather
than as a combat uniform or as a camouflage-effective garment.

At the conclusion of our field work, we learned that the Air Force had
begun replacing the ABU with a lighter weight version to address the long
standing complaints by personnel about the heat buildup issue. According
to Air Force officials, the replacement ABU in a lighter weight fabric will be
used by home base and deployed personnel with the exception of those
serving in Afghanistan, where the Army OCP uniform will continue to be
used. If Air Force officials had expanded the knowledge-based approach
for selecting a uniform—such as by ordering extensive testing and
evaluation of varying fabric weights for comfortable wear to support the
decision process—the service may have avoided the need to replace
uniforms with a lighter weight fabric.

In 2010, Air Force Central Command decided that it would be safer for
personnel serving in Afghanistan to wear the Army’s flame resistant OCP
uniform rather than the ABU or its flame resistant uniform. Air Force
Central Command determined that the ABU’s camouflage contrasted with
the Army’s camouflage, increasing the risk of personnel standing out to
enemy forces when Army and Air Force personnel were in a joint
operating environment.




27
  We excluded 2 of 22 tests because no data was collected, and excluded another test
that used subjective data.
28
  The Air Force allowed personnel to remove interior pockets in the ABU shirt to address
the heat buildup issue. The Air Force web site states that to address the heat issue some
personnel may choose to cut the interior pockets out of the garment, as long as it does not
change the outer appearance of the uniform.




Page 22                                                     GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                               The military services’ fragmented approach to developing uniforms,
Military Services’             without any joint criteria for meeting combat requirements, has not
Fragmented Approach            ensured that the resulting uniforms provide equivalent levels of
                               performance and protection for service members, and the services have
to Developing                  not collaborated to reduce the costs for uniforms in inventory. DOD has
Uniforms Has                   reported to the congressional defense committees on planned steps to
Resulted in                    develop joint criteria for future ground combat uniforms, but it has not met
                               the statutory requirement to establish joint criteria. Additionally, there is
Inconsistent                   no DOD policy to ensure that future service-specific uniforms comply with
Protection for Service         statutory policy to provide equivalent levels of performance and protection
                               and minimize the risk to individual service members operating in the joint
Members and No                 battle space, to the maximum extent practicable. We found that the
Collaboration to               services have experienced opportunities to potentially save millions of
                               dollars in development costs and in initial inventory fees by partnering
Reduce Costs                   with another service in the introduction of new uniforms. At the time of our
                               review, the services had no partnership agreement to reduce potential
                               costs on the Army’s new uniforms, and the Navy had decided to field its
                               uniform before securing a partnership with the Coast Guard that may
                               have achieved $6 million in cost savings for inventory fees.


DOD and Its Components         DOD and its service components have not collaborated to establish joint
Have Not Met the               criteria for ground combat uniforms. A provision in the National Defense
Statutory Requirement to       Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 required the Secretaries of the
                               military departments to establish joint criteria for future ground combat
Establish Joint Criteria for   uniforms that ensures new technologies, advanced materials, and other
Ground Combat Uniforms         advances in ground combat uniform design may be shared between the
                               military services and are not precluded from being adapted for use by any
                               military service due to service-unique proprietary arrangements. 29 The
                               Secretaries of the military departments were to establish the joint criteria
                               by February 22, 2011. 30 In June 2010, the Senate Committee on Armed
                               Services directed the Secretary of Defense to report by August 2010 on
                               the steps that DOD took and planned to take to implement the
                               requirement for joint criteria, including the steps the Secretaries of the



                               29
                                 See Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(d).
                               30
                                 See id. The provision required the establishment of joint criteria no later than 270 days
                               from the date of our report on ground combat uniforms required by section 352(c). We
                               fulfilled the requirement with a report submitted to the congressional defense committees
                               on April 26, 2010, but the report was published on May 28, 2010 as GAO-10-669R.




                               Page 23                                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
military departments took or would take—in conjunction with the Joint
Staff and combatant commands—to update their ground combat uniform
standards and develop operational performance criteria for camouflage. 31
DOD issued a report to congressional committees in February 2012 on
the steps it planned to take to establish joint criteria for ground combat
uniforms, but it has not yet met the statutory requirement to develop joint
criteria.

The Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board, established in 2008,
is the forum the military departments are using to establish joint criteria
for the performance of camouflage uniforms. The governance board was
established by DOD to ensure collaboration and DOD-wide integration of
clothing and textile activities, such as uniforms. 32 The DOD instruction on
clothing and textiles made the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency
responsible for establishing and chairing the board. According to
governance board officials, a working group of the governance board met
in 2010 to begin discussions on the joint criteria. The working group
includes representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the
Joint Staff, and all the military services. However, the group’s leadership
did not meet the February 2011 deadline for issuing joint criteria because,
according to members of the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance
Board, members of the working group were unable to obtain consensus.
Our prior work has concluded that successful interagency collaboration,
such as among the military services and defense agencies, requires
commitment by senior officials to articulate their agreements in formal
documents, such as a memorandum of understanding or interagency
guidance. 33 Without high-level commitment from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, the Director of DLA may be unable to promote
effective interagency cooperation and collaboration among the members
of the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board and ensure DOD-
wide integration of clothing and textiles activities.




