In 1982, more than 138,000 United States manufacturing firms sold products to the Department of Defense. Five years later, fewer than 40,000 companies were filling military orders. Most of the companies that closed out their military contracting were reported to have simply "opted for more reasonable customers." One such company was The North Face, a Berkeley, California, manufacturer of technically advanced camping equipment. This is the story of the firm's attempt to fill a typical defense contract, and of how The North Face became so mired in regulatory requirements that company officials concluded their profit did not make up for the problems they encountered filling the order.