ALA Executive Briefing
May. 11, 2012

House panel considers higher 2013 defense budget
Yahoo News
The House Armed Services Committee recently pressed ahead with a version of the 2013 defense budget that adds billions to President Barack Obama's proposed budget and rejects the administration's call for military base closings. More

House spares Pentagon, homeland security from cuts
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Republicans controlling the House are sparing the Pentagon, military veterans and most homeland security programs from the budget knife as action begins on a set of spending bills setting the day-to-day budgets for federal agencies. Foreign aid programs would absorb a 5 percent cut in legislation released Tuesday, while the FBI would receive a 2 percent budget hike in a separate measure.More

House bill offers aid cuts to save military spending
The New York Times
The Republican-led House this week will lay bare the choice between social programs and Pentagon spending in an age of austerity when it takes up legislation to slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans over the next decade to stave off more than $50 billion in military spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year.More

Republicans seek to add more in defense spending
The Washington Post
House Republicans recently spelled out some funding increases they are seeking in defense programs above the amounts President Barack Obama requested in the fiscal 2013 Pentagon budget, including an additional $1 billion for Israeli anti-missile defense systems.More

Budget crisis: A chance to improve, not dismantle, government?
Government Executive
As the November elections draw nearer, the budget debate will not be about whether to cut government spending, but how, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told an audience of federal workers. While Democrats tend to focus on how to make the government more efficient, most Republicans seek ways to dismantle it, he said, imploring employees to "help tell the story" and "carry forward the great cause of providing service to the American people."More

Feds would pay more for pensions under House bill
Government Executive
The House Budget Committee recently approved a measure on a party-line vote that would increase the amount government employees contribute to their pensions. The legislation, shepherded by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., incorporates measures approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in late April requiring current federal employees to pay 5 percent more toward their retirement over the next five years, beginning in 2013.More

Defense budget casualties light on civilian side
The Washington Times
The Pentagon's civilian workforce, which expanded dramatically during President Barack Obama's first three years, is not facing any significant reductions even as the Defense Department is slashing ground troops by more than 10 percent, retiring ships and combat planes, and putting off the purchases of some new weapons.More

Pentagon budget headed for House rewrite
Members of the House Armed Services Committee take out their red pens this week to rewrite President Barack Obama's defense budget. The Republican-controlled panel is preparing to reverse much of Obama's plan for defense spending cuts when it votes on its version of the defense authorization bill. Committee leaders already have made clear their intention to boost funding for battle tanks, Navy destroyers and missile defense.More

Mobile grocery shop targets bored commuters
Chicago Tribune via News & Observer
You wouldn't think picking up milk at the "L" station would be a good idea. But online grocer Peapod has turned a busy Chicago train station into a virtual supermarket aisle, enabling commuters to use their smartphones to scan and buy any of 70 items on the fly.More

Healthy supermarket shopping: Is an in-store nutritionist the secret to healthful choices?
The Huffington Post
How do you make healthy choices at the grocery store? We've all heard the advice: avoid the center aisles where processed food abounds and stick to the produce, meat and dairy sections around the perimeter of your grocery store. And while supermarkets carry everything from healthful kale to harmful sugary sodas, some businesses are starting to help their customers make better selections with health ratings, stickers and other indicators that a food is good for you. But will labels work?More

Could those reusable grocery bags make you sick?
The Boston Globe
Only 15 percent of Americans wash their reusable tote bags on a regular basis, according to a survey conducted by the Home Food Safety program, a collaboration between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods. According to Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and media spokesperson for AND, "Food poisoning can easily be prevented by using practical steps, such as cleaning grocery totes and separating raw meats from ready-to-eat foods when shopping, cooking, serving, and storing foods."More

Trying the caveman diet doesn't have to cost the earth
Business Insider
So you've made the switch to the Paleo diet or are seriously thinking about it. Great! You've heard followers of the Paleo diet say they feel more energetic, sleep better, and feel less bloated after eating. The reality of eating as many fresh foods as this plan requires hits home on your first trip to the grocery store. Don't let this discourage you though, because there are great resources and tips available to help you plan out your meals and save money.More

What is healthy grocery shopping?
Medical News Today
Grocery shopping can be a daunting task if one follows advice of not buying anything at eye level, studying the label, and avoiding center isles and goods at the perimeter. Evidence has shown that Americans buy most of their food in grocery stores and that their shopping habits are predictive in terms of their fruit, vegetable and sugared soft drink consumption.More

The changing role of association e-newsletters

An e-newsletter used to complement an associations newsletter with expanded or additional feature stories. However, associations are now using their e-newsletters primarily as a way to send news about its industry. In some cases, the e-newsletter has even become the main way in which associations communicate with its members.

