Military uniforms are a more than $1.5 billion annual business, and uniform changes are something new. But according to a recent report by the Army Times the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center is going where no tactical uniform has ever gone before – and that’s into the world of women’s undergarments.
The Times reported that this fall the prototype and an initial evaluation will be presented to the Army Uniform Board, who would then launch the Army Tactical Brassiere as an official program of record.
With the military weighing in on other female topics in recent years, including things like lash extensions, nail polish and hair styles, the tactical bra seems like a program that may actually be overdue. Beyond comfort, female athletes and service members know – the right sports bra can actually contribute to less muscle fatigue and most critical for female service members – a better fit under body armor.
Making the Case for a Tactical Bra
The tactical bra is intended to be more than an undergarment, but incorporate into body armor for better protection under a military uniform. Soldier Touchpoints, an “immersive testing and feedback mechanisms through which Soldiers can provide valuable insights on how certain tools or equipment undergoing development will be used practically in the field,” emphasized the new tactical bra will be evaluated based on criteria like being flame retardant, and with adequate ‘structural and protective materials.’
Outfitting a service member costs between $1,600 and $2,400, according to the GAO. After initial outifitting, service members receive an annual uniform allowance, but it’s an amount that’s generally not enough to cover all of the the items needed, particularly in light of the revolving door of changes.
To the extent a sports bra can improve pectoral strength and stamina (and it can), the tactical sports bra may also help the Army in its effort to improve overall physical fitness and function for service members. In 2020 the U.S. Army spent $68 million on gear for the Army Combat Fitness Test, it’s updated physical fitness criteria which was initially designed to assess women and men under an equal rating system.