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DoD remains firm on its proposed cuts in the 2015 NDAA but there was some wavering during a recent hearing by the JCS:
Pentagon 'firmly behind' Obama cuts despite rejection by House
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The Hill, Kristina Wong
The Pentagon recently said it stands "firmly" behind President Barack Obama's 2015 defense budget request, much of which was rejected by the House Armed Services Committee. The House panel completed a marathon session that turned aside most of the president's proposals, including the retirement of an aircraft carrier and the A-10 aircraft, the closing of excess bases, and cuts to troop pay raises and benefits.
Hagel renews push for pay cuts, base closings
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Military.com, Richard Sisk
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has pledged to lobby to restore the pay cuts, Tricare fee increases and base closures that were scuttled by the House Armed Services Committee, according to Hagel's chief spokesman. Hagel was "certainly not pleased" by the HASC markup earlier this past week that scuttled much of his overall budget plan, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.
Joint chiefs divided over cuts to commissary savings
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Stars and Stripes, Tom Philpott
All seven members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently testified on the need to slow growth in military compensation and apply dollars saved to underfunded readiness accounts for training, equipment and spare parts. But their united front for easing current budget burdens cracked over the notion of slashing savings for commissary shoppers.
The Service Chiefs were clearly concerned that DeCA has not been aggressive enough in belt tightening. They say they are moving out...
Air Force: More than 20 percent HQ staff cuts in one year
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Federal Times, Steve Watkins
The Air Force intends to cut more than 20 percent of its headquarters staffs within a year as part of an overall downsizing effort, according to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. James said the move responds to a directive issued last summer by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that all military services trim their headquarters staffs by 20 percent over five years by 2019.
The HASC passed its version of the NDAA and now it is on to the Senate:
HASC OKs $600 billion in 2015 DoD spending, nixes A-10 retirement plans
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Defense News, John T. Bennett
The House Armed Services Committee recently and unanimously approved a measure that would authorize just over $600 billion in 2015 U.S. defense spending and block plans to retire the A-10 attack plane.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
Budget ax hovering over the military
House lawmakers have rejected most of the Pentagon's proposed cost-saving measures for next year, raising serious questions about how the military will stay under budget limits once sequestration returns in 2016.
DoD to launch massive MWR survey
Marine Corps Times
Watch your inbox: You may be one of the nearly 1 million troops who will get a chance to voice your opinions about military morale, welfare and recreation programs in a survey that launched the week of May 12. Randomly selected troops worldwide will receive an email invitation with directions to participate in the Defense Department survey about MWR, according to information posted on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System website.
8,600 airmen apply for voluntary separation pay
Air Force Times
More than 8,600 airmen applied for voluntary separation pay by the time the window closed May 1, the Air Force said Tuesday. Of those applications, about 5,600 applicants were eligible for VSP, the Air Force said in its weekly release on its force management programs. In all, more than 1,600 officers and more than 7,000 enlisted airmen applied for VSP, up from more than 1,500 officers and 6,900 enlisted the previous week.
Military Media Inc.
While most newspapers and print media are losing readership and advertising revenue to digital media, niche market newspapers are continuing to thrive.
Niche market newspapers like those published for local communities such as military bases are thriving because they provide advertisers a way to zero-in on their specific target markets. These newspapers are free and delivered to homes on military bases and placed in high traffic areas around the community. They enjoy a very high readership rate among the audience to which they are delivered.
Coalition and Valued Associates Advocacy and Actions...
Nearly 200 military spouses attending the recent Military.com Spouse Summit overwhelmingly placed military retirement as their top benefit concern. The majority of the working groups also identified Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) as their second most important benefit, with the remaining groups split between commissaries, military on-base housing, retirement pay, and the GI Bill. Only three benefits were included on all 14 working groups lists commissary funding, retirement pay, and BAH. Save Our Benefit, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), National Military Family Association, and Blue Star Families participated in the discussion which focused on "The Affect Sequestration May Have on Your Military Life." The discussion was also observed by staff members from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
Candace Wheeler also participated in a Military Spouse appreciation event hosted by Unilever's Military Team and its Dove Brand, in partnership with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Kingsmill, and Xanterra. The event was designed to inspire 200 women of the military, both active duty and spouses.
In addition to hearing testimony http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/14-05-06-military-compensation from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Air Force Association (AFA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) on military compensation, the Senate Armed Services Committee received written testimony for the record from the National Military Family Association and combined testimony from the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and the Reserve Enlisted Association (REA).
