ALA Executive Briefing
Dec. 24, 2010

Military expands secure network media ban
Military.com
Troops are now forbidden from using all removable media on the military's secret network known as SIPRNET, after the military added DVDs, CDs, memory cards and portable hard drives to the list of prohibited items. The newly formed U.S. Cyber Command released a special tasking order on Nov. 27 that directed each of the services to establish regulations prohibiting the use of such media. Thumb drives were already banned from use.More

Southern Command opens new HQ
The Miami Herald
The Air Force staged an F-16 flyover. A Navy chaplain declared it a place of 'justice' and 'peace.' And military brass joined with local leaders recnetly to officially open the Pentagon's $402 million state-of-the-art Southern Command headquarters in Doral, Fla. The new hub for military and diplomatic operations in Latin America and the Caribbean has been years in the making, noted a succession of speakers. More

Japan Announces defense policy to counter China
The New York Times
Japan announced a new defense policy recently that will respond to China's rising military might by building more submarines and other mobile forces capable of defending Japan's southernmost islands. The new National Defense Program Guidelines are the biggest step yet in a decade long shift away from cold war-era deployments of heavy tank and artillery units on the northern island of Hokkaido — to counter a now-vanished Soviet threat — and toward bolstering Japanese forces in the southern islands around Okinawa, where China's navy has become a growing presence. More

Seoul plans another drill in contested seas
Th Wall Street Journal
South Korea said recently it would test-fire artillery in the next few days from the Yellow Sea island that North Korea attacked last month, in an assertion of its territorial rights and a challenge to Pyongyang's aggression. North Korea last week cited a similar artillery drill on the island, called Yeonpyeong, as the reason it opened fire Nov. 23 in what was the first attack on South Korean land by the North since the Korean War of the 1950s.More

Target pushes fresh foods
Progressive Grocer
Target Corp. has been aggressively marketing its fresh-food offerings this year in a major nationwide campaign as the retailer continues to reformat its stores to feature an expanded inventory of fresh groceries. So far, 350 of Target's more than 1,700 stores nationwide have been reformatted to include the new food layout featuring meat, poultry and produce. The Minneapolis-based retailer expects to add the arrangement to additional stores at the rate of about 400 a year, The New York Times reported.More

'Humane' food sparks excitement, labeling controversy
Post-Bulletin
American shoppers face a dizzying array of labels in the aisles of their grocery stores, most designed to help them make healthy choices. Soon they'll see yet another label — this one concerning the health of animals in the food chain. "There's organic, there's fair trade, but 'humane' is the next big thing," said Phil Lempert, a supermarket and consumer behavior analyst. "We ask shoppers what they're looking for, and that's what they're telling us."More

Tax deal eases estate burden for produce growers
The Packer
Congress recently approved a major bipartisan deal to extend tax cuts, including an increase in estate tax exemptions that will provide relief for U.S. farmers and fruit and vegetable growers, industry groups says. Estate tax reforms have been a priority for many years, according to a news release from the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C. "Our industry is built on the strength of multi-generational family businesses," Tom Stenzel, chief executive of United Fresh, said in the release.More

Oregon crafts plastic bag ban
NACS Online
Legislators are putting together a measure banning plastic bags statewide that will go before lawmakers next year, the Register-Guard reports. The proposal includes a nickel charge per paper bag if consumers fail to bring reusable bags to the store. If passed, Oregon would be the first state to enact a ban on plastic bags. State Sens. Jason Atkinson and Mark Hass are working on the proposal together. The measure has the approval of the paper manufacturing industry, grocery stores and other advocacy organizations. Hass has expressed his optimism that the bill will pass the Legislature. More

Safeway has healthy cash flow but faces competition
The Los Angeles Times
The nation's third-largest retail grocery chain, Safeway operates about 1,700 stores in the U.S. and Canada, including 312 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, plus more than 30 manufacturing facilities that make one-fourth of its private-brand products. The company has done a fine job of developing those private brands and spent considerable money to modernize its stores. Recent capital-spending reductions have increased Safeway's already healthy cash flow, and the firm regularly buys back shares. That's the good news. The bad news, aside from a weak economy: Everyone seems to want to get into the grocery business.More

