Marines’ camouflage uniform shortage to get fixed

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Marines can expect a replenished inventory of camouflage uniforms by the summer of 2024, addressing the persistent shortage of the Marine Corps combat utility uniform, commonly known as cammies. Major John Parry, Marine Corps spokesperson, confirmed that steps are being taken to ensure fully stocked shelves by that time.

In September 2023, recognizing the shortage, the Marine Corps temporarily relaxed uniform rules, allowing unit leaders to authorize the use of desert-colored cammies or flame-resistant organizational gear as alternatives to the standard woodland-colored cammies. Commandant Gen. Eric Smith emphasized the need to avoid Marines wearing unserviceable cammies, citing the negative impact it has on the Corps’ image.

However, Major Parry clarified that Marines cannot unilaterally decide to wear a different uniform or civilian attire. The shortage has led Marines to resort to creative tailoring solutions or turn to the growing uniform resale market.

The Marine Corps Exchange website estimated fall 2024 as the timeframe to restock uniform items fully. Major Parry, in an email to Marine Corps Times, referred to fall 2024 as a “colloquial estimate for when Marines can expect all uniform shortages to be alleviated,” with the camouflage uniform shortage slated to end in July 2024.

The shortage, attributed to inflation and a challenging labor market, prompted the Marines to explore alternative solutions. Chuck Lambert, CEO of the primary manufacturer, American Apparel Inc., mentioned in August 2023 that the shortage was influenced by increased wages in other industries, making it difficult for uniform manufacturers to compete.

Since the onset of the shortage in summer 2022, the Defense Department has responded by awarding additional uniform contracts to American Apparel Inc. and two other manufacturers, as per information from Pentagon records and statements from Parry and Lambert. The concerted efforts aim to address the supply chain challenges and ensure a timely resolution to the shortage by the specified timeline.