Saturday, October 12, 2013

U.S. Army Licenses OCP from Crye Precison as Principal Camouflage Pattern

It has now been released by the U.S. Army that a contract was awarded to license Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP) from Crye Precision. It been a long haul for the Crye Precision camouflage to become the chosen pattern to replace the Universal Camouflage Pattern, despite previous evaluations showing the effectiveness of the MultiCam pattern. The Justification and Approval document released in regard to the contract was redacted and the award amount was not indicated, however there is a great amount of information in the answers given to justify this licensing agreement.

The U.S. Army has not made any official statement in regard to the final evaluation for Phase IV of the Camouflage Improvement Effort, however from the write-up one can summarize that this is a fixed price agreement that is more than $150,000 and less than $650,000. As expected Crye Precision was the only source sought for this licensing agreement. The reason given for other than full or open competition, gives a quick summary of the ineptitude behind UCP: 

Public Law 111-32, the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act, June 24, 2009, directed the Department of Defense to "take immediate action to provide combat uniforms to personnel deployed to Afghanistan with a camouflage pattern that is suited to the environment of Afghanistan," and to "provide a report on the program plans and budgetary adjustments necessary to provide appropriate uniforms to deployed and deploying troops to Afghanistan." To comply with this statutory direction, the Secretary of the Army directed a four-phase program to achieve the two goals. First, as a shirt-term response, phases one through three of the program were to 1), identify an effective alternative to the then-standard Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP); 2), conduct a limited validation involving approximately 2,000 soldiers - half wearing UCP, and the other half wearing the alternative (MultiCam, a proprietary Camouflage pattern...(redacted?)

Now where it gets really interesting is the response to what actions will be taken to increase competition before subsequent acquisition of the supplies or services is required: 

Because the Army, DOD, and Congress have all indicated an interest in reducing the number and types of camouflage patterns used by the Armed Forces, competition for this particular intellectual property will be somewhat limited moving forward. Acquisition of rights in these data will tend to increase competition among uniform manufacturers, since the data will be available from the Government and will be accessible to all, but developers of camouflage will find opportunities limited in the near-term future. OCP will be the Army's principal camouflage pattern for the... (redacted)? 

Further evidence eludes to a single pattern in their response to what Market Research was conducted: 

As noted, this action is complementary to a full-competitive solicitation for camouflage patterns, that resulted in four contracts awarded to interested sources. Many other potential sources attended an Industry Day in December 2010, at which the Army expressly identified this Course of Action as one possible outcome of the competition. 

We were rather guarded in our initial post concerning the U.S. Army seeking I.P. Rights for MultiCam given the limited information given and the conflict with goal Phase IV of the Camouflage Improvement Effort. Tie in the fact that SMA Chandler has stated publicly that the Army would be phasing in new patterns that were similar to MultiCam, but with different colors for different environments, and you have a very confused picture of what the future may hold. 

From the just released documentation it is clear that MultiCam is here to stay and given Congressional influence, the notion of introducing multiple camouflage patterns to the Soldier's uniform doesn't appear fly in the near term. However, we could be reading too far into this and the name OCP as given could have much wider implication and include other color variants.

The key I.P. is held in the pattern, so the true question is if they are licensing what we know as OCP or if they are extending the moniker to the Family of Patterns that was submitted. The bid put forth by Crye Precision Inc. in the Camouflage Improvement Effort for the Crye Camouflage Patterns was $639,863.99, so this contract does correlate with that amount. Perhaps there is redacted information that would provide a more revealing picture of the true plans. This particular scenario assumes the Army followed through with the path they set out on and is rather convoluted given the established use of the OCP for what we know as MultiCam. The Australian and British militaries have both licensed their own variant of MultiCam, but developed distinct names for each. 

In the end it was determined that Crye Precision had the most effective patterns, which was first released by Soldier Systems Daily, so there cannot be too many sour grapes on the part of the other competitors if the final decision is for the U.S. Army to adopt OCP as their official camouflage pattern. It appears the U.S. Army has made incremental gains in their overall goal of finding the perfect camouflage solution. I guess that is better than sticking to the status quo when many variables are at play. 

You can read the Justification and Approval documentation at:

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