31
  See S. Rep. No. 111-201, at 117 (2010) (accompanying S. 3454, a proposed bill for the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011).
32
  See DOD Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and Textiles (Class II),
encl. 2, para. 3(a) (Aug. 5, 2008).
33
  GAO, Defense Infrastructure: High Level Leadership Needed to Help Communities
Address Challenges Caused by DOD-Related Growth, GAO-08-665 (Washington, D.C.:
June 17, 2008).




Page 24                                                  GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Moreover, in February 2012, Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance
Board officials told us that competing demands to address logistics
efficiency initiatives also delayed the development of the criteria. In its
February 2012 response to the congressional committees, DOD
acknowledged that it could do more to promote and enhance inter-service
collaboration and life-cycle coordination with the Defense Logistics
Agency and provided a plan to develop joint criteria. 34 Governance board
officials told us that they plan to convene a new working group and
complete the joint criteria by December 2012. Further, DOD reported that
the governance board will identify a common set of performance
characteristics to be used across the military departments. Without joint
criteria on the performance of uniforms to guide activities, one or more
service may develop uniforms without knowing whether its uniforms
include the newest technology, the newest materials or designs, and
meet an acceptable level of performance.

Furthermore, the DOD instruction on clothing and textiles also made the
Director of the Defense Logistics Agency—as chairman of the
governance board—responsible for overseeing the development of a
charter to outline the board’s roles and responsibilities. 35 However, the
charter has not been completed. An official told us that the charter has
been drafted and continues to be under review by members. According to
board officials, the governance board has met twice and the officials
believe that the board’s progress is not impeded by the lack of a signed
charter. However, almost four years after the board was created, DOD
has not defined the board’s role. Until the board has a charter outlining its
authorities, the department may continue to experience difficulty in
establishing joint criteria for future ground combat uniforms.




34
  DOD, Report on Requirements for Standard Ground Combat Uniforms (Washington,
D.C.:, February 2012).
35
  See DOD Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and Textiles (Class II),
encl. 2, para. 3(a) (Aug. 5, 2008).




Page 25                                                 GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
DOD and Its Components      Each military department has developed its own standards for combat
Have Not Developed a        uniforms, and DOD does not have a policy to ensure that the services’
Policy to Ensure That       fragmented uniform programs comply with statutory policy to provide
                            equivalent levels of performance and protection and minimize the risk to
Service-Specific Uniforms   individual service members operating in the joint battle space, to the
Provide Equivalent Levels   maximum extent practicable. The National Defense Authorization Act for
of Protection and Have      Fiscal Year 2010 established policy that the design and fielding of future
Not Collaborated to         ground combat uniforms may uniquely reflect the identity of the individual
Minimize Risk               services as long as the uniforms, to the maximum extent practicable,
                            provide equivalent levels of performance and protection for members
                            commensurate with their respective assigned combat missions and
                            minimize the risk to the individual soldier, sailor, airman, or marine
                            operating in the joint battle space, among other things. 36 Separately,
                            under DOD’s instruction on clothing and textile management, the Under
                            Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics is
                            responsible for the development of DOD policy and implementing
                            guidance on all matters relating to the clothing and textiles supply chain. 37

                            We found that the services have not collaborated on uniform
                            development, and have not ensured that their current service-unique
                            uniforms provide equivalent levels of performance and protection and
                            minimize risk to individual service members operating in the joint battle
                            space. DOD and the Joint Staff have described the modern-day battlefield
                            as a place with no clearly defined front lines or safer rear area where
                            combat support operations are performed. 38 In such an environment,
                            service members wearing uniforms consisting of different camouflage
                            may be exposed to different levels of risk. For example, the Air Force
                            requires personnel in Afghanistan to wear a camouflage uniform that best
                            protects them and enables them to blend with other service members with
                            whom they operate to minimize risk. However, the Navy requires some
                            personnel in the desert environment to wear different camouflage
                            uniforms, potentially exposing them to increased risk.




                            36
                             See Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(a).
                            37
                              Department of Defense Instruction 4140.63, Management of DOD Clothing and Textiles
                            (Class II), encl. 3, para. 1 (Aug. 5, 2008).
                            38
                              DOD, Report to Congress on the Review of Laws, Policies and Regulations Restricting
                            the Service of Female Members in the U.S. Armed Forces (Washington, D.C.:, February
                            2012).