The National Military Family Association testimony stressed the need to:
- Let the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) do its job in evaluating compensation, including health care, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and commissaries, holistically.
- As you evaluate the proposals submitted by DoD, consider the cumulative impact on military families' purchasing power and financial well‐being, as well as their effects on the morale and readiness of the all volunteer force now and in the future.
- Reject budget proposals that threaten military family financial well‐being as a way to save money for the government.
- Protect the 30 percent savings military families receive when shopping at the commissary by continuing the annual appropriation to support the system at its current level. Commissaries are part of compensation and provide important savings for military families. Before any decisions are made to change the commissary benefit, a study should be conducted to determine the value of the benefit.
To read their entire statement for the record:
ROA and REA testimony stated, "By cutting the compensation and benefits of the men and women who serve, the risk exists that the military will lose its best and the brightest leaders, who will seek better opportunities in the private and, perhaps even, the public sector. Manning challenges already exist in midgrade officer and enlisted ranks, which will grow only worse." "Expecting serving and retired military members and their families to carry an increased financial burden is indirectly taxing just them to pay for this Nation's defense. It is equally unfair to tax the next generation of warriors who are just joining the uniformed services today."
Specific to the commissary benefit, ROA and REA testimony stated, "While it is acknowledged that the Reserve Force uses the commissary less frequently than those within the Active duty culture, Reserve and Guard members are not indifferent. Access to the commissary is symbolic, as it was a parity issue only recently corrected. Many within the Reserve and Guard committee object to the removal of subsidies to the commissary because of the effect on junior serving members and families."
To read their entire statement for the record:
Commissary Web Posts
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website between 10 AM, May 8, 2014 and 10 AM, May 15, 2014:
DP #14, Far East Quantities.
DP #15, WW Promotion Package, Lunch Box Full of Savings/Dollar Days.
Thanksgiving/Christmas – Chill, Freeze & Pre-Packed Meat WW Program.
Summer Club Pack, July CONUS Quantities.
NOTICES TO TRADE (NTT)
14-15, 2014 Frozen Food Reset Schedule, Revision #2.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 14-20.
DeCA Approved Food Banks.
CRV Values, May 11, 2014.
Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission
The commission has again scheduled hearings. Please help spread the word and attend as many of these public hearings as possible. Here is the schedule:
- MacDill AFB, FL, 22 May 2014
- Ft Bragg, NC, 25-26 June 2014
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
ALA Rocky Mountain Chapter Meeting, May 28, 2014: The meeting is scheduled for 10:00 am in the Buckley AFB conference room. For more information please call Dave Smith @ 303-263-2988 or Paul Grier @ 719-201-8821
ALA Congressional Caucus, June 24, 2014, Washington, DC REGISTRATION OPEN
ALA Hawaii Conference & Exhibition, 19-21 August 2014, Pacific Beach Hotel, Honolulu REGISTRATION OPEN
ALA Washington Chapter Jim Griffin Memorial Golf Outing, September 17, 2014, Ft. Belvoir Golf Course
ALA National Convention, October 27 - 29, 2014, Hyatt Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
DeCA announces Best Commissary Awards winners
Defense Commissary Agency
Each year, the Defense Commissary Agency honors select military commissaries worldwide for exceptional service and dedication in delivering the commissary benefit.
Known as the DeCA Best Commissary Awards, the honors continue at least a 50-year tradition, dating back long before DeCA's inception, to recognize overall excellence in commissary operations and service.
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as a 100 percent small business set-aside. The solicitation is for 10 portable sinks to be delivered to nine Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the United States and one to South Korea.
• One Credential – Access to Nearly 100 Military Installations
• One Program – RAPIDGate®
• One Call – (703) 836-2201
• Contact: Mike Campbell, GM, Alexandria, VA & VP Government Sales
Vermont becomes 1st US state to mandate GMO labeling
On May 8, Vermont became the first U.S. state to mandate labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms as Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law that is widely expected to be challenged in court by some food and agriculture companies. The law, set to take effect July 1, 2016, would for the first time align at least a small part of the United States with more than 60 other countries that require labeling of genetically engineered foods. It sets the stage for more than two dozen other states that are currently considering mandatory labeling of such GMO foods.
Eat right to improve your mental health
Different foods affect your brain and, as a result, your behavior differently. For example, your brain relies on chemicals called "neurotransmitters" for proper functioning. Not eating enough complex carbohydrates (such as those in whole grains and fruits) and healthy fats (such as the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon or nuts) can trigger imbalances in the production or activity of some neurotransmitters, which can contribute to mood swings, irritability and food cravings. And if you don't eat enough protein-containing foods, your diet will lack the building blocks for the neurotransmitters that play roles in memory formation and alertness.
