The change had been pushed by William Enyart, Democrat from Illinois' 12th District, who says he started wondering about all those different patterns of camouflage in the service branches after reading a Washington Post story detailing how the military now has ten kinds of camouflage and spends millions on camouflage design. Enyart's proposal held bipartisan appeal given the duplication in the military at a time of austerity in government. A Government Accountability Office September 2012 report revealed that the military had spent $300 million in 2011 to purchase new camouflage and millions more for design. Over time, the study found, service branches have designed camouflage that distinguish one service from another. In a decade, the services introduced seven new camouflage uniforms with a variety of patterns and colors — two desert, two woodland and three universal patterns.
"Camo" is big business. Here's a listing of camouflage contracts let by the Department of Defense in 2013.
July 31, 2013 Carter Industries Inc., Olive Hill, Ky., awarded a $9,244,800 contract for improved Army combat vehicle crewman’s, universal camouflage pattern coveralls.
March 19, 2013 API, LLC, Camuy, Puerto Rico, awarded contract for a maximum $11,606,400 for various types of Permethrin Army combat uniform camouflage coats.
March 18, 2013 Pentaq Manufacturing Corp., Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, awarded contract for a maximum $27,244,510 for various types of Permethrin Army Combat Uniform Camouflage coats.
March 13, 2013 Tullahoma Industries LLC., Tullahoma, Tenn., awarded contract for $25,482,000 for three types of permethrin Army combat uniform camouflage patterned trousers.
March 1, 2013 Tennier Industries, Boca Raton, Fla., awarded contract with a maximum $15,551,438 for universal camouflage patterned jackets.
Much of the production of the camouflage fabrics that go into the uniforms is done in Fall River, Massachusetts, at Duro Textiles LLC, as reported in this Boston Globe article.
Below is the text of the Enyart Amendment as it appears in the final bill passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President.
SEC. 352. REVISED POLICY ON GROUND COMBAT AND CAMOUFLAGE UTILITY UNIFORMS.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF POLICY.—It is the policy of the United States that the Secretary of Defense shall eliminate the development and fielding of Armed Force-specific combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms in order to adopt and field a common combat and camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for specific combat environments to be used by all members of the Armed Forces.
(b) PROHIBITION.—Except as provided in subsection (c), after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of a military department may not adopt any new camouflage pattern design or uniform fabric for any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for use by an Armed Force, unless—
(1) the new design or fabric is a combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms that will be adopted by all Armed Forces;
(2) the Secretary adopts a uniform already in use by another Armed Force; or
(3) the Secretary of Defense grants an exception based on unique circumstances or operational requirements.
(c) EXCEPTIONS.—Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed as—
(1) prohibiting the development of combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms for use by personnel assigned to or operating in support of the unified combatant command for special operations forces described in section 167 of title 10, United States Code;
(2) prohibiting engineering modifications to existing uniforms that improve the performance of combat and camouflage utility uniforms, including power harnessing or generating textiles, fire resistant fabrics, and anti-vector, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial treatments;
(3) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from fielding ancillary uniform items, including headwear, footwear, body armor, and any other such items as determined by the Secretary;
(4) prohibiting the Secretary of a military department from issuing vehicle crew uniforms;
(5) prohibiting cosmetic service-specific uniform modifications to include insignia, pocket orientation, closure devices, inserts, and undergarments; or
(6) prohibiting the continued fielding or use of pre-existing service-specific or operation-specific combat uniforms as long as the uniforms continue to meet operational requirements.
(d) REGISTRATION REQUIRED.—The Secretary of a military department shall formally register with the Joint Clothing and Textiles Governance Board all uniforms in use by an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of the Secretary and all such uniforms planned for use by such an Armed Force.
(e) LIMITATION ON RESTRICTION.—The Secretary of a military department may not prevent the Secretary of another military department from authorizing the use of any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms.
(f) GUIDANCE REQUIRED.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall issue guidance to implement this section.
(2) CONTENT.—At a minimum, the guidance required by paragraph (1) shall require the Secretary of each of the military departments—
(A) in cooperation with the commanders of the combatant commands, including the unified combatant command for special operations forces, to establish, by not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, joint criteria for combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms, which shall be included in all new requirements documents for such uniforms;
(B) to continually work together to assess and develop new technologies that could be incorporated into future combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms to improve war fighter survivability;
(C) to ensure that new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms meet the geographic and operational requirements of the commanders of the combatant commands; and
(D) to ensure that all new combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms achieve interoperability with all components of individual war fighter systems, including body armor, organizational clothing and individual equipment, and other individual protective systems.
(g) REPEAL OF POLICY.—Section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84, 123 Stat. 2262; 10 U.S.C. 771 note) is repealed.