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Home   About   Membership   Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only April 8, 2011
 
Executive Briefing
 
 

President's
Message


Going down to the wire:

At the time we have to post this we still do not have a resolution to the spending issue. There is a one-week extension in the works that will fund DoD for the rest of the year and take troop pay and benefits out of the equation. It looks like DeCA has been given guidance to shut down the stores including overseas if there is a government shutdown. We are working this issue frantically to keep these operations open in the event a resolution cannot be reached.

DoD to issue government shutdown guidance soon
Read the Full Story
Defense News, Kate Brannen
Pentagon leaders are working quickly to develop guidance for the U.S. Defense Department and the military services to help them determine which operations and personnel are essential in the event of a government shutdown if a spending bill is not passed by the April 8 deadline.


For DoD budgets, do or die time
Read the Full Story
Defense News, Kate Brannen
For good or ill, the Pentagon is about to receive some desperately needed budget clarity. By the end of April 8, DoD officials will know whether the military will get a 2011 base budget just north of $530 billion, whether there will be a seventh short-term continuing resolution, or whether the U.S. government will largely shut down.


Details, deadlines test budget negotiators
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post, Paul Kane and Jon Cohen
As federal officials began formal preparations for a government shutdown, House and Senate leaders struggled recently to reach agreement over tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts that would avert the federal work stoppage.


What a government shutdown would mean
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe and Paul Kane
The White House and lawmakers have until April 8 to strike a new budget deal or risk plunging the federal government into a partial shutdown of services.


McKeon: Troops shouldn't worry about pay
Read the Full Story
Army Times, Rick Maze
The House Armed Services Committee chairman recently sought to reassure service members who are worried about not being paid if the government shuts down because he believes a fiscal crisis will be averted.


US Senate passes tax-reporting repeal
Read the Full Story
The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes
The U.S. Senate recently voted to repeal a tax-reporting requirement contained in last year's health care law that was widely criticized for being too burdensome, the first significant change to the law and one of the few bipartisan acts of Congress so far this year.


Legislation introduced to repeal 3 percent withholding provision
Read the Full Story
GovPro, Michael Keating
Bills have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to repeal the 3 percent withholding provision. The provision mandates that federal, state and local governments with expenditures of more than $100 million withhold for tax purposes 3 percent of payments for products and services valued at more than $10,000.




2011 ALA Congressional Caucus registration is now open:

Plan early for the 2011 Congressional and Government Affairs Caucus! This year's event will take many pressing issues head-on including:

  • The increasing budget deficit and impact on Federal and Defense, veterans and Homeland Security spending levels.

  • Discussions of administration and Congressional priorities including increased emphasis on and measures being taken to control deficit spending.

  • Impact of Health Care reform, financial reform and other major Congressional and Executive Branch initiatives on military resale.

  • Presentations by key Congressional members and staff.

  • Presentations by top military and civilian leaders of the Administration and the Pentagon.

  • Topic specific-presentations and discussions on vital issues including the 3 percent hold back, erroneous payments executive action and legislation, credit card reform and interchange fees, patronage expansion, base access, contracting out, base closure and deployment impact on resale and MWR programs.
The forum allows an opportunity to express our views to key congressional and executive branch leaders.

The military continues to have a major role in disaster relief:

US draws down ground troops in Japan aid
Read the Full Story
The Wall Street Journal, Chester Dawson
U.S. and Japanese officials recently met aboard a Pacific Fleet aircraft carrier to mark the drawdown of humanitarian efforts by American military forces, even as the U.S. ramps up its presence to help Japan deal with a damaged nuclear plant.



