PEO Soldier briefs DACOWITS on uniforms, protective gear

ARLINGTON, Va. (Sept. 26, 2013) – Program Executive Office Soldier briefed the Defense Department Advisory Committee On Women In The Service with regards to uniforms and protective equipment that will help female Soldiers more effectively perform their missions. Committee members learned about uniforms, body armor and other protective equipment that PEO Soldier developed or are under development.

The Department of Defense established DACOWITS in 1951 to advise it on matters and policies relating to women in the Armed Services.
Col. Robert Mortlock, Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment discussed the Female Improved Outer Tactical Vest. He said fielding to female Soldiers is underway at Fort Campbell, Ky., and other locations. He discussed development of hard armor inserts with additional sizes that accommodate females and smaller statured Soldiers. The Army and the Marine Corps cooperate on a great deal of protective equipment development, he pointed out.

DACOWITS member Hae-Sue Park examines Protective Outer Garment

DACOWITS member Hae-Sue Park examines Protective Outer Garment as Capt. Brice Cooper looks on. Park is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. Captain Cooper is the assistant product manager for body armor.

Colonel Mortlock noted the development of a female variant of the two-tiered Pelvic Protection System, which protects against ground-emplaced explosives. Protective equipment now under development, such as the Soldier Protection System, is incorporating female variants in the design process itself, according to the colonel.

Colonel Mortlock also spoke about efforts to provide more sizing alternatives in Soldier clothing. During his discussion on the Army Combat Uniform-Alternate, designed to provide female and smaller-statured male Soldiers, DACOWITS military director Col. Betty Yarbrough displayed it to the panel. She demonstrated the fit of her ACU-A with her ACU, pronouncing the ACU-A a great improvement. Committee members said they were pleased to learn the ACU-A is already available in the clothing bag and at Military Clothing Sales stores.

Clothing and equipment changes are mission-oriented, according to Colonel Mortlock. “When Soldiers do not have to think about the fit of their equipment or uniform, they can concentrate on performing their jobs,” he said.

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