ALA Executive Briefing
July 15, 2011

Senators want details on defense budget
Aviation Week
Senate Armed Services Committee leaders say they are still waiting for more details about long-term budget proposals, including one from Senate Democrats to snip $886 billion from security accounts over 10 years.More

'Everything on the table'
Army Times
Troops should expect to tighten their belts in the coming years — but by how much remains an open question, the nation's top military officer said. "We are a well compensated force right now — and we should be, given what we're doing,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in a wide-ranging interview with Military Times editors July 7. More

Guam projects put in doubt
Honolulu Star-Adviser
The cost estimate to move 8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa in Japan to Guam, and to relocate other Marines already on Okinawa, has ballooned to $29.1 billion from $10.3 billion, according to a May U.S. Government Accountability Office report.More

Unemployment affects the military
Fox News via Early Bird
Just four years ago, at the height of the fighting in Iraq, the military services were having a hard time meeting their recruiting goals. There was talk of the Army breaking and the nation not having enough fighters to conduct its wars. Now as a sign of the times with jobless rates at record highs, more sailors are staying in the military, forcing the Navy for the first time ever to fire petty officers. In August, the Navy will convene a board to review cases of 16,000 sailors and eliminate 3,000 positions, about 1 percent of the force.More

House votes to cut spending for military bands
The Washington Post
The House has voted to limit spending on military bands next year to $200 million, reducing by $125 million what the Pentagon originally planned to spend. It would be the first time that spending on the military's 154 bands has been reduced by Congress.More

Lawmakers push back on Defense workforce cap
Government Executive
Senate Democrats are fighting a Defense Department plan to freeze civilian hiring, saying it would increase the work done by government contractors. More

Cool pasta
Supermarket News
Fresh, refrigerated pasta has shown itself to be a steady premium category, holding its own even through the worst of the recession, retailers told Supermarket News. What's more, they're preparing for the category's future — a bright one, they say — by revamping and increasing display space, adding varieties and currying promotions. More

Business tapering off? Better get customers' feedback
USA Today
Q: Ten years ago, I opened a diversity training and consulting company. The business was booming until three years ago. Things seem to have tapered off. My company is still surviving, but I want to do something to revive it. One of my employees said that the company needs to make some changes. How could that be? By most standards my company would still be considered a new business. I can't figure out what the problem is. We're doing the same things we've always done. Can you offer a suggestion or two?More

Children outpacing parents on produce
Progressive Grocer
Despite a clear understanding of how many fruits and vegetables they should be consuming on a daily basis, a survey of some 1,300 Midwesterners reveals that nearly 6 out of 10 feel they just aren't eating enough produce. Of those respondents with children, 48 percent said that, by comparison, their children eat more fruit than other children and roughly 35 percent said their children eat about the same as others. Thirteen percent felt their children eat less fruits than their peers.More

Farmers markets go high-tech to grow biz
Community Times
Check out your neighborhood farmers market this summer and you may find something surprising among the fresh fruits and veggies, specialty coffees, homemade soaps, baked goods, spices and tie-dyed Tees. Small and micro-business owners, including those selling at farmers markets, are turning to inexpensive devices, smartphone and iPad apps to help increase sales and speed up transactions.More

Rite Aid unveils new Thrifty Ice Cream lineup
Store Brands
Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid said it is helping Californians celebrate National Ice Cream Day on July 17 by introducing a new lineup of products under its Thrifty Ice Cream brand. The lineup comprises products made with real California milk and includes new varieties and flavors.More

Surviving the grocery store with extreme couponing
High food prices, long lines, lugging all your bags from cart, to car, to house. Grocery shopping is a chore, but a new wave of shoppers is turning a once mundane activity into a sport.More

A tablespoon of technology for specialty foods
Supermarket News
Specialty consumers are among the most discerning and opinionated shoppers, but with little view into their kitchens, collecting meaningful feedback has been a challenge. But now manufacturers like Culinary Twist, a Foster City, Calif.-based producer of all-natural marinades, sauces and dips, are altering recipes based on suggestions collected from shoppers about what needs a dash of this or a little less of that. It's possible thanks to QR codes.More

2011 meetings
For details on any of our events, visit our Web page at

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

ALA Hawaii Scholarship Golf Tournament: Aug. 16, Kapolei Golf Course, 91701 Farrington Hwy., Waipahu, Hawaii 96797, Phone: 808-674-2227
(Assists DeCA/ALA beneficiaries in going to college.)

Three $4,000 scholarships to be awarded. You can help make this happen!

Shotgun start: 1-1:30 p.m., dinner and awards: 6 p.m. $135/person (industry), $95/person government. (Registration must be received by Aug. 6 to quality for government rate.)

Entry includes greens fees, cart, boxed lunch, buffet dinner and door prizes. Prizes also awarded for longest drive, closest to the pin, best score and hole in one.

