Throughout the years, the United States Army has had a variety of different combat uniforms each dependent on the current circumstance or placement of the troops. The current combat uniform is known as the Army Combat Uniform. It is the newest adaptation from the former Battle Dress Uniform and the Desert Camouflage Uniform, which were both worn in the 80s and the 90s.
As expected with a new class of uniform, there are many changes, and upgrades to the camouflage pattern on the new Army Combat Uniform. The camouflage pattern featured on this new uniform is referred to as the Universal Camouflage Pattern. Instead of different colors and different styles for different environments, this new pattern includes green, gray, and tan in order to work effectively in all environments. One color specifically omitted from the new pattern was black since it does not appear in nature, and it will show definitively through night vision. The colors that are used on the uniform are set into a pixel formation that allows the blended colors to become darker or lighter depending on the amount of sunlight in the area.
Another significant step up from the previous uniform which was solely made out of cotton, is that now they are using a nylon-cotton blend that is said to provide more comfort for the soldiers.
There are some important regulations that have been put in place for the new uniforms. Soldiers are not allowed to use a starch or any type of dry-cleaning process because it will affect the durability of the uniform. In addition, soldiers are advised to wash the uniforms using only a mild detergent. No “optical brighteners” are allowed because it can cause discoloration to the specific camouflage pattern on the uniform, and could result in unwanted attention from enemy troops.