                            Page 26                                                  GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
In September 2010, Air Force Central Command decided to enhance the
level of protection of personnel serving in Afghanistan by directing
personnel to wear the Army’s OCP uniform (where available) rather than
the Air Force’s existing ABU and flame-resistant uniform. According to Air
Force officials, this action was taken to reduce the risk of any personnel
standing out in the joint operating environment. Conversely, the Navy
limited the use of its Type II desert uniform in desert environments. In a
2009 administrative message, the Navy stated that the Type II desert and
Type III woodland uniforms would increase the probability of mission
success and survivability in combat and irregular warfare operations. 39
However, the Navy also indicated that only Naval Special Warfare
personnel and sailors assigned to or directly supporting Naval Special
Warfare units would be authorized to wear the Type II desert uniform.
Although the Navy later revised its guidance on wear of the Type II desert
and Type III woodland uniforms, 40 this restriction and its focus on
personnel from or supporting Naval Special Warfare units largely
remained. As a result of the policy, some Navy units, such as construction
and intelligence units, were issued the woodland Type III uniforms to
wear in desert environments.

In June 2010, the Senate Committee on Armed Services expressed
concern about the Navy’s restricted use of the uniform among its
personnel. 41 In hearings before the Subcommittee on Readiness and
Management Support in April 2010, the Assistant Commandant of the
Marine Corps testified that Marine Corps and Navy discussions prompted
the Navy’s policy to restrict the use of its Type II desert combat uniform.
When the Marine Corps first learned that the new Navy uniform looked
very similar to the Marine Corps’ combat uniform, the Assistant
Commandant testified, the Marine Corps suggested the selection of a
Navy pattern that was different enough to distinguish it from the uniform
worn by the Marines. However, the Assistant Commandant testified, the
Marine Corps Commandant and the Chief of Naval Operations later
reached an agreement that forward-deployed Navy SEALS and similar


39
  Chief of Naval Operations, NAVADMIN 374-09, Navy Working Uniform Type II and III
(Dec. 29, 2009).
40
  Chief of Naval Operations, NAVADMIN 259-11, Navy Working Uniform Type I, II, and III,
Camouflage Utility Uniforms (Aug. 30, 2011). The Navy guidance was revised, in part, to
allow U.S. Coast Guard personnel to wear Navy uniforms under certain conditions.
41
 See S. Rep. No. 111-201, at 117 (2010).




Page 27                                                  GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                             personnel could use the Type II desert uniform. The effect of the
                             agreement, however, is that it does not allow other Navy ground support
                             units to wear the Type II uniform. According to Navy officials, the Navy did
                             not approve a waiver requested by the Commander of the Navy
                             Expeditionary Combat Command to allow expeditionary sailors, not
                             directly supporting Naval Special Warfare, to wear the desert uniform in a
                             desert environment. The Navy’s restriction on the use of its Type II desert
                             uniform appears inconsistent with the department’s prevailing view of the
                             modern-day battlefield.

                             DOD has not developed a policy to ensure that future service-specific
                             uniforms provide equivalent levels of performance and protection and
                             minimize risk to the individual operating in the joint battle space. In its
                             February 2012 response to congressional committees about ground
                             combat uniforms, DOD reported on the Joint Clothing and Textiles
                             Governance Board’s activities to improve performance of uniforms. As
                             part of its effort to establish joint criteria and standardize uniforms, the
                             Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board plans to identify a common
                             set of performance characteristics. The governance board intends for the
                             performance characteristics to be used across the military departments to
                             develop and field the most effective camouflage uniforms and personal
                             protective gear to ensure maximum protection for the troops. However,
                             common performance characteristics alone may not fully minimize risk
                             without also considering the effects of combining different uniforms in the
                             same battle space. Without a policy to ensure that services develop and
                             field uniforms with equivalent performance and protection, the services
                             could fall short of offering equivalent protection for all service members,
                             and DOD could expose even those service members wearing the most
                             effective camouflage available to unnecessary risks.


Military Services Have Not   Although the statutory policy permits the services to pursue unique
Fully Explored Partnership   uniform designs, the services’ fragmented approach to developing
Opportunities to Reduce      camouflage uniforms has resulted in numerous inventories of similar
                             uniforms at increased cost to the supply chain. As presented earlier in this
Inventory Costs              report, each service now has its own set of camouflaged uniforms—the
                             Army and Air Force with their universal camouflage ACU, OCP and ABU
                             uniforms, and the Marine Corps and Navy with their environment-specific
                             MARPAT and Type I and II woodland and desert camouflage uniforms. In
                             addition, each service has developed a separate flame resistant version
                             of its uniforms. Maintaining inventory levels of reserve and contingency
                             stock for multiple versions of camouflage uniforms, in aggregate, requires
                             a larger total inventory of uniforms than would be necessary to support a


                             Page 28                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
product line with fewer uniform versions, and the services have not taken
advantage of opportunities to reduce costs through partnering on
inventory management or by collaborating to achieve greater
standardization among their various camouflage uniform versions.

