WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 14, 2015) — Earlier this
month, the Army’s G-4 released an All Army Activities, or ALARACT,
message that lists the fiscal year 2016 clothing bag list for enlisted
Soldiers, as well as the dollar amount for the accompanying clothing
allowance. For FY16, Soldiers saw an increase of about seven percent
for their clothing allowance.
Inside the clothing bag, new additions reflect the Army’s adoption of the
Operational Camouflage Pattern.
The “clothing bag” is the name for the set of clothing items issued to
Soldiers in basic training. That list of items evolves and changes
year-to-year as the needs of the Army change. The clothing bag list is
published yearly, and all Soldiers are required throughout their career to
maintain in their possession serviceable items that match what is listed in
the most current clothing bag list.
New additions to the clothing bag this year include four sets of Army
Combat Uniforms, or ACUs, in the Operational Camouflage Pattern, as
well as a number of items that match the new color scheme. The total list
of new additions is:
— tan riggers belt
— hot-weather combat boots in coyote color
— temperate-weather combat boots in coyote color
— ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern patrol cap
— ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern coat
— ACU Operational Camouflage Pattern trousers
— tan drawers, men’s brief
— lightweight cold weather drawers
— mid-weight cold weather drawers
— black light duty utility glove
— coyote glove inserts
— black glove inserts
— tan moisture-wicking t-shirt
— lightweight undershirt, cold weather
— mid-weight undershirt, cold weather
According to a spokesperson for Army G-4, changes to the clothing bag
are made after taking recommendations from a number of sources,
including Training and Doctrine Command, Soldier feedback, and limited
user evaluations. The recommendations are presented to the Army
Uniform Board, and subsequent adoption of new items is first approved
by the Army’s chief of staff.
Soldiers in basic training will start getting the new ACU in the Operational
Camouflage Pattern later this month. For Soldiers already in the force,
they can continue to wear the Universal Camouflage Pattern ACU until
Sept. 30, 2019. It’s not until Oct. 1, 2019 – the very next day – that they
will be required to both own and wear the Operational Camouflage
The male and female clothing bags that are issued in basic training are
similar in what they contain. Male Soldiers are issued about 83 items,
while female Soldiers are issued about 74 items. Of those, more than 60
are exactly the same.
Differences between the clothing bags are mainly due to clothing items
that are designed specifically for either male or female Soldiers. Included
in that list are male and female versions of the Army Service Uniform
coat, male and female white dress shirts, male and female versions of the
Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU, the male neck tie versus the
female neck tab, and various dress shoes.
Male Soldiers are issued nine items more than female Soldiers because
male Soldiers are issued seven tan underwear briefs as well as two white
cotton crew neck T-shirts. Female Soldiers are provided a larger cash
allowance to purchase their own undergarments.
Both male and female Soldiers get cash allowances as part of their initial
issue of uniforms in basic training. For male Soldiers, that $94.33 cash
allowance is meant for them to purchase running shoes and socks for
physical training. For female Soldiers, their larger cash allowance of
$391.27 allows them to purchase running shoes, physical training socks,
underwear, black dress pumps, and a handbag.
To help enlisted Soldiers maintain the items they are required to have, as
spelled out in the clothing bag list, the Army provides them with a yearly
clothing replacement allowance, or CRA.
For male Soldiers with less than three years of service, their CRA for
FY2016 is $327.60 — an increase of about 7.05 percent. For those with
more than that time in service, their CRA is $468 — a 7.43 percent
increase. For female Soldiers under three years of service, their CRA is
$349.20 — a 7.77 percent increase over last year. Female Soldiers
beyond the three-year mark will get an annual $496.80 CRA — a 6.97
percent increase over FY2015.
Soldiers are meant to use the yearly CRA stipend to ensure they own all
of the items listed in the clothing bag list, and that the items are
serviceable. Soldiers are allowed to manage on their own how they use
the CRA. The CRA shows up as an untaxed item in a Soldier’s paycheck,
annually, on the anniversary month in which the Soldier entered the
For Soldiers who are assigned at a duty station where they are required
to wear civilian clothing to work, the Army provides an initial civilian
clothing allowance of $1,022.40. That clothing allowance is offered to
Army officers who serve overseas, and to enlisted Soldiers worldwide.