ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 2, 2012

Interview with Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale
"Here to talk about the defense budget is the man who played an instrumental role in putting it all together, Bob Hale, the undersecretary of defense, comptroller," said Vago Muradian. More

New accounting rule could cost DoD billions
Defense News
The Pentagon may pay billions of dollars more for weapons programs in coming years because of an obscure new federal accounting rule. The rule requires the U.S. government to reimburse its contractors to a far greater degree for their employee pension costs.More

Rumsfeld: Cuts could leave sizable intel gaps
Army Times
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently said any perceived weakness in U.S. power is a greater threat to the country than another nation or terrorist cell. Rumsfeld held a question-and-answer session with military officers at Fort Leavenworth, and said that past cuts in defense and intelligence spending led to gaps in security. He cautions it could happen again under current tight federal budgets.More

Tricare chief: 'Huge savings' expected from higher drug co-pays
Biloxi Sun Herald via Current Mil-Tech News
The biggest knife for slicing Tricare costs off future defense budgets is not new and higher enrollment fees or deductibles proposed for retirees and their families who use one of the military's health insurance options of Tricare Prime, Standard, Extra or, for the elderly, Tricare for Life. Those phased increases would save a total of $23 billion over 10 years, mostly by sticking retirees with higher costs.More

Greenert reviews Navy's upcoming changes with Naples sailors
Stars and Stripes
The Navy must get creative about where it places ships as it increases the number stationed around the globe and away from their home ports in the United States, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said during an all-hands forum with sailors in Naples, Italy.More

Gen. Schwartz: Air Force must shift 'billions' from ops, faces steeper budget cuts
AOL Defense
He didn't use the word sequestration — perhaps because the Air Force is still trying to explain the C-27's "divestiture" — but Gen. Norton Schwartz told the Air Force Association's winter conference today that "we fully expect we will be making further tough [budget] calls."More

Hill panel to unveil plan for helping defense industry in days
Defense Daily via Business Executives for National Security
A special House panel will propose a series of recommendations by the end of next week for helping smaller companies compete for Pentagon contracts, its members said. The House Armed Services Committee Panel on Business Challenges in the defense industry held its final roundtable discussion with defense firms on Feb. 27, and is finalizing a report with recommended legislation that is due by March 10, Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., told reporters. They hope proposed legislative changes will be included in the HASC's version of the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill, which the committee will unveil this spring.More

General Mills buys small maker of tortilla chips
Food company General Mills Inc pushed further into the U.S. snack food market by acquiring chip maker Food Should Taste Good. General Mills already competes in the salty snack market with its brands Chex Mix, Gardettos and Bugles. The acquisition of Food Should Taste Good — which makes sweet potato chips and tortilla chips in flavors like lime, olive and jalapeno — puts General Mills into the natural and organic segment of that market.More

Farmshop: Not your average grocery store
Women's Wear Daily
Farmshop isn't your average grocery store. Housed in the Brentwood Country Mart, a quaint shopping enclave in Santa Monica, Calif., that serves as a regular hangout for celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner, the airy store never carries any toothpaste or toilet paper. Instead, Chef Jeff Cerciello built Farmshop as a 1,750-square-foot showcase for California's food culture. Every item is selected with a curator's eye, a story behind it and a strong relationship with the farmers and artisans.More

Natural food chains are on the move
Supermarket News
Change is easy to spot when it's written in large letters on a storefront. That was the case earlier this month when the darkened sign that once distinguished a Borders bookstore in Yorba Linda, Calif., was replaced with the logo for Sprouts Farmers Market. "There is more interest in the natural and organic sector, be it retail or manufacturer, than there has been in a long time, both from the standpoint of private and public equity," noted Scott Van Winkle, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, Boston.More

