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Home   About   Membership   Forums & Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only February 13, 2015


 




PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Update on the Compensation Commission report and Budget deliberations:

This week, the Department of Defense begins its deliberations on the recommendations made by the military compensation commission as a series of "tiger teams" meet to peel back the recommendations of the commission and the recommendations included in the recently released DoD 2016 budget. While it is too early to portray an end game in this process, we must continue to stress the dangers in forcing any reductions in the guise of efficiencies before the entire discussion takes place.

ALA supports keeping protections in law for commissary and exchange benefits in place until the Department of Defense renders an objective report that documents how DoD plans to achieve reductions to the commissary appropriation without diminishing the savings that are realized by commissaries and the impact on exchange operations and patrons. These reports were wisely requested in last year's Defense authorization and appropriations acts.

Also, DoD has put in place a process to deliberate over the Commission findings. They are assembling experts in exchange and commissary management to assess the Commission recommendations on consolidation of programs and services, and other potential savings opportunities that were identified by the Commission. We hope this is a fair and objective process free of any predetermined budgetary constraints. We hope this is a fair review that does not put illusory efficiency plans ahead of the systems actual ability to realize savings and efficiencies or merely pass commissary costs onto the backs of the military exchanges.

We hope the Pentagon and White House review of the Commission findings along with the Pentagon's review of the Commission report will take into account the full body of data and reports that have considered consolidation over the years. The facts are that commissaries and exchanges have already taken out costs over the years in excess of $1 billion a year. They stand as a model for the rest of Government to emulate, not decimate, for short term-budget expediency. Consider facts, not conjecture aimed at hitting a budgetary target regardless of the risk to a system that has given and continues to give so much to so many for so little.

Commissaries and exchanges are a system that works. Congress and past Administrations have carefully designed and crafted resale programs that provide the right balance of taxpayer and patron support. Yes, they receive a level of appropriations, but the benefits that military families, DoD and the Nation derives from these programs are way out of proportion to their cost. This list is long, from financing on-base community programs, providing subsistence to families trying to make ends meet, providing healthy programs that serve to reduce health care costs, to tens of thousands of jobs for military families to maintenance of a stateside support base for overseas operations, a secure source of products for military families in times of danger and threat and massive impact to exchange operations from commissary cutbacks and closures that will result in major reductions to exchange earnings that are used to sustain vital military community programs.

Congress and the White House review must take great care not to allow radical and irreversible changes to these benefits that they will regret without looking at the facts, assessing a broad range of unintended consequences that will reverberate across the force, the families and the base support programs that sustain the military community.



Defense hearings on budget, military retirement
Read the Full Story
Military Times, Leo Shane III
Lawmakers continue their discussions on the fiscal 2016 budget and long-term military compensation reform with a series of hearings on both the House and Senate sides of Capitol Hill.

How reforming benefits could undermine the Pentagon's future
Read the Full Story
Defense One, Retired Vice Adm. Norb Ryan
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission's recommendations are appealing to reformers. But here's how they could actually end up doing irreversible harm to the all-volunteer force.

What the military compensation commission must do to succeed
Read the Full Story
Defense One, Brandon Archuleta
History shows that policymakers listen to blue ribbon defense commissions when they're done right — like this one was.

New compensation proposals face skepticism in Congress
Read the Full Story
Military Times, Andrew Tilghman
An independent commission's proposal for overhauling military retirement and health care benefits faced scrutiny and initial skepticism on Capitol Hill as lawmakers got underway with committee-level review of the suggested changes.




Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association




WASHINGTON UPDATE


Lawmakers talk big cuts for Pentagon budget
Military Times
Big cuts to the Pentagon budget that once would have been unthinkable were openly discussed recently on Capitol Hill as lawmakers summoned a panel of experts to weigh in on the White House's newly released 2016 defense budget request.
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Ash Carter's team taking shape
Defense News
As Ash Carter nears his widely anticipated confirmation to become the next U.S. defense secretary, the team that he will bring with him to the Pentagon is already taking shape.
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Key Republican: Congress will repeal sequestration cuts
Federal Times
Congress will likely act to repeal the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration during the budgeting process, one of the top Republicans on the Armed Services committee said Feb. 9.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


