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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Budget deliberations continue to take center stage:

Senate GOP budget sticks to spending caps
Read the Full Story
Defense News, John T. Bennett
Senate Republicans unveiled a 2016 budget blueprint that contains a defense plan in stark contrast with a proposal crafted by their House counterparts.

McCain endorses House plan to boost defense spending
Read the Full Story
The Hill, Alexander Bolton
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an influential voice on national security matters, on Wednesday endorsed a House Republican plan to increase defense spending by tapping into an emergency war fund.

Carter supports veto of any budget with sequestration
Read the Full Story
Military Times, Leo Shane III
Defense Secretary Ash Carter offered support for a presidential veto of any congressional budget plans that leave sequestration caps in place — even if the Defense Department gets everything it's asking for.



Senators lukewarm on House GOP budget
Read the Full Story
Defense News, John T. Bennett
Senators are giving a lukewarm assessment to a House Republican plan to inflate the Pentagon's annual budget by swelling the war-funding account.

DoD's sequestration warnings fall flat in Congress
Read the Full Story
Military Times, Leo Shane III
Pentagon planners have built a strong coalition among defense lawmakers against keeping sequestration spending caps on the military next year. But their firepower doesn't seem to stretch far past a small handful of Capitol Hill hearing rooms.

Pentagon in wait-and-see mode as committees draft budget blueprint
Read the Full Story
National Defense, Sandra I. Erwin
Has the Pentagon done enough to convince Congress to bust the spending limits it set in law? Apparently not, as the Senate and House Budget Committees are expected to pass spending plans that keep those caps in place. But the Pentagon will continue to press its case, said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology.



Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association




WASHINGTON UPDATE


Base facilities deteriorating under budget squeeze
Military Times
Facilities on military installations are deteriorating at an ever-increasing rate, a visible result of ongoing budget constraints, service installation officials told lawmakers.
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Senate budget markup likely
Defense News
Senate Budget Committee leaders soon hope to take up their much-anticipated 2016 federal spending resolution, and have it on the floor by late March.
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Senator to DoD: Explore alternatives before launching BRAC
Military Times
The Pentagon should consider other ways of shedding unnecessary infrastructure without resorting to the formal Base Realignment and Closure process, one senator told defense officials.
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VA, Congress trade barbs over trust, transparency
Military Times
A year after the Veterans Affairs Department was rocked by findings of hidden patient wait lists and manipulated records, House Republicans are accusing the department's new leadership of doing little to fix the transparency problems.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


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
April 30 - May 1, 2015 2015 Commissary Roundtable
Oct. 26-28, 2015 68th Annual Convention


COALITION UPDATE


Proposal retains spending caps despite warnings from military leaders
Military Times
Military service secretaries and chiefs railed against the dangers of sequestration in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, even as the House Budget Committee proposed a $617 billion defense plan that keeps the caps in place. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., called the budget plan a "responsible" approach to ensuring national security, but defense leaders called sequestration "an enemy at home" as dangerous as any overseas threat facing the services.
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Army leader: Sequestration impacting communities but BRAC could benefit them
Army.mil
The active end-strength reductions are the result of sequestration, putting the Army on a glide path of 570,000 active-duty soldiers in 2010 to 450,000 by 2018. Those troop reductions "will affect every installation in the Army" as well as the nearby communities, Lt. Gen. David D. Halverson, commander of the Army's Installation Management Command, told lawmakers March 17. Halverson described how troop reductions correlate to an increase in excess capacity, making the case for a future round of base realignment and closure (BRAC). "Without a reduction in the number of installations, the Army will be forced to sacrifice quality-of-life programs at the expense of maintaining excess capacity," he said. The cumulative effect will also harm adjoining communities.
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US to keep more troops in Afghanistan into 2016
The Associated Press via Daily News
The Obama administration is abandoning plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year's end, bowing to military leaders who want to keep more troops there, including many into the 2016 fighting season, U.S. officials say. While no final decision on numbers has been made, the officials said the administration is poised to slow withdrawal plans and probably will allow many of the 9,800 American troops to remain well into next year.
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Army official: Millions wasted on maintaining empty buildings
Reuters
Army leaders told lawmakers at a recent hearing that millions are being spent on maintenance of empty or unused buildings, even as budget woes mean thousands of troops might have to be cut. "Right now we're paying about $500 million a year, roughly, just to maintain empty infrastructure, unused infrastructure," Army Secretary John McHugh told a Senate Appropriations Committee panel.
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Officials: All military jobs will soon be open to women
Military Times
All four service branches are making progress toward opening all military jobs to women by 2016, according to officials testifying before the House Armed Services Committee. Each branch is looking at the last male-only jobs to see what accommodations can be made to open them to women, and they have until the end of September to create standards that are gender-neutral.
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COMMISSARY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website between 10 AM, March 12, 2015 and 10 AM, March 19, 2015:

PROMOTIONS:
- DP #9, Alaska Promotion & Shipper Quantities.

