ALA Executive Briefing
Dec. 17, 2010

New bill advances on 'don't ask, don't tell'
The Washington Post
House lawmakers recently approved a bill, again, to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law, delivering renewed momentum to the years-long campaign to end the ban on gays in the military ahead of a possible Senate vote. More

PIV card use about to be mandated
Federal Computer Week
The White House will soon mandate the use of Personal Identify Verification cards, according to audience members who heard White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt speak at an event closed to reporters. According to attendees, Schmidt said White House guidance is coming very soon, with an enforcement order and funding "to make sure we do it." More

Senator: May be too late to pass defense bill
Army Times
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said with congress planning to go home for the year by Dec. 17, there may not be enough time left to complete work on the annual defense bill, even if the Senate finds a way around a procedural roadblock that has delayed action on the Senate version of the bill since September. Congress has passed a defense authorization bill every year for the last 48 years, including a variety of provisions involving military personnel policy, pay and benefits, construction projects and starting or modifying weapons programs. As the legislative clock ticks, Levin said the Senate is fast approaching time when a vote on the defense bill would be nothing more than a "symbolic victory." More

A whole lot of spin
National Journal
When he takes the gavel in January, California Republican Buck McKeon will in many ways be an accidental chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. McKeon never served in the military and spent most of his career on Capitol Hill working on education policy. Here, McKeon talks about 'don't ask, don't tell' and the military budget.More

Military pay to go up, but not by much
Tacoma News Tribune
Military members are guaranteed at least a 1.4 percent pay raise effective Jan. 1, even if a bitterly divided Congress can't pass a defense authorization bill. What almost certainly will end, however, is an 11-year string of annual military pay increases that exceeded private sector wage growth by at least a half-percentage point. The House this summer had voted to make it 12 consecutive extra-size pay raises, by including a 1.9 percent military pay hike in its version of the 2011 defense bill, over opposition from military leaders and the White House.More

US rethinks strategy for the unthinkable
The New York Times
Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don't come out till officials say it's safe.More

Spartan introduces local, seasonal ice cream
Supermarket News
A locally produced line of private-label ice cream called Indulgent Creations has debuted at Spartan Stores. In addition to the four core flavors Double Vanilla, Toasted Butter Pecan, Mint Chip and Double Dark Chocolate, the Michigan-made brand includes seasonal varieties available for a three-month period each year.More

BI-LO to deploy Google Apps
Progessive Grocer
BI-LO is one of the first grocery chains to make the move away from traditional office productivity software to Google's Business Apps service, a web-based communications platform complete with e-mail, word processing, scheduling, and document sharing capabilities. The move, which is expected to produce hundreds of thousands in annual savings, is designed to improve business efficiency through enhanced communication and collaboration and allow BI-LO to focus more time and energy on providing customers with a superior shopping experience.More

An old grocery pioneer goes under, a new one emerges
Seeking Alpha
On Sunday Dec. 12, one of the icons of the grocery business, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P officially went down after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. One of the pioneers of the supermarket industry, A&P used to be the market leader, and in the 1950's it generated greater than 20 percent more sales than the nearest competitor. Over the past couple of years, particularly with the onset of recession in 2008, the supermarket industry has taken a tough turn, however. Discount grocers have been in the middle of a heated price war, which along with volatile food prices, has constricted gross margins industry wide.More

San Jose bans plastic bags
San Jose Mercury News
San Jose became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic carry-out bags recently with an ordinance that supporters said was the most far-reaching in the country aimed at encouraging shoppers to bring reusable totes. The ordinance, approved on a 10-1 vote after two years of study, wouldn't become effective until Jan. 1, 2012, to allow for more public outreach. "This is a great step," Councilman Sam Liccardo said. "It's an opportunity to lead on an important environmental issue."More

Ga-ga for gluten-free
Mansfield News Journal
After years of trial and error, mixing and experimenting, Saralyn Mast has become an expert in creating tasty and nutritious foods for her family that also help treat her chronic condition. "Once I got past making a few flops, I can make anything we want to eat," she said. "I bake almost everything entirely by myself." Nine years ago, the Hopewell woman was diagnosed with celiac disease but is able to keep it in check by making gluten-free foods that heal her from the inside out.More

On Christmas shopping lists, no credit slips
The New York Times
Christmas will no longer be on credit for many shoppers, despite tempting offers from retailers and credit card companies trying to coax the plastic out of consumers' wallets. The lowest percentage of shoppers in the 27-year-history of a national survey said they used credit cards over the Thanksgiving weekend, while the use of general credit cards like Visa and MasterCard fell 11 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to the credit bureau TransUnion. More

