Female soldiers in the United States Army appear to be getting a uniform upgrade.
As reported by ArmyTimes, the U.S. Army is currently developing a tactical bra for its female soldiers, one that, if approved, would make it “the first official uniform bra the Army has offered its female soldiers in its history,” per CNN. The bra has been dubbed the “Army Tactical Brassiere” and is expected to be evaluated by the Army Uniform Board this fall.
An article titled “The Essential Role of Soldier Touch Points” that the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center shared earlier this year provides insight on what makes the new bra “tactical” rather than just general sportswear.
ATB development began with seeking input from female Soldiers on what type of functionality and preferences should be considered during initial prototype design. Given that the ATB is a tactical rather than sportswear item, it will need to integrate well with equipment and body armor, providing enhanced protection and performance in addition to an ideal fit. This means that designers are evaluating options such as the inclusion of flame-retardant fabrics and expertly layered compression, structural and protective materials while also taking into account the importance of accurate sizing, reliable comfort, moisture management and breathability.
“The overall goal is to produce garments that not only protect the user, but reduce the cognitive burden on the female Soldier caused by discomfort and ill fit,” said Ashley Cushon, clothing designer and project lead for the ATB at the DEVCOM Soldier Center. “Achieving this will improve the Soldier’s overall readiness and performance levels, allowing them to focus on their mission.”
Four prototype models of the Army Tactical Brassiere have been developed thus far, according to ArmyTimes. Concept A is a “pullover sports bras with padding and structured seams,” Concept B is a “shelf style,” Concept C is a “compression bra with cross-back straps,” and Concept D is a “zippered front closure with contoured seams and adjustable cross back straps.”
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Solider Center, also known as DEVCOM, is located in Natick, Massachusetts.