NOTICES TO TRADE (NTT)
- 15-35, Category Review Notification – Vitamins & Supplements.

MISCELLANEOUS:
- Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 15-11.
- Coupon Data – FY06 through FY15 (Feb 15).
- CRV Values, March 15, 2015.
- Guard/Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule as of March 16, 2015.




FEDERAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES


Redstone Arsenal Commissary, Alabama
FedBizOpps.gov
Provide all supervision, personnel, equipment and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, and custodial operations. Solicitation Number: HDEC0815R0004. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08).
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Defense Commissary Agency logo Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, and Custodial Services
FedBizOpps.gov
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, and custodial operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Edwards AFB Commissary, located at Edwards AFB, California, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement (PWS).
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Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Ares (RSHA) and Custodial
FedBizOpps.gov
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area (RSHA), and custodial operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Memphis NSA Commissary, located at Memphis Tennessee, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement (PWS).
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Looking for more federal business opportunities? Search here.


COMMISSARY NEWS


Union warns against 'Wal-Martizing' commissary employees
Military.com
A government employee union says moving forward with a suggested plan to shift commissary employees from their current government worker category to non-appropriated funds workers "raises profound concerns for civilian employees."

The original AFGE letter has been posted on the ALA website under The Newsroom. Click here to view the letter. Click "Read More" to view the rest of the Military.com article.

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Discover your benefit at commissaries.com
DVIDS
Most of us can appreciate saving a little cash on groceries. Whether single or a family of eight, every dollar helps. Gary Frankovich, chief of strategic communications at the Defense Commissary Agency, says some service members may be leaving money on the table and not saving the most they possibly can from their benefit simply by not using features of the commissary's website, www.commissaries.com.
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Grocers, mass command 80 percent of coupon redemptions
Supermarket Guru
Millions of U.S. households continue to be squeezed by the slow recovery of the U.S. economy. Meat price hikes also intensify pressure on budgets. This tandem led consumers to redeem 2.9 percent more packaged goods coupons in 2014 than in 2013.
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Consumers increasingly demand knowledge of their food
The Wall Street Journal
Bumble Bee plans to launch a website in June showing supply chain data about individual cans of tuna. The move comes in response to increasing consumer interest about the provenance of products, especially food, said Bumble Bee CIO Tony Costa. "We've heard it loud and clear."
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Shrinking household sizes are changing how Americans eat, buy food
Food Navigator-USA
A whopping 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to eat at home, but the size and make-up of those households are changing and so are consumers' needs from food and beverage companies, according to research firm Acosta Sales & Marketing.
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Seafood Expo 2015: Retailers need to rethink the seafood case to spur sales
Supermarket News
Supermarket seafood departments need to make some big changes in order to increase sales beyond the current average of 1.8 percent of store sales, according to a panel of former retailers from Ahold, Kroger and Kings Food Markets.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


Take a fresh look at frozen foods
WZZM-TV
Want to make healthier meals in minutes? Just reach for the many options in the frozen aisles, where there are hundreds of food options to help you create easy, affordable meals for your family.
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Agriculturalists weigh in on mandatory GMO labeling
Western Farm Press
Two speakers at major farm industry events held in the West recently shared their thoughts on the proposed mandatory labeling of food products grown with genetically-modified traits.
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Pesticides in produce: When to buy organic
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports' new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health — and for the environment.
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Study: Boomers still have lots to spend
Supermarket News
Aging Baby Boomers still represent a major marketing opportunity but one that is generally being underserved, according to a study by Fung Business Intelligence Centre, New York.
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INDUSTRY NEWS


Death in the suburbs: Reinventing the American mall
Marketplace
Rumors of the mall's death have been slightly exaggerated. Anchor stores are leaving — stores such as Sears and J.C. Penney — but high-end malls are reporting record sales. And many suburban malls are witnessing a rebirth.
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Oklahoma: Trader Joe's confirms plans to build store in Tulsa's Brookside
Tulsa World
Tulsa, Oklahoma's, worst-kept secret is a secret no more: Trader Joe's recently confirmed that it will open a store in Tulsa's Brookside area.
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Wait! Before you build that app, consider this ...
CNBC
Today's shoppers are more mobile than ever. So what better way to reach them than by targeting the very technology they can't seem to put down? On the heels of robust smartphone sales that grew last year by 50 percent as a percentage of online sales, a recent study by Forrester Research and the National Retail Federation found that mobile remains the top priority for retailers, with 58 percent putting it at the top of their lists.
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Study: Harsh winter freezes retail sales
Chain Store Age
This winter has not only frozen roads and roofs, but also had a chilling effect on retail sales. According to the monthly Retail Performance Pulse from RetailNext, there was a 10.4 percent year-over-year decrease in sales on a 12.5 percent decline in traffic at brick-and-mortar stores for the retail month of February.
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Will drones fly in retail?
NRF
Once reserved for sci-fi movies and high-tech war efforts, drones are quickly becoming part of the broader landscape. Amazon made headlines with its plans to make deliveries via drone, but there's an entire world of opportunity beyond that.
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Miss an issue of Executive Briefing? Click here to visit Executive Briefing archive page.


