The U.S. military spent $178 billion on research, development, and procurement in the 2016 fiscal year. While most funds invested in new military capabilities are spent on major weapons programs, a number of military inventions over the years also had civilian applications.
In fact, some of the most widely used commercial products today were originally developed for the purpose of defending the country. 24/7 Wall St. identified 15 such products.
The federal government has always been the most powerful and resource-rich entity in the United States. As a result, the military has had the means to make incredibly large investments, either through its own research agencies or through contracts with private companies. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was involved in major innovations such as the internet, is behind two products on this list: GPS and the Aspen Movie Map, a precursor to Google’s Street View.
The private and public spheres are closely interwoven in what is known as the military-industrial complex.