ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 19, 2011

Military faces stark choices in coming budget battles
Government Executive
Reforming an out-of-control acquisition process, reshaping the workforce as two long wars wind down, coping with shrinking budgets — Defense Department officials have a lot on their plate. Now, those management challenges have been magnified in the aftermath of the nation's debt deal. More

House GOP chairmen balk at defense cuts
Government Executive
In an attempt to protect the Pentagon's coffers from sizable cuts, three top House Republicans are demanding the Obama administration lay out the national security implications should a worst-case deficit-reduction scenario become reality and trigger more than $800 billion in defense cuts. More

Bullets, bombs, surf, turf
Bloomberg Businessweek
They say an army fights on its stomach, and keeping our men and women in uniform fueled up isn't cheap: In 2011 the Defense Dept. allotted $1.7 billion to feed troops in Afghanistan alone. That includes the mess hall grub you'd expect — hot dogs, chicken wings and "liquid egg mix," but also more refined treats such as lobster tails and rib-eyes. Don't go rushing off to enlist in hopes of gorging yourself on steak au guerre, though. A soldier who's sampled the chops at Camp Victory, Iraq, recalls them as "extremely tough to cut, and didn't taste too great."More

Panetta, Lew pressed by GOP to release defense budget review
Bloomberg News
Three top House Republican lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to disclose interim results of a continuing comprehensive review of military spending. The review, begun by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, has "preceded any substantial analysis of the future roles, missions and capabilities we want our military to perform," Representatives Howard "Buck" McKeon of California, C.W. "Bill" Young of Florida and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin wrote. More

Former budget director: Super Committee won't look to defense for cuts
The Hill
The Super Committee charged with paring the federal deficit will focus on entitlements and taxes, meaning the Pentagon budget will be a "fallback" place from which to slice, former White House budget chief Alice Rivlin said.More

Pressure's on for deficit panel
The Washington Post
The 12 congressional lawmakers recently appointed to the new, high-stakes deficit reduction panel will convene next month amid super-partisan pressures that have blocked past efforts at bipartisan compromise on debt reduction. Skepticism that they will reach a mutually acceptable agreement is running high.More

'Doomsday' defense cuts loom large for select 12
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
For the dozen lawmakers tasked with producing a deficit-cutting plan, the threatened "doomsday" defense cuts hit close to home. The six Republicans and six Democrats represent states where the biggest military contractors — Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. — build missiles, aircraft, jet fighters and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers.More

Sugar prices seen staying high as China, Indonesia replenish inventories
Bloomberg News
World sugar prices may range between 23 cents and 28 cents a pound as China, the second-biggest user, and Indonesia increase imports, draining a global surplus of 4 million metric tons, the International Sugar Organization said. More

Let's make a deal
Supermarket News
Despite temporary price reductions and other promotional deals, the average retail price of groceries like coffee inflated as high as 15 percent during the 52 weeks ending July 10. Luckily for consumers, marketers were in deal-making mode and merchandising support helped offset higher prices, if only marginally.More

Kroger unveils its first solar energy systems
Progressive Grocer
The Kroger Co. has completed the installation of solar energy panels at two of its Smith's Food & Drug Stores in Albuquerque, N.M. These two store systems generate 320,000 kWh, eliminating the need for that amount of energy from fossil fuel sources. Kroger estimates this energy savings would heat and cool 30 homes in New Mexico for one year and is the equivalent of planting 57 acres of trees or removing 40 cars from the road.More

Triple Double Oreo officially makes debut
Drug Store News
After news spread that the Triple Double Oreo was coming to store shelves nationwide, Oreo officially has launched its latest creation. Triple Double Oreo, a sandwich cookie that features three pieces of chocolate wafers that are separated by chocolate and vanilla cream, is available nationwide at grocery stores for a suggested retail price of $4.19 per package.More

National beef recall affects several store brands
Store Brands
The Dodge City, Kan.-based National Beef Packing Co. is recalling approximately 60,424 pounds of ground beef products that could be contaminated with E. coli, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. Products subject to recall include ground beef chubs produced July 23 with a freeze-by date of Aug. 12, and ground beef chubs produced July 25 with a freeze-by date of Aug. 14.More

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AREA, NEREA, and HRALA Scholarship lunch announced