Reviving dead shopping malls and disconnected suburbs
The Times-Picayune
Old assumptions about life in the suburbs are mostly wrong these days. Big families don't live there anymore. Two-thirds of suburban households are children-free. The aging baby boomers there feel disconnected. The privacy once offered by a cozy cul-de-sac to raise a family isn't so alluring anymore. The flight of the wealthy from overcrowded cities has been reversed. For 10 years now, more Americans in poverty live in the suburbs than in cities.
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American Apparel workers create coalition
Chain Store Age
Factory workers of American Apparel established a coalition of workers to advocate for their rights before new corporate management. Hundreds of workers met on Feb. 28 to organize themselves into the "Coalition of American Apparel Factory Workers United to Save American Apparel."
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Retailers add 24,000 jobs in February; 218,000 in past year
NRF
Despite unusual winter weather throughout the country, retail industry employment in February increased by 24,000 jobs and has increased 218,000 on a year-over-year basis as retailers and merchants again added strength in numbers to the overall economy, the National Retail Federation said.
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Appeals court revives Macy's Martha Stewart claims against J.C. Penney
Chain Store Age
A state appeals court in New York has revived two claims Macy's Inc. made against J.C. Penney Co. Inc. in a long-running dispute between the two department store chains about who has the right to sell Martha Stewart Living home products.
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C-STORE NEWS


What 'New Year's effect'?
CSP
Though many analysts predicted convenience store cigarette sales would taper off this winter due to the "New Year's effect" of resolutions to quit, C-store cigarette sales continued to grow in February. According to Nielsen, C-store dollar sales increased by 5.9 percent in the four weeks ending Feb. 14; unit sales grew by 2.9 percent.
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Giant Eagle exits discount grocery; closing Good Cents Grocery + More
Chain Store Age
These are tough times for discount grocery stores — unless the company happens to be the fast-growing Aldi. Pittsburgh-based supermarket operator Giant Eagle plans to close all eight of its Good Cents Grocery + More stores. The closures are set for March 26.
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Kellogg fills leadership roles in US specialty channels
CSP
Kellogg Co. has announced the promotions of four leaders within the U.S. Specialty Channels business.
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Sheetz at U Place focuses on food, beverages, groceries
CSP
Sheetz Inc. opened its new concept restaurant/grocery store, known as Sheetz at U Place, to the students and residents of Morgantown, West Virginia, on March 3. The new store concept is located on the ground floor of University Place, a new mixed-use residential and retail complex a few blocks from West Virginia University's downtown campus.
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Target to cut thousands of jobs in $2 billion restructuring
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. recently laid off 1,700 mostly headquarters employees and is eliminating 1,400 open positions. According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Target notified employees of the workforce reduction in an email.
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Red Bull gets its wings back
CSP
Red Bull got its wings back over the holidays, outpacing Monster in terms of dollar sales in convenience stores for the first time since August 2014, according to Wells Fargo Securities research.
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SpartanNash promotes 2
CSP
Dennis Eidson, president and CEO of SpartanNash Co., has announced that the company has promoted two executive vice presidents to key positions. It has appointed Dave Staples, current executive vice president and CFO, as chief operating officer, and Derek Jones, executive vice president of food distribution, has been promoted to president of wholesale and distribution operations.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Give us sequester? Bases will get cut (Breaking Defense)
Stop reductions to the commissary budget (Fleet Reserve Association)
Delis close at 22 commissaries (The Leavenworth Times)
McCain: 'A lot' of members in sequester talks (Defense News)
The Washington Report: As we see it (Air Force Sergeants Association)

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


MWR NEWS


AAFES boss: We're out to improve customer satisfaction
Army Times
Before learning their recent low rating in a national customer satisfaction survey, Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials had already launched an effort to improve customer satisfaction, AAFES' director said.
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Force 2025 focuses on upcoming 'Generation Z'
Army.mil
Total Force Army 2025 must plan for the new challenges of the future technologically savvy Generation Z recruits, said Anthony J. Stamilio, Army deputy assistant secretary for manpower and Reserve affairs (civilian personnel/quality of life).
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