Senators receptive to changes in military benefits
The Hill
Senators on the Armed Services Committee are open to the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel that called for reforming military pay and compensation, suggesting that the proposals could be adopted in next year's defense budget.
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Active Army drops below 500,000 soldiers
Army Times
Personnel strength of the Regular Army has dropped below 500,000 for the first time in 10 years, with 498,642 soldiers being listed on active duty in the most recent official headcount of the force.
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MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Specific information on upcoming ALA events is posted regularly on the ALA website. To learn more about each event, please click the following links:

Date Event
March 17-18, 2015 2015 ALA Exchange Impact Workshop
April 30 - May 1, 2015 2015 Commissary Roundtable
Oct. 26-28, 2015 68th Annual Convention


COALITION UPDATE


Military compensation commission ideas draw bipartisan praise on Hill
Stars and Stripes
There is rising confidence across the Senate and House armed services committees that 2015 will be the year Congress passes legislation to modernize military compensation. As military folks try to grasp the complex commission plans, Congress this week also received a fresh set of proposals from the Obama administration, part of its fiscal 2016 defense budget request, to continue to dampen growth in basic pay and allowances.
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Obama boosts defense spending, but faces uphill battle
Stars and Stripes
President Barack Obama released his fiscal 2016 budget request, asking for $534.3 billion for the Pentagon's base budget plus an additional $50.9 billion for "overseas contingency operations." For those who don't want to scour federal budget documents, here are eight things you need to know about the president's budget request.
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Pentagon seeks increase spending on weapons, cuts in troops
Military Times
The Pentagon is seeking an overall budget increase next year, but spending on military personnel will remain essentially flat, squeezed by cuts in the size of the force and recent efforts to scale back troops' pay and benefits. The bulk of that reduction stems from a drawdown in the size of the total force, in particular the Army and Marine Corps, which have shed more than 70,000 service members over the past several years and brought the total size of the active-duty force down to about 1.3 million troops. Specifically, this year's budget projects that the total force will shrink by another 11,900 troops.
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More out-of-pocket expenses to hit military families
Association of the United States Army
The fiscal year 2016 defense budget announced Feb. 2, includes modest increases in military basic pay and housing allowances that could leave some military families holding on a little tighter to their wallets. Commissary subsidies would also be reduced by the 2016 budget, which calls for a $100 million reduction. Budget documents say the savings would come from "efficiencies and operating changes that do not require legislative changes." Military families should expect to see some reductions in operating days and hours.
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White House requests modest pay increase for troops and civilians
Defense One
The Obama administration's fiscal 2016 plan would give troops a slight increase in pay over last year's 1 percent bump, while federal workers would receive their highest pay raise in six years. Since 2011, military pay raises have been less than 2 percent annually, and after a three-year pay freeze in 2011-2013, civilian were given a 1 percent pay raise last year. Raises throughout the Obama administration have been historically small.
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COMMISSARY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website between 10 AM, February 5, 2015 and 10 AM, February 12, 2015:

PROMOTIONS:
- DP #10, Shippers/Pallets/One Time Buys, Promotion Package.
- DP #11, Shippers/Pallets/One Time Buys, Promotion Package.
- DP #12, Shippers/Pallets/One Time Buys, Promotion Package.

NOTICES TO TRADE (NTT)
- 15-07, Amendment, Mandatory Test for EDLP for Specific Categories in Overseas Commissaries.
- 15-24, Appreciation of Industry Support at Ft. Lee and Quantico Resets.
- 15-28, Changes to Regular Promotion Package.
- 15-29, May 2015 Case Lot Sale.
- 15-30, Ft Lee Criminal Background Check for Non DOD ID Card Holders.

MISCELLANEOUS:
- Commissary Council February 11, 2015 Meeting Presentation.
- Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 15-06 and 15-07.
- CRV Values, February 8, 2015.




FEDERAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES


Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area (RSHA), and Custodial Operations at the Key West NAS Commissary
FedBizOpps.gov
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-14-R-0012. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08).
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Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, and Custodial Operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Fort Leonard Wood Commissary
FedBizOpps.gov
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0007. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08).
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Lawn/Grounds Maintenance Services
FedBizOpps.gov
Lawn/Grounds Maintenance Services at Harrison Village Commissary in Indiana. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of May 1, 2015, through April 31, 2016, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through April 31, 2020.
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Armored Car Service
FedBizOpps.gov
Armored Car Services, Kingsville NAS Commissary. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of May 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through April 30, 2020.
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Looking for more federal business opportunities? Search here.