Lisa Smith, senior content editor, Multibriefs, a vendor who puts together e-newsletters in conjunction with associations, said that in her experience, most associations tend to lean toward more content curation to deliver accurate and precise information to its members.

"More and more we see that associations are handing over the reins to companies like us to put these e-newsletters together because it gives them the freedom to focus on their face-to-face meetings with members, their trade shows and other important aspects of their organization."

Robert Flynn, co-founder and CEO, Aggregage, a firm that also puts together e-newsletters in conjunction with associations, agreed. He said that content curation is starting to permeate through larger organizations.More

Starbucks names former defense secretary to board
The Wall Street Journal
Starbucks Corp. recently said former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been named to its 11-member board. Gates served as defense secretary from 2006 until June 2011, working under both Republican President George W. Bush and his Democratic successor, President Barack Obama. More

Facebook's roadshow underway; IPO set for May 18
The Wall Street Journal
Facebook Inc. started its roadshow to pitch its stock to investors on May 7, as the social network enters the final stages of its coming public offering, said people familiar with the matter. (subscription required.)More

Talking with Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Brian Walker Blog
A retailer's thinking these days can be dominated by smartphones, tablet devices, social media, social commerce, new payment systems and numerous other emerging technologies. However, much of that activity ultimately directly impacts the website itself, so retailers cannot afford to overlook fundamentals of running their online business, such as site maintenance, load testing and replatforming.More

ASDA cuts fuel prices
Kantar Retail
Immediately following fuel price cuts on April 21, ASDA has slashed the price of unleaded fuel again across its 195 filling stations nationwide, effective May 4.More

Supervalu announces new EVP of store operations
Kantar Retail
Supervalu has announced the departure of Pete Van Helden, Executive Vice President of Retail Operations effective this spring.More

Target will stop selling Amazon Kindles
Kantar Retail
Target recently announced it will stop selling Amazon's Kindle e-readers and accessories in stores and online. More

Best Buy announces pre-orders for new Call of Duty video game
Kantar Retail
Pre-orders are now available for the new video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II in more than 1000 Best Buy stores and on The highly anticipated game will be released on Nov. 13, and customers who pre-order it from Best Buy will receive exclusive Call of Duty dog tags with their orders. More

Costco reports April 2012 results
Kantar Retail
Costco's net sales increased 7 percent to $7.25 billion for the four-week period ending April 29.More

Best Buy expanding distribution center in Minnesota
Kantar Retail
Best Buy is expanding the size of its 434,000-square-foot distribution center in Bloomington, Minn., by 156,000 feet, and increasing employment at the center by 25 percent. More

Sears to invest in rewards program, stores
Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Edward Lampert laid out a blueprint for boosting results, calling for everything from investing millions of dollars in the retailer's "Shop Your Way" rewards program to improving the layout and signs in its stores.More

Call it Victor's secret
The New York Times
Are men really ready to shop for underwear the way women do? There are plenty of examples that indicate that the market for men's unmentionables has been heading in a more fashion-conscious direction for some time, what with the popularity of the new Calvin Klein Bold collection, rainbow-striped briefs from Diesel and the latest snakeskin-printed waistbands from 2(x)ist. It's almost like the 1970s again, except that synthetic fabrics are now considered desirable. More

Senators, retailers urge more flexible apparel rules in Asia-Pacific deal
The Hill
A bipartisan group of senators is urging U.S. trade officials to adopt more flexible rules of origin and gain better market access for apparel as part of an Asia-Pacific trade deal. A letter signed by 15 senators — seven Democrats and eight Republicans — urges President Barack Obama to consider integrating rules on textiles and apparel into broader discussions on all other industrial goods in the ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. More

