The question naturally occurs: Who gets the better stuff, soldiers or civilians? The military´s gear is often tougher (witness their laptops and cars), more precise and sometimes just plain better, because extreme situations require extreme gear. Civilians, meanwhile, have the advantage of speed. It can take the military eight years to field a new pair of socks. Before making a purchase, consumers think simply, Do I like it? Military procurement officers must ask, â€Can we entrust soldiers´ lives to it?â€ Consumers-capricious, gadget-hungry, hundreds of millions strong-frequently drive market innovations. The military has traditionally tried to develop, own, and control its own technology.