The first airmen to be issued the Air Force’s new “Airman Battle Uniform”—once called a battle dress uniform—will be in the deployment cycle starting in May 2007, which officials say is on track. Most airmen will get two sets of the new ABU, along with the current Desert Combat Uniform. Airmen who serve with Army units will get four sets of the new ABUs to let them “blend in more with their service counterparts,” according to an Air Force release. USAF officials expect to issue the new ABUs to airmen in basic training, beginning in October 2007, and have the ABU available for purchase through base exchanges. All airmen must wear the new BDU by 2011.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.