Market Alley Wines named top three finalist in national competition
Daily Review Atlas
Not often does Monmouth top major American cities. April 30, however, was one of those special moments in Monmouth history. It happened when Susan Kaufman learned her wine shop, Market Alley Wines, made it into the top three finalists in the National Retail Federation's "This Is Retail" competition topping stores in Phoenix, Baltimore and around the country.More

Retailers pay a lot less in debit fees under new rule
USA Today
Retailers are paying significantly less every time a customer swipes a debit card under a rule capping the fees that banks are allowed to charge.More

Better peak season fulfillment requires smarter seasonal workers
Internet Retailer
Forget any old ideas of seasonal workers walking into a warehouse hiring office in the early fall and then muscling around for a few months to help a retailer sort, pick and ship all those holiday orders. Today's e-commerce operation requires a bit more sophistication, says Chip Edgington, executive vice president of operations for Redcats USA, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.More

Retailer boosts pay despite economy
The Columbus Dispatch
For the fourth straight year, the owner of retailer Hobby Lobby has boosted the minimum hourly wage for its full- and part-time workers, keeping their pay well above what either state or federal law requires.More

US retailers add jobs
Women's Wear Daily
Department stores and discounters boosted payrolls in April, as job growth in the overall economy slowed, the Labor Department recently said. (Subscription required.)More

Slow economy weighs on households and retailers
The Washington Post
Three years after the recession, economic stress is increasing in Washington area households as the unemployment rate remains elevated, prices rise and home values remain depressed. According to Delta Associates' household stress index, which accounts for the rate of inflation, unemployment and real estate values, households experienced a rise in stress during 2011. More

Costco makes plans for boosting its online sales
The Seattle Times already sells about $2 billion worth of goods, but it lags far behind Amazon and Wal-Mart in online sales. The Issaquah, Wash.-based chain plans to introduce new mobile apps this month in an effort to significantly expand its online business.More

Study: Consumers opt for traditional Mother's Day gifts
The Gourmet Retailer
"Tradition" is the buzzword when it comes to gift-giving for Mom this year, as 9 of 10 consumers plan to celebrate Mother's Day, with total spending estimated to reach nearly $17.2 billion, according to the annual Brand Keys Mother's Day survey. Celebrants intend to spend an average of $163 this year, up 10 percent over 2011. Men, following a long-time pattern, intend to spend more than women, reporting an anticipated average spend of $190. Women anticipate spending $136 on Mom.More

Men are out-shopping women online
It might be time for the consumer lexicon to change. Retailers usually refer to shoppers as "she," but turns out, men are out-shopping women online. According to digital performance company iProspect, there are 19 million affluent men online, and the vast majority of them are shopping. Nearly half of these wealthy men spend more than $4,000 a year online.More

Smaller retailers tap into the power of digital displays
Digital signs are becoming pervasive, whether to entertain bored shoppers at supermarket checkouts or demonstrate the latest gadgets in home-furnishing stores. Although shoppers most often see digital signage at big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, the technology is becoming more affordable for smaller businesses. The following are four ways small-business owners are using digital signs.More

United Fresh 2012: Retailers still face reluctant shoppers
Supermarket News
The economy may be slowly improving, but consumers still have less money to spend on food than before the recession. More than half of shoppers — 61 percent of the population — are "survivalists," said Thomas J. Blischok, chief retail strategist and senior executive advisor of Booz and Co., at the "Understanding Today's Changing Retail Trends" workshop at the recent United Fresh Show in Dallas.More

EIA lowers summer gas price predictions
Convenience Store News
With the unofficial start of summer only three weeks away, there is some good news on the gas price front. The Energy Information Administration has downgraded its forecasted price at the pump for the summer driving season. According to the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook, recently released, the agency projects regular gasoline will average $3.79 per gallon during the summer season, which stretches from April through September. That number is only 8 cents more than last year's summer average of $3.71.More

Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Customer Advisory

(Note: There are still discussions in progress for how this will impact the Exchange Business.)