Under DOD’s supply chain regulation on materiel management, DOD
components are encouraged, but not required, to standardize basic
materials and accessories and to standardize uniforms and other clothing
items when possible to reduce costs. 42 However, according to DLA
officials, none of the services has partnered on combat uniforms since
they began separately replacing the BDU and DCU beginning in 2002.
Instead, each of the services generally went its own way in developing or
adopting service-specific camouflage uniforms. For example, the goals for
the Marine Corps’ uniform development program included providing
Marines with a unique combat uniform, the Air Force wanted a utility
uniform with a distinctively Air Force look, the Navy’s goals were to adopt
a set of uniforms that reflected the requirements of a 21st century Navy
and its naval heritage, and the Army wanted a new uniform that would be
more widely accepted by its soldiers than the BDU. The services’
fragmented approaches to uniform development began with the Marine
Corps in 2002 and continued for other services until the Navy was the last
service to replace the BDU in 2011 with camouflage uniforms developed
for naval special forces. During our review, we found that the services
collectively have spent approximately $12.5 million for uniform
development since 2000 or an average of $2.1 million for each of the six
development programs that we reviewed.

In addition, DOD’s supply chain regulation states that any desired
distinctiveness for clothing items should be accomplished by methods
such as using separate items of insignia and patches. However, two
services—the Marine Corps and the Navy—have printed their service
logos on the camouflage-patterned fabric during the manufacturing
process. We have previously reported that the Marine Corps patents on
elements of the uniform do not preclude another service from adopting
the Marine Corps’ uniform. However, given the prevailing military service
culture that places a high value on having distinctive and unique combat
uniforms, the printing of a service’s logo on a uniform’s fabric might make



42
 See Department of Defense Regulation 4140.1-R, DOD Supply Chain Materiel
Management Regulation, chapter 8 (May 23, 2003).




Page 29                                               GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
it difficult for another service to adopt the uniform for temporary mission
needs or as a permanent replacement unless the printed logo was
removed. Conversely, the Army and the Air Force have not found it
necessary to print their service logos on their combat uniforms. The Army,
for example, has been open in allowing members of another service to
wear its uniform to meet mission needs.

We also found that the services have not reduced costs by collaborating
to eliminate inventory fees for new uniforms. When the military services
introduce a new item, the Defense Logistics Agency imposes an initial
inventory fee if the cost of the new item is greater than 10 percent of the
cost of the item being replaced and if the item is introduced into inventory
by only one DOD component. 43 The inventory fee covers the cost of
acquiring initial inventory, according to Defense Logistics Agency officials,
and includes the first four months of inventory, a three-month safety level,
and the cost of the remaining uniforms in inventory being replaced. 44 To
encourage the services to reduce costs by standardizing materials and
eliminating duplication, according to the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop
Support office, officials will waive the initial inventory fee if two or more
services agree to jointly introduce the item into their inventories.

Two military services, the Army and the Navy, have recently experienced
opportunities to potentially save tens of millions of dollars in initial
inventory fees by partnering with another service in the introduction of
new uniforms. The Army is currently testing camouflage patterns to
support the development of new camouflage uniforms for service-wide
use and has estimated that the service could avoid initial inventory fees of
as much as $82 million by partnering with another service or services.
However, during our review none of the services had reached an
agreement to partner with the Army. According to PEO Soldier officials,
they have coordinated with the other services by hosting an Integrated
Product Team to obtain input on their development activities and included



43
   For new clothing with a forecasted total annual demand value exceeding $100,000,
DOD policy provides that the initial investment and acquisition of inventory levels to satisfy
demands up to the effective date of supply is the financial responsibility of the requesting
component. Officials of the Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support office stated that
their interpretation of the policy is that items with a value of 10 percent greater than the
item being replaced will include the initial inventory fee.
44
  According to Defense Logistics Agency officials, the initial inventory fee is based on a
calculation of the monthly demand, the speed of fielding, and the cost of the new uniforms.




Page 30                                                       GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Marine Corps and Navy camouflage uniforms in the baseline testing to
evaluate new camouflage patterns. The Air Force is monitoring the
Army’s activities and Air Force officials stated that they are considering
using the new uniforms if the uniforms meet their requirements.
Nevertheless, we found that Army officials have not reached an
agreement with the Air Force or other services to partner on the joint
introduction of its uniforms to achieve cost savings if the initial inventory
fee applies. If the Army does not partner with at least one service on the
introduction of its new uniforms, it will miss an opportunity to eliminate the
initial inventory fee cost, decrease the life-cycle costs of its uniforms, and
may duplicate effort if the Air Force or another service later decides to
independently develop a new uniform.

The Navy, as part of its acquisition planning in the spring of 2011,
estimated potential cost savings of about $6 million in its initial inventory
fees if it partnered with another service in the introduction of its Type II
desert and Type III woodland uniforms. In March 2011, the Coast Guard
requested approval from the Navy, Naval Special Warfare Command, and
U.S. Special Operations Command to use the camouflage uniforms for
maritime, counter-terrorism, and security missions. The Coast Guard
request stated that the uniform partnership would promote the active
relationship between the Coast Guard and the Navy and provide
interoperability and cooperation in the joint maritime environment. In
August 2011, the Navy revised guidance on the wear of its uniforms,
permitting the Coast Guard to use its Type II desert uniform for Coast
Guard personnel assigned to or directly supporting Naval Special
Warfare, and it approved use of the Type III woodland uniforms for all
other Coast Guard personnel. 45 Nevertheless, Navy officials decided to
field the uniform before establishing a formal partnership with the Coast
Guard. As a result, the Navy incurred $6 million in inventory fees, thereby
increasing the overall life-cycle cost of the uniforms.