The Hampton Roads ALA will be hosting their 12th Annual Benefit Luncheon for AREA, NEREA, and HRALA scholarships Dec. 1 at the Virginia Beach Sheraton Oceanfront. Guest speakers are NEXCOM SVP & CMO Tess Paquette and AAFES SVP LG Dan Tompkins. Companies interested in sponsoring the event with a full page ad or half page ad should contact Cory Belkov at belkovc@wattspohn.com. Deadline to sponsor is Nov. 1. All proceeds will be split equally between the three scholarship programs.More

VA revamps its social media policy
The Washington Post
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced a new social media policy that is meant to promote the secure use of sites such as Facebook and YouTube by the agency to better communicate with veterans. "This isn't about using social media because it's cool or because it's a fad," said Brandon Friedman, VA director of online communications, in a news release announcing the policy. "It's about getting the right information to the right veteran at the right time. This policy sets us on a path toward changing how we talk — and listen — to vets." More

Wal-Mart loses edge
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is losing its longstanding reputation for offering consumers the lowest prices, complicating its efforts to end a two-year sales slump in the U.S. Surveys by retail consultants, analysts and brand experts now find that Wal-Mart's aura of price leadership has faded since the recession, because customers who searched for better deals sometimes found them at competitors such as Dollar General Corp., Aldi Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.More

Jim Gold talks shop: Men's luxury accessories
Women's Wear Daily
Luxury department stores are making room for accessories and new shoe departments, including men's accessories. "It used to be more utilitarian. Now men are starting to think of bags from a fashion perspective. They want to make a statement with a briefcase, a cross-body bag, a travel bag, a carry-on to a plane, a duffle," said Neiman Marcus specialty retail president Jim Gold. (Subscription required.)More

Turbulent economy testing retailers' foresight
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If any year has put retailers' prediction skills to the test, it would be this one. Merchandise orders must be placed anywhere from weeks to months to a year before the goods appear on shelves for a shot at being someone's Christmas present. More

Why retailers should target female consumers
Harvard Business Review
Back-to-school shopping will be uneven at best in the U.S. this year. The vast majority of consumers are gloomy, fearful about consumption and cutting back on many purchases. Why does this make the female consumer more important than ever to marketers?More

Office Depot launches mobile back-to-school promotion
Chain Store Age
Marketing technology company SpyderLynk and Momentum Worldwide recently announced Office Depot has launched a national back-to-school mobile campaign that was developed by Momentum, using SpyderLynk's 2-D mobile bar code SnapTag technology. The campaign offers back-to-school shoppers the opportunity to save through in-store mobile gift card giveaways and other discounts.More

Pay-at-the-pump card skimming reaches 'epidemic' levels
CSNews Retail Technology
Pay-at-the-pump card-skimming scams are becoming so bad, they have reached near epidemic levels, ABC Action News reported. The level of fraud is so serious that the Highlands County Sheriff in Sebring, Fla., labeled skimming "the crime of the future."More

Wal-Mart to show if US stores are back to growth
Reuters
Turning around a prolonged U.S. sales slump is key to Wal-Mart Stores Inc's success, and results will show if the retailer's strategies to mend its biggest business have really started to pay off. Wal-Mart is making every effort to offer the best prices on a wider variety of goods in order to win over shoppers who have gone to other chains, such as dollar stores, and who continue to cut back on spending as high unemployment and other economic troubles persist.More

The fight to bring fresh food to children
Women's Day
It's no secret that children today face an uphill battle against obesity. Fast food and boxed goods have become the norm, short-changing children on valuable nutrition. As a result, we're witnessing an increase in weight-related issues — heart disease, diabetes — and a lack of awareness about where food comes from. It's also, in just a few generations, made home cooking a fringe movement.More

Surviving spouse gives back to military community
U.S. Army MWR
The death of any Soldier is painful, but for Kim Felts, a Family Readiness Program Specialist at Fort Bragg, it has become a reason to give back to the military community.More

Army Family and MWR programs: Feds Feed Families
U.S. Army MWR
Hunger's negative effects can be seen in school, at work and at home. Help us support local food banks by donating to DoD Feds Feed Families.More

Commissaries, Exchanges, MWR partner for family fun fitness festivals
The Defense Commissary Agency
The Family Fun Fitness Festival is designed to help installations offer the military community worldwide a smorgasbord of commissary case lot sales; exchange sidewalk sales; morale, welfare and recreation fitness activities; demos and music; and industry-sponsored nutritious food samples, prize giveaways and discount coupon offers. Packaged under the theme, "Fitness and Fun for the Family," the festival will also help increase the military community's awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through fitness and nutrition.More