New research shows too many options in store may be a bad thing
Many people assume that offering shoppers options is a great way to increase basket size and encourage people to buy more, industry observers say. The assumption is that the longer shoppers have to browse the category, the more products they will buy. However, new research suggests the opposite might actually be true.
A Healthy Body • A Healthy Mind • A Healthy Life
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Cans or cartons?
Is the traditional center store poised for a renaissance or reinvention? Packaging manufacturers are making a substantive case for both scenarios. According to research from The Can Manufacturers Institute, food cans are preferred by consumers when compared with other packaging formats. Canned goods are stocked in 98 percent of America's kitchens, and 8 in 10 Americans do not go one week without cooking with them. So is the tried-and-true can the key to a rebirth of traditional center store?
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Kroger VP: Employee trust important
Trust among a company's workers is as important as trust among its customers, according to Lynn Marmer, group VP for community affairs for Kroger Co. "We believe that associates who are engaged in their work, who are empowered to make a difference, who feel valued and appreciated by their manager and who connect with their work are the keys to ongoing growth and success for our business," said Marmer.
Retail beef and pork prices continue to push into record territory
Retail meat prices for both beef and pork will be a bit higher this grilling season on the back of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and drought-driven tighter beef supplies, University of Missouri and American Farm Bureau economists say. The long-term effects of searing back-to-back droughts in 2011 and 2012 resulted in less feed available for cattle, and ultimately forced a substantial decline in cattle numbers that is now resulting in lower beef production and higher beef prices.
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Wal-Mart is transforming into a go-green leader
By Danielle Wegert
A major issue for corporations today is sustainability and reducing impact on the environment. Many national and international corporations are known for being sustainable and environmentally friendly. But one company focusing on sustainability may surprise you: Wal-Mart.
House panel rejects most proposed military benefit curbs
The House armed services' subcommittee on military personnel has rejected Pentagon plans to: slow increases in military housing allowances starting next year; raise TRICARE fees on families and retirees, and narrow coverage by ending TRICARE Prime, the military's managed care option.
Hagel orders DOD-wide alcohol review after sex assault report
Stars and Stripes
The Pentagon is targeting alcohol consumption in its battle to curb sexual assaults in the military. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently announced a department-wide review of the services' alcohol policies during a news conference, the same day that the Pentagon released its latest report on sexual assault within the ranks.
ALA NY's annual West Point Golf Outing
The ALA NY Chapter is having its annual West Point Golf Outing on Monday, June 23. Proceeds from the event benefit the Military Commanders' Scholarship Fund.
We do not currently have an online registration process - any inquiries can be directed to me at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exchange issue in Germany
Gentlemen I wanted to bring your attention to an issue in Germany in case you are not already aware. We are being told that there is a distinct possibility that the Exchange will be visited by the "FKS", which is the German Illegal Employment Task Force (branch of the Zoll or customs). This customs branch investigates illegal employment activities and has recently conducted such visits at several DeCA locations in Germany. Based on this, it is reasonable to assume they will also visit some of our Exchange operations in the near future.
The parts of our business that they would be looking at are our concession operation employees and vendor representatives to validate that the employees are indeed registered to work in Germany.
I thought you might want to share with your members who service facilities in Germany I am confident that they have already validated their employees are registered to work in Germany but you may want to make them aware that there is a distinct possibility that their employees will be asked to present the necessary documentation to prove they are legal & authorized to work in Germany in the very near future.
All the best,
Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Visit our online store! www.shopmyexchange.com
Lawmakers move to block Navy plan to restrict tobacco sales
House lawmakers recently moved to protect tobacco sales on military bases and ships, prohibiting Navy plans to drop the problematic products in the name of force health. As part of its annual defense authorization bill mark up, the House Armed Services Committee added language forbidding defense officials from enacting "any new policy that would limit, restrict, or ban the sale of any legal consumer product category" on military installations.
JICC calls for industry comment on retirement of coupon barcodes
Food Marketing Institute
The Joint Industry Coupon Committee recently issued a call for industry comments on its intent to initiate the GS1 Global Standards Management Process to retire the use of the GS1 UPC Prefix 5 and GS1/EAN Prefix 99 barcode symbols on all coupons issued in North America by June 30, 2015. The JICC will accept comments on its intention until June 16, 2014.