May 4, 2012

Subject: Lithium batteries prohibited in international/military mail

Purpose: To provide DOD shippers an immediate notification on mailing lithium batteries to/from APOs, FPOs or DPOs.

Be advised: Effective May 16, 2012, the United States Postal Service will prohibit the shipment of lithium metal batteries, lithium-ion batteries and devices containing lithium batteries by international/military mail. This prohibition includes mail sent to and from APO, FPO and DPO locations and applies regardless of quantity, size, watt-hours and whether the cells or batteries are packed in equipment, with equipment or without equipment.

USPS stated that under current rules of various international agencies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Universal Postal Union, lithium batteries cannot be sent as mail matter on international commercial air transportation. Customers sending electronic devices containing removable lithium batteries must remove the lithium batteries before tendering internationally and to or from APO, FPO and DPO shipments for mailing. Electronic equipment with non-removable lithium batteries may not be sent by international or military/diplomatic mail.

A. International Mail Manual
B. Domestic Mail Manual
C. Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted and Perishable Mail

POC: Military Postal Service Agency, Operations Division, Verdar May, (703) 545-5463, DSN 312-865-5463More

Exchange chief operating officer receives Champion of Diversity Award
Public Affairs
The Texas Diversity Council is just the latest organization to commend the Army & Air Force Exchange Service for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Exchange's Chief Operating Officer, Mike Howard, was one of two 2012 winners of the Champions Diversity Leadership Award at the council's annual Diversity and Leadership Conference held in Dallas on April 4.More

Save the dates!

May 21: Dallas Chapter/Commanders Cup Golf event
Bear Creek Golf Club
3500 Bear Creek Court, Dallas, Texas 75261
Click here for directions and here for the official flier.

June 25: ALA New York Chapter Golf Event
Click here for registration form and directions.More

exchange council

Apache Truck: Click here to see video.

ALA Exchange E-Blast week 5/11/12 AAFES Sales Flyers: Save the dates:

June 19, 2012 — Congressional Caucus, House Office Building Washington, D.C. (Date change)

August 20–23, 2012 — Hawaii Conference & Food Show

Go to:, sign in and CHECK OUT the information.


Apache Truck

Delivering one last gift. Click here for video.More

Civilian workforce critical to Army's success
Federal Times
John McHugh writes, "Throughout my professional career — at the local, state and federal level — I've been fortunate to work alongside tireless, dedicated employees committed to their communities and the people they serve. That's why I'm grateful and honored by this opportunity to recognize them and say thank you during Public Service Recognition Week."More

Your Air Force base services
Air Force Services Agency
The Air Force Services team provides mission sustaining combat support and community service to Airmen and their families every day at deployed and home station locations. Our contribution to the Air Force mission is evident in our involvement in worldwide deployments. We are there feeding troops, managing tent cities, operating field exchanges, attending to fallen comrades and providing fitness activities and off-duty sports programs. Air Force Services delivers a unique capability anywhere in support of Global Reach and Global Power. For more information visit our public affairs site here.More

Job fairs offer opportunities for transitioning soldiers, veterans, family members
U.S. Army
Are you a soldier transitioning from active duty and looking for your next job? A veteran? Or a family member wanting to continue your career? Garrison Army Career and Alumni Program and Army Community Service offices support hundreds of job fairs on or near our installations every year. The following article has a list of events for transitioning soldiers, veterans and family members coming up in the next three months. To find out about other events or all the services ACAP offers, visit the ACAP website at or contact an ACAP center at

Linking to Army OneSource
U.S. Army is a website dedicated to enriching and enhancing the lives of Army soldiers and their family members. Linking to is free. For your convenience, we have provided you with versions of the Army OneSource logo in the following article that may be used on your website as a link to

NMFA: Who we are
National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association is an organization with strong grassroots support balanced with professionalism that makes us a leader in the field. Not only do we support military families – we are military families. Spouses, parents and family members make up our staff and board positions. We speak up on behalf of military families and empower husbands, wives and children to understand and access their benefits. Based on what we hear from our members, we meet the needs of service members and their families with insightful recommendations, innovative programs and grassroots efforts to better the quality of life for military families.More