In the absence of DOD requirements that the services collaborate to
standardize the development and introduction of camouflage uniforms,
the services may continue to miss opportunities to increase efficiencies
and forego tens of millions of dollars in cost savings.




45
  See Chief of Naval Operations, NAVADMIN 259-11, Navy Working Uniform Type I, II,
and III, Camouflage Utility Uniforms (Aug. 30, 2011).




Page 31                                                GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
              In the past 10 years, each of the military services independently
Conclusions   introduced at least one service-specific camouflage uniform, and two
              services’ uniforms did not meet requirements and needed to be replaced.
              DOD has provided the services with guidance for acquisitions through its
              5000-series instruction, but all services did not follow that guidance
              because they determined it was not applicable to their development and
              acquisition of uniforms or they did not apply the guidance in a manner
              that would ensure effective outcomes. In addition, DOD did not clarify the
              appropriate use of this or other guidance when developing combat
              uniforms, resulting in varying, fragmented procedures that did not
              consistently produce effective camouflage uniforms. By not following two
              key practices for a decision-making process that can produce successful
              outcomes, military services developed uniforms that did not meet specific
              mission requirements. DOD has provided some additional clarity in the
              2008 instruction on the management of clothing and textiles, but the
              military services may continue to vary in their application and use of
              acquisition guidance. With additional clarity from DOD on the consistent
              use of policies and procedures and a knowledge-based approach, the
              services could increase their assurance of having a disciplined process
              that is capable of developing uniforms that meet warfighter requirements.

              Additionally, the military services have fragmented approaches to
              developing uniforms that do not rely on joint criteria for meeting combat
              requirements, do not ensure that the resulting uniforms provide equivalent
              levels of performance and protection, and do not lead to collaboration to
              reduce the costs for uniforms in inventory. Without a high-level
              commitment from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Director of
              the Defense Logistics Agency may be unable to promote effective
              interagency cooperation and collaboration among the members of the
              Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board. If the services developed
              and used joint criteria for meeting combat requirements, service officials
              could increase assurance that their new uniforms include the newest
              technology and the newest materials or designs, and meet an acceptable
              level of performance. Also, by completing the board’s charter to outline
              the board’s roles and responsibilities, the board could increase the
              likelihood that its members would establish the joint criteria for uniforms
              required by statute in 2009. The services have not established a means
              to assess and ensure that future uniforms will fulfill statutory policy
              regarding service-unique uniforms and, as a result, may not be able to
              ensure that future ground combat uniforms provide all service members
              with equivalent levels of protection and performance or minimize risks
              while operating in the joint battle space. Finally, the services’ fragmented
              approach to uniform development has resulted in the services not


              Page 32                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                      standardizing camouflage uniforms, not collaborating or partnering on
                      inventory fees to reduce development and inventory costs, and potentially
                      not saving on overall procurement costs. Standardizing the development
                      of camouflage uniforms and partnering to share inventory fees could
                      increase efficiency in uniform development programs and potentially save
                      DOD tens of millions of dollars over the life cycles of the services’ combat
                      utility uniforms.


                      We recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following four
Recommendations for   actions:
Executive Action
                      •   To better ensure camouflage uniforms being developed by the military
                          services meet mission requirements, direct the Under Secretary of
                          Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to ensure that the
                          services have and consistently use clear policies and procedures and
                          a knowledge-based approach to produce successful outcomes.

                      •   To facilitate the department’s ability to meet the statutory requirement
                          to develop joint criteria for camouflage uniforms, direct the Secretaries
                          of the military departments to identify and implement actions
                          necessary to enable the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance
                          Board to develop and issue joint criteria for uniforms prior to the
                          development or acquisition of any new camouflage uniform. These
                          actions should include efforts to ensure the completion of the Joint
                          Clothing and Textiles Governance Board’s charter outlining the roles,
                          responsibilities, and authorities of the board, and establishing a
                          timeline for developing joint standards.

                      •   To address the statutory policy related to camouflage uniforms, direct
                          the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and
                          Logistics to develop a policy and establish a timeframe to ensure that
                          future service-specific uniforms provide equivalent levels of
                          performance and protection, and minimize risk to service members
                          operating in the joint battle space.

                      •   To take advantage of potential efficiencies and cost savings when
                          introducing new uniforms, direct the Secretaries of the military
                          departments to actively pursue partnerships for the joint development
                          and use of uniforms to minimize fragmentation in the development of
                          uniforms, and to seek to reduce inventory and overall procurement
                          costs.




