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.)