Complaints that current camouflage is not as effective in Afghanistan as in Iraq has led Congress to suggest troops deployed to Afghanistan get issued uniforms separate from the ones shown above in a meeting of soldiers at Forward Operating Base Lagman. (PFC. ELISEBET FREEBURG / ARMY)
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Nearly camouflaged against the rocky terrain, soldiers of Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, conduct a patrol March 1 in the Jamachgal-Khwar Valley in Nuristan province, Afghanistan. (Sgt. Henry Selzer / Army)
Congress is about to order new combat uniforms for troops in Afghanistan after hearing complaints that camouflage that was fine in Iraq doesn't work so well in a mountainous and often muddy environment.
"Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan have serious concerns about the current combat uniform which they indicated provides ineffective camouflage given the environment in Afghanistan," lawmakers say in the report accompanying HR 2346, the 2009 supplemental appropriations act.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 226-202. It heads to the Senate for approval.
The bill orders the Defense Department 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."
There is no extra money in the bill to cover the cost of issuing new uniforms but lawmakers indicated they might be willing to help, if needed. They want a full report by fall on plans and budget adjustments needed to provide new uniforms to both deployed troops and those who are deploying, the report says.
The $106 billion bill includes $79.9 billion for the Defense Department, mostly to cover cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Costs of uniforms would come from the $32.5 billion set aside in the bill for operations and maintenance.