US retail sales slow, but growth outlook still upbeat
U.S. retail sales braked sharply in April after strong gains in the prior two months, but that did little to change views the economy was poised for faster growth this quarter. The Commerce Department recently said retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month, held back by declines in receipts at furniture, electronic and appliance stores, restaurants and bars and online retailers.
Mickey Drexler says relax about those J.Crew Mercantile rumors
J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler recently dampened our hopes just a little when he told Women's Wear Daily that his company bought the license to the name J.Crew Mercantile simply because he liked the name — not necessarily because, as previously reported, J.Crew is planning to launch a cheaper line.
Big retailers find it hard shopping for a CEO
The Wall Street Journal
Target Corp. isn't the only U.S. retailer looking for a new boss — and new ideas. Department store chain J.C. Penney Co., teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and a handful of others are also on the hunt for chief executives. The turnover at the top — and in some cases the extended searches for replacements — are further evidence of the pressure on an industry where once successful models are out of step with Americans' new shopping habits.
Sears chief: Store closings will continue, make company stronger
Citing examples of companies that have successfully undergone transformations despite seemingly damning financials, Sears Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert recently told shareholders that "sometimes you need to go backwards to go forwards." The $30.8 billion company has had 28 straight quarters of declining sales as it closes stores and sells or spins off assets.
Adidas puts Rockport shoe brand on auction block
Athletic apparel and shoe giant Adidas AG is looking to sell its Rockport brand, according to people familiar with the matter. Rockport is best known for its men's boat shoes, loafers and walking shoes. It also makes women's shoes, including high heels and sandals.
Target breach fallout shows CEOs, CIOs share cybersecurity stakes
The Wall Street Journal
The recent resignation of Target Corp.'s CEO Gregg Steinhafel as the result of last year's holiday season breach signals a new day for CEO-CIO relations, experts say, with both titles on the hook to work together to develop IT strategy and take the blame when things go wrong.
Wage increase, other demands are killing business on federal bases
Jewish World Review
The fight over the minimum wage, which President Barack Obama and Democrats hope to make a centerpiece of this year's midterm elections, comes down to two simple arguments. Obama says low-income working Americans deserve a raise, while Republicans say raising the minimum wage would cost jobs. It was a mostly theoretical argument until Feb. 12, when Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 an hour from $7.25.
Wal-Mart outpaces Amazon for online growth
Integrated Solutions for Retailers
In February of this year, Wal-Mart opened its second Silicon Valley innovation hub; according to an article published in The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart's online sales grew by 30 percent last year in comparison to Amazon's growth of 20 percent for the same time period. Last year's online sales growth marks the first time Wal-Mart has surpassed Amazon's growth rate, though the online-only retailer significantly surpasses Wal-Mart's online sales by six times as many. Wal-Mart's success is the culmination of an expansive, and expensive, effort to directly take on and surpass online retailers.
Brave new world: How the 'Internet of Things' will transform retail
The "Internet of Things," where objects in the physical world are connected to electronic virtual networks, is poised to turn retail on its head. Not since the introduction of online shopping — and before that, credit and debit cards for purchasing — has something in retail had the potential to be so transformative.
Google app alerts users when they're near a store carrying products they recently searched for
Users of the Google Now app on Android might have an easier time making that impulse buy. The company announced today that it's going to send users of its digital assistant service notifications when they're close to a store that should carry a product that they recently searched for. It's a move by the company to use its location-aware digital assistant service as a means of driving users into physical retail stores. It's unclear how the app knows what retailers might have available, though.
These 3 CEOs are leading their companies to a customer-centric future
Imagine you're a retail CEO. What's your greatest challenge at work these days? To be fair, it's likely many things. Still, our sense is that the strongest mandate from our industry (and perhaps also shareholders) is probably how to make a wholesale change that turns the organization into one that truly thinks, acts and speaks "omnichannel."
Report: Barnes & Noble plans 300 new college stores
Chain Store Age
Barnes & Noble Inc. reportedly plans to open about 300 new stores on college and university campuses in the next five years. According to Reuters, Barnes & Noble wants to expand its college bookstore footprint from the current 696 locations to 1,000.
Target CEO resigns
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. recently announced that CEO and president Gregg Steinhafel, a 35-year-company-veteran, had resigned, effective immediately. The news comes nearly five months after the retailer disclosed a massive data breach that damaged its reputation among customers and has derailed its business.