64th Annual Convention: Oct. 3-5, Orlando World Marriott Center, Orlando, Fla. Registration now available on the ALA website.More

Consumer 2020: Reading the Signs
National Retail Federation
We live in times characterized by change and volatility, yet as businesses we need to make investment decisions that will equip us to serve markets and consumers as they will be in 10 years time and beyond. This report is ambitious. By drawing together insights into economic and demographic trends, considerations of finite resources and sustainability, and the ever more dramatic impact of technology on our daily lives, it sets out to make some predictions about how our attitudes and patterns of consumption will change over the next decade.More

Target sales up 5.7 percent, comps up 4.5 percent for June
Kantar Retail
Target reported net sales of June at $6,256 million, up from $5,918 million, a 5.7 percent increase. This is for the five week period ending July 2. Target's comparable store sales increased 4.5 percent. The comp store sales reports were at the high end of the projected range for the month.More

Apparel retailers need to look beyond the QR code
Mobile Commerce Daily
Over the last six months, hundreds of magazine articles and press releases have been issued regarding QR technology. As a result, it is no wonder that QR technology is finally hitting the radar screens of many apparel retailers in the United States and Europe.More

The tax man's steady march
Internet Retailer
New laws that went into effect this month in South Dakota and Vermont require online retailers with at least $100,000 in annual Web sales to notify customers in those states of their responsibility to pay use tax on any online purchases for which a merchant doesn't collect sales tax.More

Back-to-school sales show up extra early at some retailers
USA Today
Some eager retailers are jumping the gun to get shoppers' attention extra early. With good reason: Last year, consumers spent more than $55 billion on back-to-school shopping, the National Retail Federation says. Many retailers are still nervous about consumer spending in a topsy-turvy economy.More

How do men, women view apparel brands?
Department Store Retailing News
Men and women use many of the same criteria in their evaluation of apparel brands, but differ sharply on their views of fit, value and affordability. In The NPD Group Inc.'s 2011 Brand Landscape Report, both men and women ranked "is a brand I've had success with" as their top reason for purchasing apparel bearing a particular label. "Has the features and benefits you want" was second for females and third for males, while those rankings were reversed for "is your style."More

Target, Limited sales beat estimates in June amid discounts
Bloomberg News
Sales at U.S. retailers, led by Target Corp. and Limited Brands Inc., surpassed analysts' estimates last month as discounts and lower gas prices in the U.S. enticed consumers to spend. The companies' shares surged. More

Watches are rediscovered by the cellphone generation
The New York Times
As recently as a half-decade ago, time seemed to be running out for the wristwatch. With cellphones, iPods and other clock-equipped devices becoming ubiquitous, armchair sociologists were writing off the wristwatch as an antique, joining VHS tapes, Walkman players and pocket calculators on the slag heap of outmoded gadgets.More

Albertsons re-staffs checkouts
Supermarket News
Albertsons LLC recently said it plans to eliminate self-checkout systems from all stores by the end of August so it can focus more on customer service, a move Kroger is also testing at a single location. "We feel like having regular checkstands or express lanes where a person can actually have a conversation with a checker is a better approach," Christine Wilcox explained, the company's director of communications.More

FSI use down nearly 4 percent in early 2011
Progressive Grocer
Free-standing insert coupon activity decreased 3.9 percent based on coupons dropped during the first six months of 2011 versus the same time period a year ago. That's according to Marx, a Kantar Media solution, who noted this decline is the first reported in coupons dropped in the first half of the year since 2008 when there was a 3.4 percent decline.More

'America's natural gas highway' moves into drive position
Convenience Store News
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. plans to open 150 liquid natural gas fueling stations at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers throughout the United States, according to CNBC. In what Clean Energy is calling "America's Natural Gas Highway," the fueling stations are intended to provide a lower-cost, low-carbon American alternative to the diesel fuel that's derived from foreign oil.More

NEXCOM announcement

RDML (Sel.) Robillard recently announced his last official day at NEXCOM will be Aug. 2. Dep. Comm. of Military Services, Capt. Christopher Bower, will be the acting commander until a civilian director has been hired. He will be promoted to the rank of rear admiral on Aug. 1 at NEXCOM headquarters. More

FTC to review dealers' treatment of troops
Automotive News
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission will examine whether dealerships try to exploit military personnel and their families in the second of a series of public roundtables on dealer practices. The roundtable will take place Aug. 2-3 in San Antonio, the FTC said in a statement on its website. Roundtable topics include "motor vehicle sales and financing issues pertaining to military consumers, fair lending and financial literacy," the statement said.More

EFMP respite care: Enhancing the quality of life for caregivers
U.S. Army
Starting in July, the Exceptional Family Member Program is standardizing and streamlining the process for delivering respite care to eligible families in need of support. The EFMP is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive, coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical and personnel services to families with special needs. It is focused on helping these families find the support and care needed to ensure all their members can thrive.More

Army family team building discussions via Facebook

Often times as members of the military community, we face stresses and situations that are unique, that our civilian counterparts do not understand. Are you looking for a friendly environment to learn about military life to understand and overcome these unique situations and stressors?

Join the discussion on Facebook:

If you answered yes to any of these questions, join us in upcoming months and participate in guided discussions on these topics and more through the MWR Facebook page. The discussions will take place during a non-holiday week each month.

When the trainings begin, simply post daily to participate in the discussion and receive a certificate of training. No word minimum or maximum, just simply share your thoughts on the topic and key objective of the day.

To find us, go to the MWR page on Facebook and click on the discussions tab or use this link.

This training is brought to you by the Army Family Team Building team at Family and MWR Command. We look forward to seeing you on Facebook!More