When the Army transitioned from the Battle Dress Uniform to the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) one of the changes that surprised me was doing away with buttons in favor of velcro tapes to close the pockets. Velcro is handy, but it doesn’t last very well, particularly after repeated washings.
Not surprisingly, the velcro tapes were popular in garrison, where they present a tidy appearance. But they weren’t very popular with grunts in the field, since the cargo pockets of soldiers in the field are almost always jam-packed with various and sundry items. And velcro just won’t hold them closed.
The Army isn’t quite as bad as the Navy or the Air Force when it comes to designing uniforms, but the decision to use velcro was stupid, and an entirely self inflicted wound. I can’t tell you how many man-years and millions of dollars were spent developing the ACU, but I can tell you this- a five minute conversation with an infantryman would have told the Army that velcro just doesn’t work for cargo pockets.
H/T: Hotspur at the H2.