Patrick B. Nixon
President, ALA


Washington Update


Obama weighs shuffle of top national security posts
Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As President Barack Obama weighs who should take over key defense posts, recently media speculated that his war commander in Afghanistan might lead the CIA while the current spy chief would move to the Pentagon. The scenario, possibly a trial balloon floated by some military officials, highlights the tough choices Obama faces with a number of crucial national security jobs — including defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — coming open in the next several months. More

Pentagon expects smaller budget in 2012
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Defense officials expect "increasing pressure" in coming months to trim the Pentagon's $553 billion 2012 spending request, driven in part by an expected cut to its 2011 budget. Hours after the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a $515 billion 2011 defense spending measure, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley recently acknowledged that "a smaller baseline for 2011" will affect how much lawmakers give the Pentagon in 2012. More

Defense contractors make hiring veterans a priority
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Operation IMPACT, as the Northrop program is called, has hired about 85 veterans since its inception in 2004, most of them within the last three years. It's among multiple veteran-focused hiring initiatives run by area defense contractors who say they want to support former service members and access the skills and values taught in the military. More

Costs of Libya operation already piling up
National Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
With U.N. coalition forces bombarding Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from the sea and air, the United States' part in the operation could ultimately hit several billion dollars — and require the Pentagon to request emergency funding from Congress to pay for it. More

Eric Cantor wants YOU to cut the defense budget
The Cable    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With the United States embroiled in three wars and global instability on the rise, the House GOP is entrenched in an internal battle over whether to push for cuts to the defense budget next year. The battle pits the head of the Armed Services Committee against tea party freshmen, with the House GOP leadership caught squarely in the middle. More

China lays out vision for military
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
The Chinese military recently said that while the security situation in Asia and the Pacific was generally stable, it was becoming "more intricate and volatile," with no clear solutions for tension points like the divided Korean Peninsula and with the United States increasing its involvement in regional issues. More

Commissary News


Commissaries in Japan adjust hours, increase supplies in earthquake aftermath
U.S. Air Force    Share    Share on
FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Commissaries in Japan are partnering with U.S. installations there to provide whatever support possible in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and other subsequent events affecting service members and their families. The Defense Commissary Agency has 15 stores in Japan — 11 on the Japanese mainland and four on Okinawa. Within hours of the natural disaster, all of the stores opened and began working with their local military commander to adjust operating hours as needed and meet the needs of the military community. More

A&P shows appreciation for seniors
Drug Store News    Share    Share on
FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Grocer A&P is launching a discount program that offers seniors savings on groceries purchased at A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum's, Food Emporium and Superfresh banner stores. Through the program, every Monday, customers older than 55 years will be able to save 5 percent on their grocery purchases of more than $30, excluding pharmacy items, milk, tobacco products, beer, wine and spirits. More

Whole Foods, the greenest grocery store in the world
GreenBiz    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Whole Foods store in Dedham, Mass., just may be the greenest grocery store in the world. This showcase facility demonstrates leading energy and sustainability practices to Whole Food customers, employees and investors, as well as the local community. More

A&P stores roll out enhanced kosher selection
PG Meat Retailing    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the first phase of an initiative to boost kosher product variety and quality across its metro New York-area stores, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. debuted a greatly expanded selection of Passover holiday staples. Through April 28, Passover shoppers at select A&P, Pathmark, Waldbaum's and Food Emporium stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will find new and improved Kosher grocery selections for all their holiday shopping needs. More

Whole grain stamp appears on 5,000 products in 22 countries
Gourmet Retailer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The black-and-gold Whole Grain Stamp now appears on 5,000 products on grocery shelves around the world. The number of products sporting the stamp, administered by the nonprofit Whole Grains Council and Oldways, has jumped 25 percent in nine months from 4,000 products in July 2010. More

US, Mexico food safety priority grows
The Packer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mexican produce shippers and their U.S.-based importers are eager to show consumers that Mexican growers have the same food safety standards as those north of the Rio Grande. At a March 31 workshop on food safety at the America Trades Produce conference, Oscar Morales Galvan, a representative from SENASICA, the Mexican government's food safety division, said more Mexican growers are working with third-party food safety auditors than ever before. More

Associated Wholesale Grocers adding nutrition keys on store-brand products
PG Store Brands    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Associated Wholesale Grocers, a Kansas City, Kan.-based retailer-owned cooperative and distributor of the Best Choice and Always Save private-label food products, said it is embracing the voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Nutritional information soon will be added to the front of the Best Choice and Always Save packaging, where it can be easily spotted, the company said. More

Commissary Announcements

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA website since 10 a.m. March 31 and as of 10 a.m. April 7:

PROMOTIONS
  • DP #9, Update #1.
  • DP #11, Far East promotion and shipper quantities.
  • DP #12, Worldwide promotion package, Fun with Lil' Heroes sale.
  • Summer club pack promotion package.

