I’m not the kind of person who panders to conspiracy theories, but after the latest uniform change announcement, I continue to arrive at one conclusion. I submit a new conspiracy theory – the Pentagon is a cover for the world’s largest art, design, fashion, and media academy.
“Oh my god, I love the new fabric, Raul -It’s to die for! Get marketing on this, the Navy is THE new look for the fall.”
Every few years some admiral, general, Department of Defense marketing clown, or politician seems to get a combination of bored, drunk, greedy, high, or horny and then demands new uniforms. And in this tangled mess of wasted cash and material, it is impossible to find much, if any reason. The hunt for the prettiest dress continues, and despite the fact that the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act clearly spelled out; the was to DoD select a single camouflage pattern to span all branches. The House and the Senate Armed Services Committee must have slipped up and forgot to include a clause, bypassing the Flag Officer’s Creed, which is, “Whatever, whatever, I do what I want,” that is traditionally followed with two fingers snaps in cadence with a simultaneous double eye and neck roll. Meaning, the push for a single uniform has since been surrendered to the DoD.
Is there really nothing important happening the Pentagon? Is making, on-going, innocuous, and sweeping multi-billion dollar changes that affect hundreds of thousands of people as easy a drunk shopping on Amazon when you’re an admiral or a general? Perhaps, my conspiracy theory is spot-on, and the Pentagon is front, for the academy of high art, fashion, and media. I don’t know, but the maniac fashion police in command, who you would think, would have much better things to focus on – are again demanding, the finest clothes in all the land.
This fashion show is not cheap and goes well beyond the numbers often cited by senior staff that ranges between the hundreds of thousand and millions of dollars. The figures often cited only reflect the research and development costs, fielding the uniforms is another bill, buried within a 2014 Military Uniform Procurement: Questions and Answers , Congressional Research Service, U.S. Government Accountability Office report, is the 2012 figure,
Within DLA Troop Support, the Clothing and Textile (C&T)
Directorate supplies more than 8,000 different items ranging from uniforms to footwear and equipment. According to DLA Troop Support, in FY2012, C&T sales of clothing, textiles, and equipment to military personnel worldwide surpassed $1.9 billion.
For the Navy ‘blueberry’ uniform, a three-year hissy fit has been thrown by Naval senior staff who are apparently so disconnected with what their sailors do, that they’ve mocked the nautical appearance of uniforms . . . I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but most of the Navy spends their time either at sea or focusing on tasks that are to be completed in support of mission on or from the sea.
Anyway, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus has thrown the largest temper tantrums about the Navy uniform, stating,
“The notion that we [have] all [this] camouflage doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” and “the Navy ‘blueberries’ – I don’t know what the name is, that’s what sailors call them – the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard.”
But the Navy does not stand alone in the fight to demand a new wardrobe from daddy. In fact, this Barbie dress-up fiasco started with Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Ken Shinseki who essentially broke the glass ceiling on uniform changes. General Shinseki implemented a change for nearly every uniform of the Army in 2000. His broad strokes also put the black beret with idiotic blue flash on the heads of every soldier, because, “All soldiers are elite.” Right and everyone deserves a trophy for participating. The black beret policy has since been augmented.
Albeit, the dam burst with General Shinseki’s move, and every other service jumped on board. Now and have increasingly,they lost their goddamned minds with uniform changes. Since the initial sweeping Shinseki doctrine, every branch has and continues to make on-going uniform changes, for ‘mission reasons’, sure, whatever dude.
In fact, the changes have been so incredibly on-going, that I refuse to dare and attempt to list the absolutely mad hatter list of changes across the various branches.
A GAO report did contain this infographic showcasing, only the camouflage uniform changes from 2000 to 2012 – omitting aviator, combat vehicle crewmen, dress, fire resistance, physical training, among a complex stream of pissing away our tax dollars for the amusement of bosses.
But wait, there’s more, as the Army also wants new uniforms, again.
Every branch is making new and ongoing demands that “their unique METT-TC analysis,” being Mission, Enemy, Troops, Terrain, Time Available, and Civilian considerations are imposing the factor for ongoing updates. I don’t buy it, although many people support the METT-TC argument, but then again, most folks are Geardo and Tacticool, off-the-shelf operators these days and believe that it is all about equipment.
Personally, I’ve always found the prim and primp in varying uniforms to be the most antiquated and disgraceful act . . . It’s a damned indignity, as we’re forced to all play ‘dress-up games’ for our senior leaders. Basically, playing dolls, and the fiasco is a dirty game like some old man fetish from a bad 90’s, made for TV movie. Similarly wrong, is the money and time wasted on such nonsense, and just as well – the many uniform changes are often out of pocket for the soldier, beyond a few sets that you may get in time for the wear-out date on the last uniforms.
Oh, but they say, “You get a clothing allowance.” Yes, we do, once a year, and it doesn’t cover one pair of boots. Let alone another goddamned line of clothing that is, in my opinion meeting one or all of the following needs:
- Facilitating the retirement plan of senior officials,
- A command given from the depths of madness onset from a deep-set Neurosyphilis, or,
- The Pentagon truly is a cover for the world’s largest art, design, fashion, and media academy.
In times such as these, I often reflect upon a Jean Lartéguy quote, (that is, whenever the nonsense starts pouring out of the Pentagon). This is when I remind myself that America only has one of these armies, and I’m sure you can guess which one,
I’d like to have two armies: one for display with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering Generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their General’s bowel movements or their Colonel’s piles, an army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country. The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would not be put on display, but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That’s the army in which I should like to fight.
Three cheers to more pointless spending, and failure to take care of veterans. Well in the Pentagon’s opinion, after all; what have we done for them lately?
Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang