• Men of the U.S. 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii shod in their desert boots.

Men of the U.S. 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii shod in their desert boots. (Photo : US 25th Infantry Division)

The U.S. Army is fast tracking the acquisition of new combat boots for fighting units to be deployed to Asia in the event of a war.

U.S. Army officials say they want to issue a new model of "Jungle Combat Boot" for infantry soldiers to wear in the hot, tropical terrain of the Pacific theater by March 2017.

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Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff United States Army, wants the two brigade combat teams (BCT) now in Hawaii to be equipped with the new combat boots "ASAP," said Col. Dean Hoffman IV, Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment.

"We are going to use this request for information to see what industry can do really fast because what we would like to do is get a BCT out by March of 2017," said Col. Hoffman.

Equipment officials hope to have a second BCT outfitted with the new jungle boots by September 2017.

The boots will go to the U.S. 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii, specifically its two infantry units: the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The division served in Afghanistan in 2004 and in Iraq in 2009.

The Army plans to buy 36,000 pairs of new jungle boots to outfit these two BCTs.

The Army is looking for lightweight materials and better insole and midsole construction. The problem with the old jungle boots, said Col. Hoffman, was they had a metal shim in the sole for puncture protection. This shim made the boots get too hot or too cold depending on the outside temperature.

There are, however, new fabrics that offer some puncture protection for insoles while helping push water out of the boot through drain holes. Newer designs that feature several smaller drain holes tend to be more effective.

The new jungle boots will likely be made of rough-out leather that tends to dry out quickly and doesn't need to be shined.

The Army and the Marine Corps retired the Vietnam War-era jungle boots in the early 2000s when both services transitioned to a desert-style combat boot for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.