So the U.S.Arm messes up the entire individual camouflage pattern thing. Its universal grey camouflage was a disaster, as it was almost universally poor and actually didn't even look good in the original evaluation. An interim solution was specifically adopted for Afghanistan and now the bureaucracy cramps its way towards adopting the same thing as standard camouflage pattern. Meanwhile, they keep buying poorly camouflaged equipment in the old "universal" pattern.
This makes sticking with grey-olive monocolour clothes for decades (Bundeswehr 60's to 80's) look smart.
The graphic above shows in an abstract way the compromises required if troops need to move through different terrains during a single mission. No matter whether you pick specialised or universal patterns, you're going to be suboptimal in some environment.
It should be a no-brainer that the answer is a reversible overall smock with different camo patterns on both sides. I kid you not; Germany had this already 70 years ago. It's not fully compliant with the approach of overladen infantrymen with load carrying vests all over the upper body, of course.
Here's a different thought, one which takes human nature into account instead of staring at landscape photos and stuff only: Give some universal camo which works at least in shadows (where hiding is easiest) to the non-combat troops and mounted combat troops. Meanwhile, dismounted scouts and infantry should be given only a basic camouflage which nobody would misunderstand as sufficient in itself. These troops are actually (supposed to be) highly conscious about the need to camouflage, and they should do so depending on terrain. Let them add both factory-made and improvised camouflage elements to themselves, in order to be almost always very well camouflaged. This includes especially 3D camouflage elements which can beat any pattern hands down anyway.
The reasoning is that supporters aren't going to do individual camo well anyway, so they should get the best factory-made and universal camo. It takes a disciplined army to ensure that supporters have at least their guns cleaned and are skilled in their use - no army has ever been able to enforce much camo discipline on individual support troops.
Meanwhile, the few troops which are the most exposed individuals (infantry, dismounted scouts, possibly dedicated tank hunters) can be kept camo-aware by a disciplined army. They're also the ones for which a second-best camo is not good enough. So don't fool them into trusting the inadequate patterns when 3D camouflage elements are much superior. Force them into applying these by handing them only obviously inadequate camo suits which are nevertheless a fine basis for additional camo efforts.
|factory-made, still fresh and clean ghillie camo suit example|
I suppose this approach of basic camo for combat troops and enforced extra camo efforts should be tested. Maybe it's great, maybe not.