For years, armed forces service members have proudly worn their uniforms. But now it seems appearance is more important than mundane considerations such as strategy, tactics, and budget.
The Army has adopted the Army combat uniform (ACU), a total redesign of the old battle dress uniform (BDU) and its desert cousin, the DCU. The ACU fits like pajamas. Its digital camouflage pattern mimics almost no natural landscape and pops out from its background, especially when an ACU-wearing Soldier stands next to someone in more traditional camouflage. The ACU pattern appears to be at its best in the dark, when viewed through night-vision goggles.
Not to be outdone, the Air Force came out with the airman battle uniform (ABU). Its coloring is similar to the ACU's, but it relies on a digital version of the classic tiger-stripe pattern. Abandoning the tradition of two sizes for uniforms (too small and too big), the Air Force opted for a scheme more appropriate for tailored suits. Such customized sizing seems ideal for rough-and-tumble battlefields at the Pentagon.