For restaurants, social media is about more than just marketing
Mashable
Social media certainly has its benefits for those who love dining and drinking. From free drinks for Foursquare check-ins, to Twitter notifications about happy hours, to Facebook messages about free food, there's always something tasty happening online. But the social web offers a lot more than just discounts and deals when it comes to drinking and dining. Restaurants and bars are giving social media users a backstage pass to the food and the people who make it. Chefs and restaurateurs are using social media to reveal how their dishes are made, generate familiarity with chefs and provide a means for diners to share feedback.More

Green products still appeal at right price
Supermarket News
Despite the economy, consumers are still willing to buy products that are marketed as environmentally friendly — but only at an agreeable price. "More consumers say they will buy green only if price, quality and convenience are equivalent to competing products," said Lynn Dornblaser, director, CPG trend insight, Mintel International Group, Chicago. "They are more focused on price than in the past."More

Four principles rule the merchandising roost
The Packer
The "four P's." No, this isn't the name of a 50s rock band. The four P's represent what every produce retailer should know long before they develop a merchandising plan, something every merchandiser has to diagram for a new store or any remerchandising project. It stands for: product, placement, price and promotion. More

TravelCenters of America introduces 'On Your Time' automated fuel receipt
Convenience Store News
TravelCenters of America LLC is offering new systems designed to enhance the professional drivers' experience and time management at all TA and Petro branded full service locations called "On Your Time" Fuel Receipt System, which offers UltraONE members the choice to: print fuel receipts at the UltraONE kiosk in any location (even a TA or Petro location different than the UltraONE member’s fueling location), receive copies of fuel receipts automatically by email or view, print or download copies of receipts or a convenient summary of fuel purchases from their Member Account information at www.ultraonerewards.comMore

Update: 2011 Automotive/Hardware, Outdoor Living/Garden & Sporting Goods Training Seminar
Navy Exchange Service Command
To Our Vendor Partners,

Regrettably, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to cancel the February 2011 Automotive/Hardware, Outdoor Living/Garden & Sporting Goods Training Seminar. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; and, we encourage you to contact your manufacturers as soon as possible so they may cancel flight and other travel arrangements.

Please be sure to cancel all hotel reservations directly with the Chesapeake Marriott. If you have sent a check to NEXCOM, we will ensure it is sent back to you.

We hope to have the seminar back on our 2012 Calendar.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Phillips, CGMP
Special Events Manager
Operations Group (Code N)
Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) More

Save the date

The All Exchange Roundtable will be held in Dallas, Texas March 28 – 30 held at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas. The steering committee is working on what promises to be an exciting agenda.More

Eye on the week ahead

Any action on the proposed tax package will be key. Inflation data is expected to remain tame, and the Fed is expected to keep interest rates stable. The year's final quadruple witching options expiration at week's end could bring volatility.

Key dates and data releases: Wholesale inflation, retail sales, Federal Reserve Open Market Committee announcement (12/14); consumer inflation, international capital flows, industrial production (12/15); housing starts (12/16); leading economic indicators, quadruple witching options expiration (12/17). More

AF clan named NMFA Family of the Year
Military.com
An Air Force family was named the National Military Family Association's 2010 Family of the Year recently for their selfless service to the nation and to their community. The association honored a family from each service before announcing the Mullins, of Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, had earned the top honor. Families such as the Mullins "embrace their service to the nation, are role models in their community, and understand that together they truly can make a difference in the lives of others," Mary Scott, the association's chairman of the board, told a packed audience during the association's 2010 Leadership Luncheon.More

GSA aims to make agency websites more user-friendly
Government Executive
The General Services Administration is dedicating the first Friday of every month to ensuring agency websites are more user-friendly. GSA cautiously and quietly launched the program in August, but success has placed its services in high demand lately. The First Fridays Product Testing Program provides discounted testing to agencies whose websites have a lot of traffic and known flaws. The program evaluates how volunteer users interact with specific site content.More

Families of wounded veterans shoulder burden
Tampa Tribune
The mother kneels at the edge of her son's bed and helps him tie his sneakers. "Come on, Josh, you can do it," says Christine Cooley, urging on her son. But Josh Cooley is no child. He is 6-foot-6 and weighs 280 pounds. His life changed July 5, 2005, in Hit, Iraq.More