                      Page 33                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                     We provided a draft of this report to DOD for comment. In written
Agency Comments      comments, reprinted in their entirety in appendix III, DOD concurred with
and Our Evaluation   our recommendations. DOD also provided technical comments, which we
                     have incorporated, as appropriate. In response to our recommendations,
                     DOD stated that steps will be taken to improve the use of policy and
                     procedures during development of uniforms, to address statutory
                     requirements and policy, and take advantage of potential efficiencies and
                     cost savings.

                     DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense
                     direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and
                     Logistics to ensure that the services have, and consistently use, clear
                     policies and procedures and a knowledge-based approach to produce
                     successful outcomes. DOD said that (USD) AT&L will place additional
                     emphasis on the importance of following guidance related to the Defense
                     Acquisition System and the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development
                     System through oversight by the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance
                     Board. If DOD completes the Joint Clothing and Textiles Government
                     Board charter clearly outlining the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of
                     the Board to include oversight of the services’ uniform development
                     process, then the action proposed by the department may satisfy the intent
                     of the recommendation. However, DOD did not specifically identify how the
                     Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board plans to provide consistent,
                     long-term oversight to ensure the military services use policies and
                     procedures to guide their development activities in the future. As we
                     discuss in our report, without additional guidance from DOD on the use of
                     clear policies and procedures for a knowledge-based approach to
                     developing effective uniforms, some services may continue to lack
                     assurance that they have a disciplined process that is capable of delivering
                     uniforms that meet warfighter requirements.

                     DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense
                     direct the Secretaries of the military departments to identify and
                     implement actions necessary to enable the Joint Clothing and Textiles
                     Governance Board to develop and issue joint criteria for uniforms prior to
                     the development or acquisition of any new camouflage uniform and
                     establishing a timeline for developing joint standards. One important
                     action includes the completion of the Board's charter outlining the roles,
                     responsibilities, and authorities of the board. DOD stated that the military
                     departments participate in the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance
                     Board's efforts to develop joint criteria for camouflage uniforms by
                     providing appropriate research and development and functional expertise.
                     DOD stated that draft joint criteria for camouflage uniforms have been


                     Page 34                                             GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
developed and are going through the DOD approval process, which DOD
estimated will be completed in the 2nd quarter of Fiscal Year 2013.
Finally, DOD stated that once approved, the joint criteria will be used prior
to the development or acquisition of new camouflage uniforms. While we
are encouraged to learn that DOD has draft joint criteria moving through
the approval process, the development of the joint criteria has been an
ongoing effort for several years—initially to be completed by February
2011, then in December 2012, according to DOD's status report to
congressional committees, and now no later than March 2013, in
response to our recommendation. Because of the difficulties the
department has experienced in developing and approving joint criteria,
our recommendation called for the completion of the Joint Clothing and
Textiles Governance Board's charter as a specific action that DOD should
take to facilitate the department's ability to meet the statutory requirement
to develop joint criteria for future ground combat uniforms. DOD,
however, did not address completion of the Board's charter in its
comments. We continue to believe that completion of the charter to
clearly outline the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of the Board
would facilitate military department approval of meaningful joint criteria.
Further, we believe that completion of the Board's charter will be critical in
ensuring that the Board can assist DOD in 1) carrying out the oversight of
service uniform development actions and 2) providing additional oversight
and encouraging active partnerships for joint development and use of
uniforms, particularly since DOD has identified the Board as an essential
actor in carrying out three of our four recommendations.

DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Under Secretary of
Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics develop a policy and
establish a timeframe to ensure that future service-specific uniforms
provide equivalent levels of performance and protection, and minimize
risk to service members operating in the joint battlespace. DOD said that
the USD (AT&L) will disseminate policy guidance to the military
departments that will include direction for using joint criteria and ensuring
equivalent levels of performance and protection by the 3rd quarter of
Fiscal Year 2013. If fully implemented, we believe this action would
satisfy our recommendation.

DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretaries of the
military departments actively pursue partnerships for the joint
development and use of uniforms to minimize fragmentation in the
development of uniforms, and to seek to reduce inventory and overall
procurement costs. DOD stated that it will use the Joint Clothing and
Textiles Governance Board and the Cross-Service Warfighter Equipment


Page 35                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Board to provide additional oversight and further pursue active
partnerships for joint development and use of uniforms. We believe these
actions, if fully implemented, would satisfy our recommendation.


We are sending copies of this report to appropriate congressional
committees, the Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Secretaries of the Air
Force, Army, and Navy, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and other
interested parties. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on
the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff has any questions concerning this report, please
contact me at (202) 512-5431 or russellc@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in
appendix IV.




