Camouflage Shortage Moves Marine Corps to Dress Down

( – A shortage of woodland-patterned camouflage uniforms that began in the summer of 2022 has finally come to a head. Reportedly, the shortage will continue until 2024 when the manufacturer believes it will be caught up from the pandemic-induced backlog. For now, Marines will be allowed to wear alternate uniforms, although they will go against Marine standards.

Commandant Gen. Eric Smith appeared in a video posted on Instagram to the Marines page, where he addressed the issue to service members. He advised that Marines will now be allowed to wear their desert-colored “cammies,” in addition to flame-resistant organizational gear (FROG) in the meantime.

Desert-colored uniforms are also in low-supply and FROG uniforms are only supposed to be used during deployment. Marine recruits are now being issued two woodland-patterned uniforms instead of three and one desert-colored uniform instead of two. Last year when the shortage was announced, a spokesman for the Marines said that servicemembers should not decide “unilaterally to wear a different uniform or civilian attire” because they have fewer uniforms. The woodland-patterned uniforms were adopted as the standard uniform back in 2016 and are approved for year-round wear.

Back in December 2022, female Marines were told that they did not have to purchase the new blue dress coat until April of this year, although it was issued nearly five years prior. The shortage was also blamed on the pandemic, with various other items also backlogged. Marines are given a uniform allowance upon entry and a replacement allowance every two years. The Air Force also experienced shortages due to the pandemic which resulted in cuts to the number of uniforms servicemembers received after basic training. The Coast Guard resorted to switching suppliers at the height of the pandemic due to items being consistently out of stock. During each instance of shortages, spokespeople have maintained that military readiness would not be affected and that efforts would be made to alleviate any impact on operations.

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