Proposed rule would cap debit interchange
Supermarket News
In a first-ever webcast meeting of the Federal Reserve Board, its members voted unanimously in favor of a proposed rule that would limit debit-card interchange fees. Directed by Congress in the financial reform legislation that passed this year to ensure that debit-card interchange fees are "reasonable and proportional" to the costs incurred by issuers, the Board suggested two alternatives, one of which would allow issuers a "safe harbor" interchange fee of 7 cents per transaction, based on the median actual cost, while the other would cap debit-interchange at 12 cents per transaction.More

Clicks versus bricks
Progressive Grocer
StrategyOne's Annual Holiday Shopping Index finds that 74 percent of Americans feel the easiest way to complete their gift purchases is online, while 87 percent feel that brick-and-mortar stores do a better job of putting them in the holiday spirit. But when it comes to finding the best deals overall, Americans are divided — with 52 percent stating they found the best deals online, while 48 percent say they could find the best deals in retail stores.More

Darden partners with Fandango to offer 'dinner and a movie' gift cards at select supermarkets nationwide
PR Newswire
Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Fandango are combining two of America's favorite pastimes and giving shoppers an easy way to treat friends and family to "Dinner & A Movie" this holiday season. The Darden and Fandango "Dinner & A Movie" gift card package includes one $25 Darden gift card and one $25 Fandango gift card and marks the first time the world's largest full-service restaurant company has created a partnership to offer a combined gift card package.More

Feeling the pinch at the pump
Convenience Store News
Bah! Humbug! According to Oil Price Information Service retail data, gasoline prices are nearly $1.35 per gallon higher than they were during 2008's holiday season. While some prices at the pump are inching to $3 or more per gallon, according to the data U.S. pump prices could rally to their second highest level in recorded history by next spring. The new study "Consumer Reaction to High Gasoline Prices: What It Means for Retailers" released by the PortiaGroup with data provided by OPIS looks at the likely consequences of the gas price surge. More

McDonald voted as the top-most food joint
TopNews United States
Recent consumer survey has voted the McDonald's as the top most fast food joint, giving it a 37 percent votes, which is nearly four times the votes which the second most popular food joint, Subway, got. The main reason for this success is the heavy advertisement to children which accounts to 10 percent of the total spending. McDonald is offering healthier food choices for children such as Apple and milk Dippers having low fat caramel dip. But in a recent study conducted by Center for Science at 44 McDonald’s outlets revealed that in 93 percent of the cases French fries are added automatically.More

Exchange recognized as Top 100 Military Friendly Employer

With more than 4,000 veterans on staff, some 900 of which were hired just this year, it should come as no surprise that the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has been included in G.I. Jobs Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2011. The magazine considered 5,000 companies with a minimum of $500 million in annual revenues before naming its top picks.

Criteria used to compile the list include assets dedicated to hiring military members, Reserve/Guard policies, percentage of new veteran hires, internal military and veteran recruiting/training/promotional programs as well as veteran community outreach pro-grams.

"The Exchange is a natural fit for servicemembers looking to transition from one side of the counter to the other and may spell mission complete for their job search," said the Exchange's Senior Vice President of Human Resources James Moore.

The list can assist service members looking to make a transition from the military identify those companies most likely to hire veterans.More

What's New on ArmyMWR.com

Learn what people are talking about by checking in to the "drillDown on ArmyMWR.com"

Click here to learn about new features on the website.

For all the latest Family and MWR news, visit our news page here. More

MWR philosophy

Soldiers are entitled to the same quality of life as is afforded the society they are pledged to defend. Keeping an Army ready to fight and win takes more than hard work and training. Soldiers need a balance of work and play. The FMWRC mission is to create and maintain "First Choice" MWR products and services for America's Army, essential to a ready, self reliant force.More

US Army family and MWR Command

Please share this inspiring video about what it means to serve in our military and our desire for "Peace on Earth"!More