USDA introduces 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass'
Progressive Grocer
Recently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan unveiled the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The interactive Web-based document and map highlights USDA support for local and regional food projects, as well as successful producer, business and community case studies. According to Vilsack and Merrigan, local and regional food systems across the country offer economic opportunities for area farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs while increasing the number of farmers, expanding healthy food access and building strong infrastructures.More

Shopper satisfaction with supermarkets increases
Gourmet Retailer
Customer satisfaction at the national level inched up 0.1 percent to 75.8 on a scale of 0 to 100 for the fourth quarter of 2011. That's according to a report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which shows the Q4 gain brings the yearly change for 2011 up to 0.7 percent, a mild improvement that is in sync with a very slowly recovering U.S. economy.More

USDA projects temporary rise in chicken prices
Fast Casual
A shortage of poultry is expected to drive up chicken prices for consumers, according to the recently released USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021 report, which was also featured in the February issue of Food Nutrition & Science. The USDA predicts a decline in this year's poultry supply will drive up prices; however, the report suggests it's temporary, and in 2013 poultry supplies will increase.More

How much added sugar is in food? Consumers have the right to know
Environmental Working Group
If Americans knew exactly how much added sugar came with the food and beverages they and their families consume, many might make different choices. A coalition of public health organizations is calling on the federal Food and Drug Administration to require that food labels display information on added sugar.More

JC Penney posts Q4 loss of $87 million amid restructuring, revamp charges
Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney Co. swung to a loss of $87 million in the fourth-quarter, compared with a profit of $271 million in the year-ago period. The chain's results were dragged down by restructuring and management transition charges, as well as costs tied to its new pricing strategy.More

New, faster Apple iPad expected soon
Apple Inc is hosting a media event next March 7, where it is expected to unveil a faster, better-equipped version of its popular iPad tablet to thwart increasing competition from deep-pocketed rivals such as Inc.More

What's causing Wal-Mart's woes
The Fiscal Times
Wal-Mart may promise "Low Prices. Every Day. On Everything" but it was particularly aggressive about offering discounts at holiday time — and now it's paying the price.More

Wal-Mart to give Hollywood a hand
The Wall Street Journal
The movie industry is recruiting Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to help attract users to its struggling online video-library service, Hollywood's latest step to combat the challenges of digital piracy and a fading DVD market. Wal-Mart is in discussions to provide an in-store service that will assist customers in registering DVDs they already own with the movie industry's UltraViolet system, according to several people familiar with the matter. (Subscription required.)More

Lowe's net rises 13 percent on double-digit sales jump
The Wall Street Journal
Lowe's Cos. enjoyed its strongest same-store sales growth in nearly six years during the latest quarter, as consumers warmed to the home-improvement chain's credit-card discount program and pleasant weather. The increased sales helped produce a 13 percent earnings increase in the fiscal fourth quarter. (Subscription required.)More

Mobile commerce on the rise
Women's Wear Daily
More than one-third of mobile product owners are using their devices for mobile commerce, according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association. (Subscription required.)More

Smartphones become the go-to tool for shoppers
Smartphones are giving new meaning to the term comparison shopping. Whether they're seeking lower prices or better terms on an item they see on a store shelf, consumers are quickly learning that their smartphone can be used for more industrious tasks than playing Words With Friends or snapping and posting photos on Facebook.More

Finding food allergy allies
The Wall Street Journal
Many parents of children with life-threatening allergies say they are seeing changes at schools, day-care centers and restaurants. This comes after years of being dismissed as overbearing or overprotective in their efforts to insure school lunches and play-date snacks didn't expose their children to danger.More

Airports becoming classy shopping complexes
Los Angeles Times
Retailers increasingly see airport terminals as captive markets for far more than souvenirs, sandwiches and paperback novels. Stores are opening that match the demographics of passengers.More