Cary B. Russell,
Acting Director,
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 36                                            GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




             To determine the extent to which Department of Defense (DOD) guidance
             provides a consistent decision process to ensure that new camouflage
             uniforms meet operational requirements, we reviewed key guidance and
             interviewed relevant DOD and military service officials. We collected and
             reviewed the DOD’s and services’ regulations, instructions, policies,
             procedures, and other guidance that the services used to structure their
             decision processes on the development and acquisition of their
             camouflage uniforms. We assessed the decision processes based on
             their use of DOD’s 5000-series acquisition guidance, military department
             implementing guidance, or other guidance, and OMB’s acquisition
             guidance and GAO’s framework for assessing acquisition functions. We
             assessed whether three services—the Marine Corps, Army and Air
             Force—followed the two key elements that GAO has determined are key
             practices for a decision process that produces successful outcomes, and
             to what extent each service developed uniforms that met requirements.
             We visited the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy offices
             responsible for managing the development or acquisition of their
             camouflage uniforms and gathered data and reports that the services
             used to support their decisions. We interviewed military service officials
             responsible for the management of uniform development and acquisition
             policy and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
             Technology, and Logistics about the flexibility of DOD’s 5000-series
             guidance and how the services used this guidance in their development
             activities. To determine whether the services’ uniforms met requirements,
             we collected data and interviewed service officials to determine if the new
             uniforms have been replaced to meet operational needs.

             To determine the extent to which the services have used a joint approach
             to develop criteria, ensure equivalent protection and manage costs, we
             reviewed the DOD guidance, the requirement of the National Defense
             Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 that the military departments
             establish joint criteria for future ground combat uniforms, and policy
             established by the act permitting the design and fielding of service-
             unique, future ground combat uniforms so long as they, to the maximum
             extent practicable, provide equivalent levels of performance and
             protection to all service members commensurate with their assigned
             combat missions and minimize the risk to the individual service members
             operating in the joint battle space, among other things. 1 We collected data



             1
              See Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 352(a), (d).




             Page 37                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




and interviewed relevant officials from the four military services and
officials with the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board from the
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and
Logistics and the Defense Logistics Agency to determine if the services
are using a joint approach to address the requirement and policy and if
they are being met. Specifically, we interviewed governance board
officials and reviewed documents related to the board’s efforts and plans
to develop joint criteria and collect a set of common uniform
characteristics to support development of uniforms and protective gear.
Finally, to determine how the services jointly seek to reduce costs in the
acquisition of uniforms, we gathered data from the Navy and Army on the
estimated cost to introduce their new camouflage uniforms into inventory.
We reviewed DOD’s supply chain materiel management regulation and
other guidance from the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support office
on initial inventory fees and how the agency provides the services a
reduced initial inventory fee if a service partners with one or more service.
To assess the reliability of the cost data, we interviewed Navy and Army
officials to understand how the initial inventory fee was determined. The
Defense Logistics Agency confirmed the cost of the Navy’s initial
inventory fee. To verify the Army’s estimate, we obtained data from the
Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support office on monthly demand for
uniforms and created our own cost estimate. To ensure that the
computer-generated data from the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop
Support office is reliable, we collected information about the Enterprise
Business System and the Standard Materiel Management System and
interviewed officials who manage the system. We determined that the
data from the Defense Logistics Agency, Troop Support office, the Navy,
and the Army were sufficiently reliable for the purpose of our
engagement.

We conducted this performance audit from September 2010 to
September 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. These standards require that we plan and perform the
audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 38                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
              Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
              Uniforms



Uniforms

              Since 2006, each service has developed or adopted flame-resistant
              uniforms in response to urgent warfighter needs. See figure 2 for
              additional information about the uniforms. Prior to Operation Enduring
              Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, DOD personnel with flame
              resistant uniforms were mainly aviators, fuel handlers, and combat-
              vehicle crewmen. These personnel required flame resistant uniforms
              because of their potential exposure to fire or other thermal energy. With
              the growing prevalence of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat,
              all ground forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to
              the possibility of fire-related injuries. As the threat from IEDs emerged
              and continues today, the services have developed flame resistant uniform
              capabilities to protect the warfighter.




              Page 39                                         GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
                                         Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
                                         Uniforms




Figure 2: Services’ Flame Resistant Uniforms, Dates of Initiation, and Development Costs




                                         The Marine Corps developed its Flame Resistant Organizational Gear
                                         (FROG) in response to a July 2006 Urgent Statement of Need to increase
                                         protection against flash flame IED events in Central Command’s area of
                                         responsibility. The Urgent Statement of Need requested burn protection
                                         for the hands, face, and neck. After extensive testing, the Marine Corps
                                         determined that in addition to providing a base layer of protection, the



                                         Page 40                                           GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
Uniforms




service also needed to provide an outer layer of protection. The Marine
Corps conducted testing of flame-resistant fabrics in January and
February of 2007 and selected the TenCate Defender™ M fabric for its
flame-resistant uniforms. The Marine Corps spent about $1.5 million in
the development of the FROG through Fiscal Year 2008. The service
began fielding FROG items in February 2007 to all deployed and
deploying Marines.