COMMISSARY NEWS


Supermarket promotions boost unhealthy food sales more than healthier options
FoodNavigator.com
U.K. supermarket price promotions are more likely to lead to increased sales of less healthy foods than healthier choices, according to a study published recently.
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Nearly 100 more items set to join Commissary Value Brand
DVIDS
With nearly 100 more items set to be added to the Commissary Value Brand program, military patrons will have even more opportunities to save, according to the Defense Commissary Agency's senior enlisted adviser to the director.
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Grocery shopping might be less painful with this smart cart
GIGAOM
Cambridge Consultants, a product development group based in the U.K., is showing off a connected shopping cart that can tell a retailer where you are in a store within three feet. The smart carts are equipped with Bluetooth radios and sensors to track the cart's location so store owners can offer promotions and eliminate checkout lines.
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Organic milk shortage hitting US grocery stores
FOX News
As more Americans are opting to buy organic milk at the supermarket, demand is now outpacing supply leading to a nationwide shortage.
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Study: Supermarket share of local food sales grows
The Packer
Supermarkets are stealing some local food demand from farmers markets, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report indicates. Called "Trends in U.S. local and regional food systems," the 89-page USDA Economic Research Service report said inflation-adjusted sales through farmers markets did not increase between 2007 and 2012, while overall sales of local food increased by nearly 30 percent in roughly the same period.
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Wal-Mart expands online grocery shopping efforts after strong repeat business
TechCrunch
Wal-Mart expanded its online grocery-shopping service, which allows customers to shop online then pick up at their local stores, to a new market: Huntsville, Alabama. The move comes only days after Wal-Mart brought the same service to a handful of stores in the Phoenix area, as well.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


UnitedHealthcare becomes 3rd major insurer to partner with grocery stores
Healthcare Dive
UnitedHealthcare is now the third health insurance company to provide members with a program aimed at empowering them to choose better foods when they go shopping — and hopefully improve their health as a result.
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Commissary Value Brand program
DVIDS
The Commissary Value Brand Program offers military members and their families significant savings on store brand items that is equal to or better than local store brands or private labeled items outside the gate.
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Campbell Organic soups broaden push into fast-growing natural foods
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Campbell Soup Co. started selling the first line of organic soups under its namesake brand, seeking to boost lackluster soup sales and broaden its push into the fast-growing natural foods-segment.
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How supermarkets choose where to open ... and where to close
The Guardian
Tesco's decision on which stores to close says a lot about how supermarkets operate in cities. Why are supermarkets stacked two or three deep in some areas, while other communities in the same city are neglected?
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Supermarket in a box gives staff chance to shop at work
NFC World+
Employees at chip maker STMicroelectronics' Catania office in Italy can now order and pay for fresh food, groceries and personal hygiene products from their mobile phone and then collect their order from a unique "supermarket in a box" based in the office car park.
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Natural Grocers and Instacart partner to offer grocery delivery
CNN Money
Instacart, the fast-growing grocery delivery service whose personal shoppers hand pick and deliver items from trusted local stores, announced that it has partnered with Natural Grocers to provide grocery delivery service to customers in Portland, Oregon, in as little as one hour.
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EXCHANGE NEWS


2015 Exchange Impact Workshop: 'Elevating the Experience'
ALA
March 17- 18
Hilton Arlington Hotel
Arlington, Texas


If you do business with the Exchange, you do not want to be left out of this inaugural meeting. For the first time, more than 45 associates of the Exchange will be presenting their categories and collaborating in townhouse forum workshops to improve go to market strategies. From store repositioning discussions to individual category workshops, you do not want to be left out.

For further information about the workshop, click here. To register and view the preliminary agenda, go to www.ala-national.org. Space is limited, so register today! The choice to be involved is yours.

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INDUSTRY NEWS


Staples buys Office Depot for $6 billion to keep pace with change
The Associated Press via ABC News
Evolving shopping habits have forced yet another retailer to think outside of the box. Staples, the nation's largest "big box" office supply chain, announced that it's spending about $6 billion to buy its second-ranked rival, Office Depot.
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Amazon opens its 1st-ever staffed pickup and drop-off center
Chain Store Age (subscriber article)
Amazon confirmed reports that it is piloting co-branded pickup sites with universities with the announcement that it has opened its first-ever staffed pickup and drop-off on-campus location, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and plans to open similar sites at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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For healthy sales, sell wellness, retailers told
NorthJersey.com
Wellness sells. Americans are on a quest to feel good and get healthier, and almost every kind of retailer can jump on the wellness wagon, according to WSL Strategic Retail, which has been studying the trend over the past decade.
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J.C. Penney partners with InStyle on new in-store salon concept
Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is partnering with InStyle magazine to reinvent its 850 in-store salons nationwide in a move that could help the retailer pump up its volume and increase traction with younger shoppers. The new concept, called The Salon by InStyle, will make its debut in July, at 15 locations across Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


