ALA Executive Briefing
Oct. 29, 2010

Webb puts defense nominations on hold
The Washington Post
Sen. Jim Webb has alerted the Department of Defense that he will put a hold on all civilian and flag officer nominations until he gets more information about the decision-making process to Secretary Robert Gates' recommendation that the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk be shuttered. The move elevates Webb's demand for information from the Obama administration and comes just a week before the midterm elections.More

Takai named CIO of Defense Department
Teri Takai, the CIO of California, announced in an e-mail to staff recently that she will be leaving that position to become CIO at the Department of Defense. Under Takai's leadership, California pursued a series of aggressive steps to consolidate and centralize the state's IT operations, while driving energy efficiency. A major data center consolidation plan aims to reduce data center space by 50% by the middle of next year. More

Easing the transition from soldier to civilian
The New York Times
When the fighting began in Afghanistan nearly nine years ago, it was almost unthinkable that the upper-echelons of the military would one day own up to the psychological damage of war. Post-traumatic stress disorder was seen as the vestige of long ago wars, its consequences buried under hundreds of years of stigma and shame. A lot has changed.More

Fort Meade readies for influx
Baltomore Sun
More than 5,000 federal employees are expected to begin moving to Maryland's Fort George G. Meade military base starting in January and are to complete the move by June 2011, officials said. The moves are part of the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure program and will bring to about 48,000 the number of people working at Fort Meade by Sept. 30, 2011.More

Senator doubtful deficit panel will reach required consensus
Government Executive
Citing the charged partisan atmosphere expected to follow the mid-term elections, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin cast doubt recently that the president's deficit commission would be able to agree to a package of tax increases and spending cuts that would bring down the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015. "This deficit commission...could not be starting its work in a more poisoned and toxic atmosphere than a few days after this campaign," Durbin said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. More

The case for winter
Supermarket News
Winter's just around the corner, and high-end steaks and ribs are giving way to roasts and stuffed pork chops. After the high-ticket steak sales of summer, there's an expected drop in dollar sales, but retailers said that's not a worry. The holiday selling season is coming, and meanwhile, they're selling roasts, braising meats, bone-in hams and oxtails in volumes that make up for faltering dollar sales at the end of summer. "We don't see a big dip in meat sales this time of year. We sell a lot of chucks and rounds," said Kenan Judge, assistant vice president, meat operations, at 231-unit Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, Iowa.More

Sara Lee's bread business looks appetizing to Bimbo
Crain's Chicago Business
Sara Lee's North American bakery unit could be sold to Mexican company Grupo Bimbo. Sara Lee has been soliciting bids since early summer, and Grupo Bimbo has emerged as a leader, with a source saying Sara Lee likely will seek more than $1.5 billion. More

Sugar in 'goldilocks economy' on possible shortage
Bloomberg Businessweek
Sugar is in a "Goldilocks economy" as a possible supply shortage and stronger demand drive prices toward the highest levels in several decades, said researcher F.O. Licht. "We are in a Goldilocks economy simply because everything is pointing to lower supplies in 2010-2011 than everyone anticipated earlier, while at the same time the demand side has still to react," said Christoph Berg, managing director of Ratzeburg, Germany-based Licht. Sugar jumped on concern about a potential drop in supply as droughts and floods damaged crops in producing nations from world leader Brazil to Australia.More

Brouhaha: Demand for craft beers signals a change in beer consumption to which supermarkets are responding
Supermarket News
The season for special brews has begun. For many supermarket chains, the fall season ushers in displays of bright orange 6 and 12-packs of seasonal craft brews that range from Oktoberfest lagers, pumpkin ales and Halloween brews — tagged with such names as Nosferatu, HopDevil, Monster and Dead Guy — all celebrating the nuances of the season. This burst of bolder, flavorful varieties is just a prelude to the Winterfest and Christmas beers produced by some of the 1,600 craft brewers around the country.More

Convenience drives shifts in eating habits
Progressive Grocer
Although Americans are still eating many of the same foods they did three decades ago, the "how" and "who" of preparing the food has undergone pronounced changes, according to the latest National Eating Trend report from market researcher The NPD Group. "The fast and hectic pace of the lives we lead has had the single greatest impact on this country's eating behaviors," notes Mark East, president of NPD's Chicago-based North American food and beverage unit. More

Grocery stores become coffee battle grounds
Winnipeg Free Press
A grocery store battle is brewing for Winnipeg's coffee drinkers. Tim Hortons, Canada's iconic coffee shop, has signed a partnership with Canada Safeway to open coffee counters in four of its stores across Western Canada, including one in Winnipeg. This isn't Safeway's first association with a coffee giant. The grocery store chain has had a relationship with Starbucks Coffee Co. for about five years and features its counters in 166 of its stores from Manitoba to British Columbia.More

Will inflation impact grocery store shelves?
Reynolds Center
Cherchez le corn. The ubiquitous yellow grain gets a rap these days for everything from obesity to diabetes to problems at the fuel pump, depending on whose blog or website you're reading. And now, the ripple effect of a slowdown in corn output is being blamed for expected food price inflation, coming soon to supermarket shelves near your readers. A USDA economist said recently that — after a couple of flat years — food prices will rise as much as 3 percent in 2011.More

Consumers find less money for holiday shopping
Progressive Grocer
The overwhelming majority of shoppers will maintain a tight grip on their wallets as they hit the stores this holiday season, with 83 percent expecting to spend the same or less on holiday gifts compared to 2009, the latest Accenture consumer holiday shopping survey shows. "The 2010 holiday shopping season will be spectacularly unspectacular for many consumers, but that will suit retailers who remember well the turbulence of Holiday 2008," said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture's retail practice.More

