The US Army has been rolling out a novel idea- getting the input of soldiers in developing new tools and equipment, because who else knows better how they will be used in the field? This part of military modernization is called touch points. One of the new projects grown from this is the Army Tactical Brassiere (ATB) program. Until last year, women in the military were expected to get their own underwear, and plenty of companies targeted them for sales. Now they are developing a military bra with specifications to make a soldier’s work safer and easier.
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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.
Project leader Ashley Cushon stresses the importance of those last four factors because it would “reduce the cognitive burden on the female Soldier.” That’s no laughing matter, because men in the military never have to think about whether their breasts are chafing under exertion or whether they will be blamed for too much male gaze. If the army can achieve all they want in a bra, they’d better make a ton of them because civilian women will want them, too. There are currently four types of bra in development that may be approved in the fall. -via Boing Boing
(Image credit: US Army)