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Commercial items

Definition Commercial items, in military operations, refer to goods or services that are sold or traded to the general public and are used for non-military purposes. These items are typically readily available on the open market and are not specifically designed or developed for military use. They include items such as clothing, vehicles, food, and […]


Commercial items, in military operations, refer to goods or services that are sold or traded to the general public and are used for non-military purposes. These items are typically readily available on the open market and are not specifically designed or developed for military use. They include items such as clothing, vehicles, food, and consumer technology.

Key Takeaways

  1. Commercial items refer to the products or services commercially available that meet military or defence requirements. They are often used to speed up the acquisition process and cut costs in military operations.
  2. Utilizing commercial items in military operations supports the integration of cutting-edge technology and developments. Since these items are developed in the commercial sector, they can incorporate the latest industry trends and advancements.
  3. This approach aids in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations. By deploying commercial items, the military can leverage the benefits of market competition, which often results in quality improvement and innovation.


The term “Commercial Items” in military operations holds crucial significance as it refers to goods or services, including construction material, that are used in the commercial marketplace that can fulfill military or defense needs.

The importance of commercial items lies in their potential for cost savings, efficiency, and improved quality.

As these items are produced for the consumer market, they are subjected to market competition, driving down costs and encouraging innovation and quality improvement.

Furthermore, sourcing from commercial vendors can lead to faster procurement processes, as these items do not need to be custom-built or designed specifically for defense purposes.

This combined elements of cost, quality, time efficiency, and convenience make the concept of ‘Commercial Items’ important in military operations.


The term “Commercial items” within the context of military operations refers to products or services that are used or bought by the military but are also accessible to the general public. Commercial items span across a wide range of commodities like food, clothing, medical supplies, and technical equipment, as well as services like transportation, maintenance or professional services.

The purpose of using commercial items in military operations is to seamlessly integrate with world-class business practices while ensuring the military’s operational readiness. The use of commercial items not only promotes efficiency but also fosters innovation within military organizations.

Constant advancements in commercial technologies provide the military with access to state-of-the-art products without the need for costly development and testing cycles. By integrating these existing market products into their operations, the military can leverage commercial research and development cycles and gain technologically advanced equipment rapidly and at a lower cost.

This also has the added benefit of simplifying logistics and support as these items usually come with existing supply chains and established maintenance procedures. Moreover, when military-specific requirements are necessary, the government often encourages manufacturers to produce commercially oriented items, which offers dual-use technologies thereby increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Examples of Commercial items

Military Uniforms: One of the common examples of commercial items in military operations is military uniforms that are manufactured by different companies. These include combat uniforms, physical training uniforms, and dress uniforms which are procured from civilian companies that specialize in clothing manufacture.

Military Vehicles: Many military vehicles are also deemed as commercial items. For instance, vehicles like Humvees, trucks, or armored vehicles are often produced by commercial manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, or AM General, which also produce commercial vehicles.

Communication Equipment: Radios, satellites, and other communication devices used by armed forces are largely produced by commercial companies like Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, or Boeing. These types of equipment are essential in coordinating military operations and are often purchased as commercial items.

FAQs about Military Operations: Commercial Items

What are Commercial Items in Military Operations?

Commercial items in military operations refer to products or services that are readily available in the open market for use in military operations. They range from typical office supplies to advanced technologies and equipment that can support strategic goals.

Why does the Military use Commercial Items?

The military uses commercial items in order to take advantage of the speed of industrial innovation. Leveraging commercial products and services can greatly shorten acquisition time, reduce costs, and take advantage of the most up-to-date technology available.

What is the Acquisition procedure for these Commercial Items?

Commercial items are typically procured via competitive acquisition procedures. This means multiple suppliers offer their products and services, while the military determines the best value based on price, quality, delivery time, and other factors.

Are there any regulations for acquiring Commercial Items?

Yes, the acquisition of commercial items by the military is regulated by policies such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). This regulation ensures fairness, competition, and value for money for the government.

Can any Commercial Item be used in Military Operations?

Not all commercial items can be used in military operations. The items must meet certain standards and requirements for ruggedness, reliability, and security. They are often subject to stringent testing before being approved for use.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Purchase of Commercial Items
  • Commercial Acquisition
  • Federal Supply Schedule
  • General Services Administration (GSA)
  • Commercial Market Practices

Sources for More Information

  1. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR): This U.S. government website provides information about the definitive set of rules used by all federal agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds, including how they handle commercial items.
  2. Defense Acquisition University (DAU): DAU is a corporate university of the United States Department of Defense offering several courses and materials that cover procurement, including commercial items.
  3. National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA): NDIA provides resources for those interested in aspects of defense including commercial items acquisition. While serving the defense industry, it offers a wealth of knowledge that could be applicable in broad terms.
  4. National Contract Management Association (NCMA): An organization for contract management professionals, offering resources and community discussions about various topics in contract management, including commercial items.

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