FDA recommends retailers employ on-site food safety managers
Single Store Owner via Convenience Store News
Calling for continued improvements in food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that all restaurants and retailers employ certified food protection managers. The recommendation, which was met with support from both the National Restaurant Association and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, came recently as the agency released the results of a 10-year study of retail food risk factors. While the study found overall improvement, the FDA said the presence of a certified food protection manager correlated with significantly higher compliance levels with food safety practices, the report stated.More

McDonald's to raise prices in 2011
McDonald's Corp. plans to raise prices in 2011 in anticipation of higher commodity costs and a hope that an improving economy will mean diners returning to fast-food restaurants instead of cooking at home. The company projects that commodity costs will rise 2-3 percent in 2011, Chief Financial Officer Peter Bensen said recently. Potato prices have already risen, and everything from beef to bacon futures are expected to hit some of the highest levels in several years, Mansfield said.More

Restaurant operators advance health care reform plan
Convenience Store News
Restaurateurs, attorneys and other concerned parties met in n New York and Los Angeles last week to consider steps that may be taken to adapt the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Restaurant industry players are concerned the health care law's enactment will cut sharply into earnings and potentially force operators to raise menu prices, eliminate jobs and slow growth, the magazine reported. Some operators believe political pressure will result in changes. More

'Price is Right' salutes America's Armed Forces

Members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard were invited to "come on down" at a recent military-only "Price is Right" taping, scheduled to air on Veteran's Day.

This year's salute to the Armed Forces came complete with an Army color guard and Marine Corps band. The audience, packed with Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, was full of nervous anticipation as the contestants entered the studio.

A look of hope crept across each service member's face as they anticipated the fact that they might be the next contestant to place an opening bid, get on stage or maybe even play "Switch, Switch" on a historic nationally televised program.

As visions of Showcase Showdowns danced through their heads, the affable star of the show, Drew Carey, greeted the crowd and made his allegiance, as a former Marine, known.

Ultimately, two Marines (Camp Pendleton's Cpl. Christopher Morrison and Lance Cpl. Zachery Garrison), a Soldier (Pfc. Christina Dubry from Ft. Irwin), Sailor (USS Ronald Reagan Petty Officer Second Class Sharice Elmore), Airman (Tech. Sgt. Amber Honeycutt from Edwards AFB) and Coast Guardsman (Petty Officer Joshua Tighe from the San Pedro, CA sector) found themselves just a spin away from tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Chief of Staff Col. Virgil Williams, who personally delivered $6,000 in shopping sprees and hundreds of Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone Cards to the CBS studio, was just a few feet away from the action. "Everyone serving, or who has served, had a vested interest in the outcome," said Williams. "The whole show was exciting, but the end was something anyone who watches won't soon forget."

Scheduled to air Nov. 11 on CBS at 11 a.m. (ET); 10 a.m. (PT), the program marks the third year that the "Price is Right" — the longest-running game show in television history — has dedicated an entire show to America's Armed Forces. More

The 2010 Convention slides are all posted
Click here to view slides from ALA's 63rd Annual Convention!More

VCS Show and Sell 2011
Mark your calendars for the big show in St. Charles, Mo., May 15–20, 2011. We are looking for pillow, linen, towel, and sheet, domestics suppliers. Contact Bob Ellis and the American Logistics Association at

'E-Volution: Reaching the Military Consumer in the New Age'
ALA conducted its Annual Convention Oct. 18-21 in Bellevue, Wash. with a theme of "E-Volution: Reaching the Military Consumer in the New Age." Between government and private industry, over 400 senior level executives engaged in three days of presentations focused on leveraging social media to impact operations throughout the resale system, including VCS, MWR-Services and emerging community focused strategies by DoD Health Affairs/TMA/VA. For the first time, we conducted an MWR-Resale Workshop that focused on the development of a comprehensive strategy to leverage emerging technology and SM for more effective engagement and collaboration between community-facing organizations and ALA member companies to impact readiness, wellness and QOL mission efforts.

— The Resale-MWR organizations have developed a forward-looking group called the Future Operations Planning Team. They are focused on developing a collaborative strategy to impact three key areas at this early stage: (1) Family Fun & Fitness, including childhood obesity, (2) Programming options for troops in early off duty hours of 16:00-18:00, (3) Enhanced efforts for school aged children K-12 at various stages throughout the school year and summer recess. This 12 member multi disciplinary and inter-agency team participated in the MWR-Resale workshop and had its 2nd meeting in as many months along with our ALA MWR Rep.

— ALA is committed to developing a training and industry collaboration platform using virtual events and hybrid — physical and virtual — training programs to underpin this ongoing "collaboration" theme across the military channels and between industry. With funding for training and travel becoming scarcer, we seek to leverage the emergence of virtual platforms to continue important training between industry and the government resale — community support providers. — One of more exciting developments was the participation of key marketing and program management staffers from OSD HA/Tricare Medical Activity. As you stressed, military healthcare costs are "unsustainable." We hope to advance the collaboration between all stakeholders to impact "lifestyle" through increased physical activity, diet, smoking cessation and deglamorising drugs and alcohol. We believe that SM and new mobile e-health technology can be fused into the broader strategy described earlier for more cost effective health promotion and disease prevention and/or treatment. We believe all of this plays to more effective support of the VA wellness efforts as well.

Summary: We believe that the opportunity and potential for DoD and ALA-industry collaboration and "Joint Ops" is approaching unprecedented in our 63-year history of support for the Armed Forces. We look forward to moving forward on the strategies worked at the Convention and the MWR-Resale Workshop. More