More Americans to save — not spend — their tax refunds
Gourmet Retailer
Whether they're putting it aside for a rainy day or a big getaway, a recent survey finds more Americans this year plan to save — not spend — their tax refunds. According to National Retail Federation's Tax Returns Consumer Survey conducted by BIGinsight, 43.8 percent of those expecting refunds will stash some of their cash in savings, up from 42.1 percent who said so last year and the most in the survey's nine-year history. Two-thirds of tax payers are expecting a refund this year, the same as last year.More

Americans increasingly munching on morning snacks
Convenience Store News
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are no longer the only meals for many Americans. The widely adopted belief that it is healthier to eat multiple smaller meals per day is fueling an increased number of breakfast snack products coming onto the market, according to the Washington Post.More

NEXCOM vendor partners

NEXCOM vendor partners,
Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield is an annual Force Protection exercise conducted jointly by U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, Navy Installations Command on all naval bases and installations in the continental United States. This year's exercise will occur during the time frame of March 19-24.

While the exercise will run throughout the week, base access will be limited to mission essential personnel during a portion of this year's exercise. For purposes of the exercise, MEP has been defined to include those personnel needed to directly support critical fleet operations.

We anticipate limited base access from March 22-24, and ask that you and/or your sales representatives coordinate with the local exchange location to determine what changes to scheduled operating hours may be needed.

We will keep you informed of any additional schedule changes or other potential impacts of the exercise.

AAFES samplings

Our main stores and express stores will be advertising a sampling schedule when our customers walk in the door! We are asking for each vendor to develop a sampling plan for the entire year of 2012. The featured items should be on ad, price cut, or a new item. Our buyers plan to feature 6-10 items per month.

For each featured item we ask that each store participating in the sampling program receive 1-4 cases of product at no charge to the store and a $1,000 COOP charge. This program will be a great way to have our customers taste and gain awareness of your products being sold at the Exchange. Brokers will be encouraged to continue to support sampling at large volume stores in this collaborative initiative.

Please submit your 2012 sampling plan with DOF's to your buyer(s) NLT March 9.

Seasonal Candy — Julie Bierman
Everyday Candy — Adrienne Townes
Grocery — Randy Demster
Deli, Dairy, Bakery & Fruit — Adriana Ybarra
Snack Ave. & Frozen Foods — Michelle Nurse
Snacks — Melissa Kitchen

David H. Arens
Divisional Merchandise Manager Retail Food
Sales Directorate

Families safe in DoD's new budget
SpouseBUZZ via
It looks like most Defense Department military family program spending is safe for now, according to 2013 budget details released by the Pentagon. Military families were concerned that beloved recreation programs, child care support, commissaries and family support services like counseling would take major hits as the Defense Department sorts out how to achieve congressionally mandated cuts. While those still could come in the future, most programs are facing minimal downsizing if any now. More

Employment opportunities open to family members
The Gold Standard
The ACS Employment Readiness Program provides employment information and other supportive services primarily to Family members who are relocating as a result of a military or civilian sponsor's permanent change of station. Other categories of personnel who are eligible for services are non-transitioning military personnel, retirees and their spouses. In order to assist clients in finding suitable employment, local employers are encouraged to send job listings which are then posted on an employment bulletin board.More

Air Force changes fitness statements in performance reports policy
News Room America
Air Force supervisors can now make comments regarding unit fitness program achievements on annual performance reports due to a recent policy change. The new policy allows supervisors to include comments on successful achievements regarding the unit fitness program for Airmen who play a key role in the unit's program. Previous guidance, released in 2007, restricted fitness comments to only physical training leaders or unit fitness program managers.More

Bringing taste of Wiesbaden to Heidelberg soldiers, families via live hookup, social media
U.S. Army Europe Soldiers, civilians and families picked up a wealth of information about living and working in the Wiesbaden, Germany, military community during a special Town Hall briefing Feb. 16, at Heidelberg's Village Pavilion. The special question-and-answer session offered first-hand information from the subject experts to a standing-room-only crowd and members of the USAREUR workforce and their families via an online AFN-Europe feed and through social media.More