NOTICES TO TRADE

  • 11-50, Marketing contest information.
  • 11-56, Store set dates — Ft. Bliss.
  • 11-58, Addendum to DeCA notice to the trade 11-52,
    DeCA brand-name fresh turkey parts merchandising program.
  • 11-60, Skin care category review.


MISCELLANEOUS
  • Adds/changes/deletes for week 11-14.
  • Guard and reserve on-site sale schedule updates.
  • Corrected copies of the DeCA Feb. 2011 sales numbers.

UPCOMING COMMISSARY RELATED MEETINGS:

ALA/DeCA Eastern Region Store Directors Conference, April 12-13, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville-Riverfront, Jacksonville, Fla. Registration is available on our website. There is an opportunity for industry to present store recognition awards during the joint session on the 13th. If you want to present something to a store or zone please contact me to arrange.

POSTPONED — DeCA Western Region Korea POD meeting: The POD is postponed due to the Japan situation and will be rescheduled by the West Region director at a later date.

2011 ALA/DeCA Appreciation Day golf tournament, May 10, Ft. Lee, Va. Registration is available on our website.

ALA/DeCA Training Event & Conference, May 23-25, Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Norfolk, Va. Watch for registration information.

2011 Congressional Caucus, June 14, House Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C. Watch for registration information.

2011 CONUS Western Region CONUS Store Directors Conference, July 12-14 (tentative agenda), Point Hilton's Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix. Watch for registration information.

2011 ALA/DeCA Hawaii Conference & Food Show, Aug. 15-18, Hawaii Prince Hotel, Honolulu. Watch for registration information.

64th Annual Convention, Oct. 4-6, Orlando World Marriott Center, Orlando, Fla. Watch for registration information.


Exchange News


Exchange to continue operations despite potential government shutdown
Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is planning to continue operations even if the U.S. Government shuts down.

On April 9, the current budget authorization will expire. At that point, the federal government potentially will institute a mandatory shutdown for "non-essential" personnel.

While this action affects the government, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is largely unaffected. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund instrumentality. This means the majority of its budget does not rely on tax dollars.

"While the federal government shuts down, business at the Exchange remains largely unchanged. However, some transactions may be delayed, such as the purchase of firearms which require background checks or other federal government actions," said Col. Virgil Williams, chief of staff for the Exchange.

As a matter of course, the Department of Defense plans for contingencies. In fact, since 1980, all agencies have had to have a plan in case of a government shutdown, and these plans are updated routinely.

"The Exchange will do everything we have to do to continue to support the deployed troops," Williams said



Pentagon names homes for new aviation brigades
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Washington, Alaska will split the 16th Combat Unit; Colorado gets new brigade

The Department of Defense recently announced the stationing of two Army Combat Aviation Brigades. The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade will be split-based and established at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Fort Wainwright, Alaska, using existing aviation units not currently assigned to a combat aviation brigade. A new combat aviation brigade will be activated at Fort Carson, Colo.

The 16th's stationing action realigns existing assets, resulting in an increase of approximately 1,400 new soldiers and 44 helicopters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. This action for the split-based CAB at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will begin in fiscal year 2012 and is expected to be completed by fiscal year 2014.

The Army recognizes Alaska as a strategic location and will continue to maintain a significant aviation presence there. This stationing increases the invaluable medical evacuation strength in Alaska by three additional aircraft in fiscal year 2013. It also validates the Army's commitment and support to the aviation infrastructure through military construction programmed for replacement and upgrade of the aviation facilities.

The new brigade activation at Fort Carson will result in a total growth in Army forces and equipment by approximately 2,700 soldiers and 113 helicopters. Fort Carson establishes the new brigade beginning fiscal year 2013 and is expected to be completed by fiscal year 2014.

The activation of these brigades will increase the capabilities of the active component of the U.S. Army and increase dwell time for aviation units between deployments in support of overseas contingency operations. These combined force structure actions represent integrated changes that support the Army's transformation requirements.



