Why Doesn’t the Military Sell Official Issue Clothing?

It is the season, or a little past, to purchase warm, blandly-designed cold weather gear. As we’ve shop for long underwear, pea coats, and arctic camo, we wondered: Why doesn’t the U.S. Military have its own brand of clothing?

We don’t mean a line of his-and-hers sweatshirts that say “Army of Two,” either. We want the real deal.

The military already has a vast supply chain. How much harder would it be to ramp up the supply of non-combat gear, like thermal underwear, coats, gloves, hats, and rocket launchers, then sell that excess to sporting goods stores like REI and Dick’s under the ‘Official U.S. Military Issue’ brand? Many would be inclined to pay a premium price, knowing that they were wearing the same gear as our fighting forces. If it’s good enough to keep our boys cool while they hunker down beneath an unarmored Humvee, it’s good enough for us to wear to a barbecue.

It seems a natural revenue generator to us. Obviously, dress uniforms and the like wouldn’t be as necessary, but we can think of many outdoor enthusiasts who would pay top dollar to have a head-to-toe official military issue outfit.

Yes, we know about military surplus stores, but that’s not the same. We want to be able to head into our neighborhood sporting goods store—or even better, wander into our neighborhood web browser—and buy us some ugly, functional clothing direct from the source (direct from their vendors).

If the profits were channeled into a retirement fund for our military, so much the better. (Yeah, now we’re reaching.)


Edit Your Comment

  1. That Guy says:

    Brilliant idea. You should receive money, gifts, and other fine things for posting this.

    Not from me, of course, but others should be willing to step up to the plate.

  2. Josh says:

    Seconded, I would line up for a Pea Coat and some gloves. My friend in the Reserves used to get some of us the military issue leather gloves, great quality and affordable (to him).

  3. John says:

    Great idea, cause the Army guys’ Gore-tex parkas are the bomb, and so are those black leather gloves. However, I suspect that all profits would have to be used to fund an ENTIRE new branch at the GAO to make sure that somebody wasn’t ripping somebody off. The Guvment aint set up for retail. It would have to go to a contractor and that would require a contracting office, a QA office, a Program management office, etc… I think you’re starting to get the idea.

  4. Smoking Pope says:

    I’m still waiting for official US Army RPG’s to go public. How else am I supposed to fend off door to door salespricks?

  5. BruinEric says:

    I’m gonna guess that one of the reasons real, FULL, uniforms aren’t available in the mass market is the whole enemy thing.

    I’m sure a uniform isn’t a magic ticket to access, but a combat-issue uniform might be a bit helpful to a bad guy or two trying to get closer to our troops.

  6. HINKShopper says:

    Hey, Guys:

    I have actually received a mailing to purchase shoes made especially for a branch of the military. Oddly enough, they were made by Oakley. The ad model was completely painted up for the shoot. He looked like an A&F model but not as masculine. As for imagining him in a strategic op I wouldn’t give him 10 seconds through the door at a Barney’s event.

    Bose also sells to the military, but none of their products are available to the public.

  7. Mike Panic says:

    Most everything the Army issues is available at some point in the food chain by the civilian contracters.

  8. ephdel says:

    that is an amazing image right there. yes it is….

  9. Anonymous says:

    i am currently deployed in qatar. i opened a search for an online supplier to get better gear that fits the regulations of our uniform, and i stumbled on this post. the people who posted before me are right, oakley does make government issue gear, but you have to fax them a photocopy of your armed forces, or govt. id card in order to register to be able to purchase from their site. (usstandardissue.com). the prices on the site are almost half of what you would pay for the items that are available in stores. the oakley boots are the best boots ive ever worn. one of the reasons that the items arent available in stores, is that we are having a hard time getting them issued to us in the first place. i am in the air force, and we just switched to new uniforms similar to the army’s. there is such a shortage of cold weather gear, that the people who are deploying have priority over the rest. so back home you see people wearing the new abu’s with the old bdu goretex jackets when it rains. you are still authorized to do that until next winter, when they claim that there won’t be a shortage. as for the terrorist thing, YES, that is an issue. we can’t just throw away an unserviceable uniform out here, we need to pack it and take it home with us, and then get rid of it. in my opinion, i can’t wait until they day that i can hang up my uniforms, and wear civilian clothes again. eventually you will be able to buy them, but they probably wont be treated with the chemical to make them invisible to night vision, but that will make them much cheaper.