Donnie, interesting post. I'm going to have to disagree with you, though, in that military efforts do bring about more technological advancements. When motivated, the government has far greater means and resources to accomplish its goals than even the private sector has. Businesses need to ensure a cost-effective design; they need to make sure profit is attainable; they need to offer high enough compensation to their employees. The government doesn't have these obstacles.
Think about the development of the atomic bomb. One of the hugest technological advancements ever, and I think this could have been done at that point in time only with governmental resources. Think about Rome's sytem of roads throughout the Empire. Think about shipbuilding in England, metallurgy throughout the Bronze Age and beyond. Think about gunpowder.
Once this technology has left the confines of the government, I think that the private sector is able to run with it and make advancements on their own. However, I think this might be more true nowadays than it was in the past; I don't think that R&D would have been such a priority for, say private sector Medieval Europe.
I am a big fan of private enterprise and I think it can do wonders. However, I guess what I'm trying to say is that governments can justify technology at any price when they're facing potential destruction, so they should be able to come up with greater advancements.