Restaurateurs moonlighting in stores
STORES Magazine via NRF
Retailers and fashion brands worldwide are convinced that having food in their stores can go a long way toward keeping customers in the store — and spending. Designers, like Ralph Lauren and Armani, have opened restaurants and cafes within their locations; Macy's is on trend as well, and the aesthetic of these eateries blends seamlessly with their designer origins.
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Survey: Majority of retailers plan to boost customer experience spend in 2015
Chain Store Age
More than 80 percent of retailers plan to increase their customer experience spending in 2015, according to a new survey from SDL, a provider of global customer experience, and Econsultancy.
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RadioShack files Chapter 11 but brand to live on in deal with Standard General and Sprint
The Associated Press via ABC News
Struggling consumer electronics chain RadioShack, founded nearly a century ago, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It plans to sell 1,500 to 2,400 stores to its largest shareholder, investment firm Standard General, and has filed a motion to proceed with closing the remainder of its 4,000 U.S. stores.
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Report: Amazon, Sprint eye RadioShack stores
Chain Store Age
As the New York Stock Exchange delists trading of its shares, beleaguered consumer electronics retailer RadioShack Corp. reportedly has at least two suitors interested in buying some of its stores. According to Bloomberg, both Amazon.com Inc. and Sprint Corp. are in discussions with RadioShack about possibly acquiring some stores, with RadioShack shuttering whatever stores were left.
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C-STORE NEWS


How are lower gas prices affecting C-store sales?
CSP
New data shows consumers are taking the recent lower gasoline prices as an opportunity to treat themselves, according to a survey of convenience-store retailers conducted by Wells Fargo Securities.
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Don't neglect the 3 W's driving category management
CSP
Convenience stores average 160 million transactions a day (that's more than half the U.S. population), and 60 percent of nonalcoholic purchases are consumed within 10 minutes and 80 percent are consumed within an hour.
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Strengths, struggles and strategies of C-store tobacco
CSP
Regulation, a crowded backbar, prepricing and vaping — all these topics and a dozen more were covered during a rapid-fire panel discussion on tobacco in convenience stores at CSP's Convenience Retailing University in Dallas.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


Millennials are excited about C-stores
CSP
Forever 21 may be a fashion-retail brand to most, but for convenience store retailers, it's an important demographic trend to stay ahead of, according to research conducted by Technomic Inc. in partnership with CSP magazine.
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Massive' overhaul set for Wawa
CSP
Embarking on an initiative unprecedented in the company's more than 50-year history as a convenience store retailer, Wawa Inc. has launched the Wawa Remodel Program, a massive effort to remodel older, legacy stores to reflect Wawa's latest design, technology and food service offering.
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Obama proposes doubling tobacco tax
CSP
In a move that will not be welcomed by tobacco retailers, President Barack Obama in his $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 has proposed to nearly double taxes on cigarettes and small cigars to $1.95 per pack from $1.01 per pack, and to index the tax for inflation, according to a Politico report.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Off-base stores won't commit to military discounts (Military Times)
Troops give early OK to proposed health care changes (Military Times)
Lawmakers skeptical of call to abolish Tricare (The Hill)
J.C. Penney resurrects a print catalog (Forbes)
Budget 2016: Defense faces stiff political headwinds (National Defense)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


MWR NEWS


Hawaii: New restaurant set for golf course
Ho'okele
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation has released more details about the new restaurant coming to the Navy-Marine Golf Course. The Seven Palms Bar & Grille closed last weekend, along with the 19th Puka snack bar.
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Hawaii: MWR events celebrate Valentine's Day
Ho'okele
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation will hold activities in honor of Valentine's Day.
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More out-of-pocket expenses to hit military families
noodls.com
The fiscal year 2016 defense budget announced Feb. 2 includes modest increases in military basic pay and housing allowances that could leave some military families holding on a little tighter to their wallets.
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Some funding restored to family programs
Military Times
Defense officials have beefed up their budget request for family programs and services next year by about $400 million, in some cases restoring funding to levels at or close to where they were two years ago.
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