Amazon, eBay and Wal-Mart are the best examples of how retailers can win on mobile
Mobile is having a huge impact on people's online and offline shopping habits, and that means retailers must quickly figure out how to engage consumers on smartphones and tablets. In a new in-depth case study from BI Intelligence, authors look at how the top mobile retailers — Amazon, eBay and Wal-Mart — have embraced mobile to drive sales and connect with their customers.
Gluten-free lifestyle: Is it here to stay?
By Katy Bynum
One buzzword that keeps popping up in grocery stores, restaurants and even churches is gluten-free. Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, is difficult for some people's bodies to process, resulting in celiac disease, which damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients. A gluten-free diet is essential for those with celiac disease, and May is Celiac Awareness Month.
Bricks and mortar and mobile: Take advantage of an unrealized opportunity
Retail has so far invested in creating a mobile presence, but it has yet to harness the huge potential the mobile platform offers, a recent report by Plastic Mobile indicates. Though that conclusion may be a surprise, it also offers savvy businesses the opportunity to get up to speed before their competitors catch up. We need a rethink in the industry.
Beverage watch: 7-Eleven franchisee trade show
A 7-Eleven trade show is always a great place to get a glimpse of new products coming to the convenience store industry, and this month's Franchise Owners Association of Chicagoland Trade Show in Villa Park, Ill., was no different.
Reynolds-Lorillard merger could create new power player
An acquisition of the Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard Inc. by the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. would certainly create one massive tobacco power player, but could it also launch another tobacco company into the Big Three?
Sparkling ICE establishes independent distribution network
Sparkling ICE sparkling spring water, part of the TalkingRain portfolio of beverages, announced the completion of its U.S. direct-store-delivery distribution network. Comprised of over 252 distributors, this DSD network is now bringing Sparkling ICE beverages to grocery stores, drug stores, convenience-stores and other retail and non-traditional outlets in all 50 states.
Sweets & Snacks Expo enhances most innovative new product awards
The National Confectioners Association has announced enhancements to its 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo Most Innovative New Product Awards program, which showcases the most innovative ideas, concepts and products in two of the fast-growing marketplace categories: candy and snacks.
Philip Morris 'light' verdict reinstated
Illinois' Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday to reinstate a $10.1 billion verdict against Philip Morris USA, reported Reuters. Handed down by a state judge in 2003, the lawsuit accused Philip Morris and its parent company, the Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., of violating Illinois' consumer fraud law by using terms such as "light" and "low tar" to describe its cigarettes.
Tobacco retailers: Coming together
The competition: This is how many convenience store operators once viewed tobacco shops. It's easy to understand why. While cigarettes have been historically important to both channels, tobacco outlets have not been limited by self-service restrictions and typically have space to stock more SKUs than a c-store operator could dream of. And, as tobacco-centered operators, they have the luxury of training their staff to be experts in the finer details of the category.
E-cigs stub out growth of smoking cessation products
Convenience Store News
As American smokers feel more pressure to quit the habit, many of them are now turning to electronic cigarettes as a means to do so, according to new research from Mintel. As a result, sales of smoking cessation products are suffering. Thirty-four percent of U.S. smokers who quit or are interested in quitting think e-cigarettes are an effective way to do so, Mintel found.
Zarco USA's 'serious' pumpside ordering
About 6 in 10 fuel customers pay for their purchase at the pump, according to research by VideoMining Corp. And of all fuel customers, only 4 in 10 make a purchase from the convenience store. This presents a major challenge for retailers, who generate most of their profits inside. But Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco USA, thinks he has found a solution.
How would you change the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program?
The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness wants to know how well the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program serves the needs of military members, DOD civilians and others eligible for its services. Soon, nearly 1 million DOD military members, worldwide, will receive a personalized emailed invitation to participate in a DOD survey about the MWR program.
Expanded online sales to all veterans being discussed
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials want to expand shopping privileges at the online exchange store to all honorably discharged veterans, sources said. That would open the online store to about 20 million veterans, according to a source familiar with the discussions. AAFES officials contend the move would have no negative impact on current eligible shoppers — and would be a boon to revenues and profits that support military morale, welfare and recreation programs on installations.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car awarded contract with Navy Exchange Service Command
The Navy Exchange Service Command has selected Enterprise Rent-A-Car as the contracted rental car vendor at 18 Navy Exchange locations in a new two-year contract. The partnership will provide those locations on-base access to car rentals, truck rentals and car-sharing services providing a comprehensive transportation solution to meet diverse travel needs.
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