Every now and then I have an application that is subject to a secrecy order by the government that restricts disclosure of the invention and prevents the publishing or granting of a patent. I noticed that a current application being held up really doesn’t seem to contain sensitive information but the application may have triggered the order itself by making a reference in the description that one of its many uses could be by the military. It would be analogous to an invention for an improved water bottle that you might describe as being beneficial to the military (a group that often needs bottled water in far away places) but that really is ordinary, everyday technology.
If you don’t know, the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 requires the government to impose secrecy orders on certain patent applications that contain sensitive information, thereby restricting disclosure of the invention and withholding the grant of a patent. This requirement can be imposed even when the application is wholly created and owned by a private individual or company without government sponsorship or support.