On Aug. 29 the Corps issued an award to SourceAmerica, in Vienna, Virginia, for $954,713, to produce the new tropical uniform, according to Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command.
First article samples of the new uniform are due by the end of March with a follow-on 60 days of testing. After that, an initial 2,600 uniforms will be delivered by late June 2019.
The tropical uniforms have undergone several years of testing with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, in Hawaii and Japan.
The Marines have heaped praise on the new lightweight uniform, at times describing them as “faster drying” and “light, like pajamas.”
The new tropical uniforms come at a time when the Corps has been fixated on the Pacific. Marines are currently in the middle of one the largest movements to the region since World War II.
The Corps is rapidly modernizing its force to prepare for a potential conflict with rising near-peer competitor China.
The Corps has steadily been increasing its footprint in Australia, while decentralizing its forces off Okinawa, Japan, to other locations like Guam and Hawaii in preparation for a potential conflict.
The new tropical uniforms will be delivered to the Consolidated Storage Program to be issued for contingency operations and training in tropical environments, according to Hamby.
The uniforms will not be a sea bag item, or part of a Marines general issue, but will soon be certified and available in the exchanges for sale. The tropical uniform will be authorized for field use only.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.