The Army’s Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniform (FR ACU) was
developed in response to two Operational Need Statements requiring
flame protection clothing capabilities to support operations in Central
Command’s area of responsibility due to greater threats of IEDs with
enhanced accelerants throughout the theater. In August 2006, the Army
received an Operational Need Statement from Multi-National Corps Iraq
which called for an increase in the number of flame-resistant uniforms
already available to be used by soldiers to protect against increased burn
injuries occurring from IED attacks. The Operational Need Statement was
met by issuing Nomex® Combat Vehicle Crewman’s uniforms and
Nomex® Combat Vehicle Crewman’s balaclavas for those soldiers
deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring
Freedom. In addition, as part of its response, the Army tested flame-
resistant fabrics in 2006 for future uniforms. In March 2007, an
Operational Needs Statement was submitted by United States Army
Central requesting flame-resistant uniforms to enhance survivability while
conducting missions. The Army developed its FR ACU using the same
flame-resistant fabric, TenCate Defender™ M, identified in its 2006
testing and as the Marine Corps’ FROG. The Army did not provide the
total cost of the development of the FR ACU, but did provide PEO
Soldier’s research and development costs of about $530,000. The Army
began fielding the FR ACU to soldiers in late 2007.

In response to direction from a June 2009 conference committee that
DOD take immediate action to provide personnel deployed to Afghanistan
with a camouflage pattern that is suited to the environment of
Afghanistan, 1 the Army developed the Operation Enduring Freedom
Camouflage Pattern (OCP). The OCP uniform provides increased
camouflage protection to soldiers operating in Afghanistan’s diverse



1
 See H.R. Rep. No. 111-151, at 86 (2009) (Conf. Rep., accompanying the Supplemental
Appropriations Act, 2009).




Page 41                                                GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
Uniforms




environments and is printed on the TenCate Defender™ M flame
resistant fabric. The Army spent about $3.4 million through 2009 on
development, began fielding the uniform in July 2010, and it is expected
to be fully fielded by September 2012.

The Air Force’s Airman Battle System-Ground (ABS-G) was developed in
response to a May 2008 Urgent Operational Need for flame-resistant
equipment to be used in ground combat and combat support
environments by personnel performing non-traditional, ground-focused, or
newly emerging missions for the Air Force and in support of other joint
and services’ staffs in Central Command’s area of responsibility. The
ABS-G consists of four layers of flame-resistant clothing: a base layer,
core layer, an outer layer, and an extreme cold-weather layer. In 2007,
the Air Force and Army conducted joint testing of flame-resistant fabrics
to identify alternatives to TenCate Defender™ M based on concerns
about the availability of flame resistant rayon given a projected increase
in demand from both services. The Air Force spent about $1.7 million
between 2007 and 2010 in the development of the ABS-G and began
fielding it in March 2009. However, in September 2010, the Air Force
changed its combat uniform wear policy to enhance the level of protection
for personnel who perform ground combat missions. The updated policy
authorizes personnel conducting ground combat missions beyond the
perimeter of a base to wear the uniform of their assigned or aligned unit—
generally the Army’s OCP—and directs all other Air Force personnel
deployed to Afghanistan to wear the Army’s OCP uniform or the FR ACU
if the OCP uniform is not available. If neither uniform is available, the
policy authorizes personnel to wear the ABS-G. Air Force officials stated
that the ABS-G will be transitioned out of the Air Force’s inventory as
soon as the production levels of the Army’s flame-resistant uniforms can
meet Air Force demand.

In response to an Urgent Statement of Need dated February 2011, the
Navy adopted the Marine Corps’ flame resistant uniform for Navy use,
thereby avoiding a duplication of effort and eliminating development
costs. Through the Naval Logistics Integration initiative with the Marine
Corps, the Navy is leveraging the Marine Corps’ flame resistant uniform
and gear and adding its own Type II desert and Type III woodland
camouflage patterns and the legacy Desert Camouflage Uniform patterns
to the FROG uniform for use by the Navy’s expeditionary ground
personnel. The Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for
Infantry Combat Equipment (PM-ICE) is the program manager for the
Navy expeditionary ground personnel’s flame-resistant uniforms. The
Navy spent about $29,000 for final preproduction review of the uniforms


Page 42                                         GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix II: Flame Resistant Ground Combat
Uniforms




and had no additional research or development costs because it adopted
the Marine Corps’ flame-resistant uniform. The Navy began fielding
elements of the Navy FROG in September 2011. According to an official,
the Navy plans to begin fielding its FROG in the Type II desert pattern in
2012.




Page 43                                          GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix III: Comments from the
              Appendix III: Comments from the Department
              of Defense



Department of Defense




              Page 44                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 45                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix III: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 46                                      GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Cary Russell, Acting Director, Defense Capabilities and Management,
GAO Contact       (202) 512-5431 or russellc@gao.gov.


                  In addition to the contact name above, key contributors to this report were
Staff             Larry Junek, Assistant Director; Elizabeth Morris, Grace Coleman, Susan
Acknowledgments   Ditto, James Lackey, Tobin McMurdie, Carol Petersen, Richard
                  Powelson, Michael Shaughnessy, and Amie Steele.




(351527)
                  Page 47                                          GAO-12-707 Warfighter Support
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