23 Questions and Answers about the New ACU
Q.1 What is the Army Combat Uniform?
It is the Army's universal pattern uniform that will replace the Temperate/Hot Weather Battle Dress Uniforms and the Desert Camouflage Uniform.
Q.2 What does it consist of?
The ACU consists of trousers, a coat and a patrol cap.
Q.3 How much does it cost?
The cost of the ACU coat is approximately $44.00 and the approximate cost of the ACU trousers is $44.00. The cap costs approximately $5.00
Q.4 Can you wear the beret with it?
Q.5 Will the clothing allowance be increased since the cost of the uniform will go up?
The deputy Chief of Staff, G4 is working with the Program Manager Soldier Equipment, the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff G1 and the Army Budget Office to determine if there will be an increase to the FY 06 Clothing Replacement Allowance (CRA) for the ACU.
Q.6 How many uniforms will be issued at basic training? And will the standard issue at military schools still be four?
The Basis of Issue for the ACU will be the same as the BDU. Four (4) ACUs will be issued to new Soldiers in Initial Entry Training. The basis of issue for military schools will remain four.
Q.7 What will be the lifetime of the uniform?
ACU is made with the same nylon/cotton rip-stop fabric as the current Enhanced Hot Weather BDU (EHWBDU). The current EHWBDU has an estimated wear life of six months.
Q.8 How could starch damage the uniform?
The ACU will not require starching. Starching uniforms makes the uniform material more brittle and subsequently reduces the wear life. The wrinkle-free treatment will allow Soldiers to wear the ACU without incurring costs of commercial laundering or pressing.
Q.9 Will other Army issued items change to match the pattern of the uniform?
Yes, some items (patrol cap, tan boots & T-shirts) will be introduced concurrently w/ the ACU. Other Army woodland and desert pattern items will be evaluated to determine an appropriate single color or pattern. Specific timelines have yet to be determined.
Q.10 What will be the wear-out date for the battle dress uniform?
Residual stocks of BDUs will be sold or issued until exhausted and their wear out date will be established based on when stocks are exhausted. That wear out date will provide an adequate amount of time for Soldiers to procure the ACU. Production ramp-up of the ACU will cause production of the BDU to end in early FY 06
Q.11 Is the ACU compatible with other equipment?
The ACU works extremely well with existing equipment and is specifically designed to be worn with Body Armor.
Q.12 Why is the Army funding the purchase of new uniforms instead of providing more money for items that would give Soldiers protection like armor?
The ACU was designed specifically by Soldiers to meet the demands of the current operational environment while wearing Interceptor Body Armor. The current BDU was designed 25 years ago, before the Army routinely wore ballistic body armor. The Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) requires the Interceptor Body Armor to be worn closed. The ACU actually compliments the Interceptor Body Armor by improving access to pockets and by improving comfort associated with the SAPI pressing the current BDU shirt buttons into the chest of the Soldier. The ACU blouse will have a zipper and Velcro front closure, so the button problem is not an issue.
Q.13 Why was the digitized print chosen over the more traditional camouflage?
There are a number of potentially effective technologies to provide effective camouflage. The ACU leveraged a digitized print developed by the USMC. The Army modified the USMC pattern and used alternate colors to provide an effective camouflage in multiple environments.
Q.14 When will it be fielded?
The ACU is scheduled for fielding as an organizational item in Apr 05 and will be in the clothing bag in FY06.
Q.15 Who will pay for it?
Deploying enlisted Soldiers and officers will be issued ACUs at the Army's expense as an organizational issued item. Enlisted Soldiers (Active Army Clothing Bag), US Army Reserve and Army National Guard will receive an initial issue of 4 ACUs. Already active Army enlisted Soldiers receive a Clothing Replacement Allowance with which to buy replacement uniforms. Officers will buy the ACU at their own expense from the Army Military Clothing Sales Stores.
Q.16 Will the reserve component be getting it?
Yes, The ACU will be fielded to the Army - Active, Reserve and National Guard.
Q.17 Why did you borrow the pattern from the Marines?
The Marines had already invested in the research and development of a digital pattern. The Army leveraged this investment and adapted it to the needs of the Army.
Q.18 Do the Marines have any problems with that?
Use of the digital pattern was coordinated with the Marines Corps.
Q.19 Why a new uniform now?
The BDU was introduced over 25 years ago and Soldiers needed a uniform designed to meet the needs of current combat operations. The ACU provides enhanced functionality, which will significantly improve their combat effectiveness.
Q.20 I've talked to Soldiers who don't like it. Please respond.
Change is always hard. Some my take longer to adjust to the ACU.
Q.21 Who is the manufacturer and where are they located?
The same manufacturers that are producing the current BDU/DCU are expected to produce the ACU with sufficient output to meet the April 2005 initial deployment phase f0r the life of their contract. Specific manufacturers for subsequent production will be determined through full and open competition.
Q.22 Explain the new camouflage pattern. It looks like it will be visible in the woodland environment.
The new pattern is designed to work in the three primary combat environments, -- Woodland, Desert and Urban. Though not optimized for any particular environment, it is effective in all three.
Q.23 Is there a web site I can go to for more information, e.g. pictures, artwork, etc and Soldier feedback?
All of that may be obtained on the PEO Soldier web site. (This link will be activated Monday, 14 June 2004).