Amazon.com tops customer service rankings
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amazon.com, Kohl's Department Stores and Costco Wholesale are kings of customer service. Whether via Twitter, Facebook, their corporate websites, phone support or in person, they ranked 1-2-3 in customer interaction, according to a new research report published by market researcher Temkin Group. More

Home Depot's weather-based ads
Today's Garden Center    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ever wonder how Home Depot is all over the television right at the perfect time? Much of the advertising is based on the weather in specific regions. Even the "Spring Black Friday" rollouts are timed in different regions based on anticipated weather. More

HSN makes its beauty mark in the world of boundary-less shopping
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Home Shopping Network changed its name to HSN several years ago, it was going for a catchier, more modern moniker. But the name change also portended changes in the way consumers interact with, shop and purchase from this and other companies. More

Wal-Mart weighs major appliances in Texas
Chicago Sun-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Wal-Mart Stores in Texas are considering selling stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and other large appliances in an experiment that could presage the retailer's entry into the white-goods market, observers say. Retail analyst Budd Bugatch told The Wall Street Journal that 75 or more products are expected to be set up for display in certain stores. More

Editorial: In 'swipe fees' fight, retailers make better case
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Every time you use a debit or credit card, you shell out an invisible sales tax in the range of 1 to 3 percent. That's how much retailers have to pay the banks that issue the plastic. More

Target scans mobile coupons
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For food retailers, coupons on mobile phones present two problems: The cashier needs an image scanner to scan the 2-D coupon bar code — most grocers use laser scanners not suited for this purpose — and multiple coupons take too long to scan individually. Last year, Target overcame both of those issues by employing image scanners at the checkouts in its 1,800 stores and by adopting a mobile coupon system. More

Post-recession consumers find ways to stretch dollars
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. consumers emerged from the recession practiced at stretching their dollars, and now faced with rising food costs, they are turning to the cost-saving tactics they've mastered over the past few years. That's according to data from the NPD Group's Economy Tracker, which monitors consumer sentiment about the economy and spending. More

Walmart expects major inflation
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Walmart's U.S. operations warned. The world's largest retailer is working with suppliers to minimize the effect of cost increases and believes its low-cost business model will position it better than its competitors. Still, inflation is "going to be serious," Walmart CEO Bill Simon said. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate." More

CSNews exclusive: Chevron aims to grow retail operations in the west
Convenience Store News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The winds of change blew through Chevron last year as the San Ramon, Calif.-based oil giant reorganized to the tune of nearly a 12 percent job cut in its downstream oil refinery business (equivalent to more than a 3 percent overall company work force job cut), numerous executive job changes and the withdrawal of its motor fuels operations in some areas of the Eastern United States. But how did this affect its retail business? More

Poised for growth
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As most paper-based communications — letters, bills, newspapers, magazines, books — continue their steady transition to digital form, can coupons be far behind? Currently, paper is still king of the coupon kingdom, with digital a bit player. More

Exchange Announcements


Stay tuned for ALA Exchange members Vendor Day Event
ALA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The 2011 Dallas Exchange Roundtable vendor 'one on one session' experienced was a new focus this year, and was so successful that AAFES and NEXCOM want to do it again in Virginia Beach and Dallas depending on participation. Early thoughts: the event will be limited to 75 ALA members or less at each event. We will plan a buying overview and discussion session, followed with one on one time with your favorite buyer.

Washington Update


US Army MWR history
Wikipedia    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although the United States Army was founded in 1775, morale, welfare and recreation programs did not exist for the Army until the start of the 20th century. Before that time, troop support came informally in the form of tradesmen and trading posts. The goods they were able to provide included meals, clothing and laundering. More

MWR philosophy
Wikipedia    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Soldiers are entitled to the same quality of life as is afforded the society they are pledged to defend. Keeping an Army ready to fight and win takes more than hard work and training. Soldiers need a balance of work and play. The FMWRC mission is to create and maintain "First Choice" MWR products and services for America's Army, essential to a ready, self-reliant force. More

DOD supports families departing Japan
Family Matters Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently, Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, wrote a blog post about the comprehensive support effort under way in response to the recent devastating events in Japan. Supporting an effort of this magnitude takes many hands across personnel and readiness. More
 
 

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