ALA Executive Briefing
Jan. 23, 2015

Carter, not Hagel, to brief the defense budget on Capitol Hill
Foreign Policy
One of Ashton Carter's first jobs as defense secretary? Head to Capitol Hill to present and defend the Pentagon's 2016 budget, a planning document he's had little opportunity to shape.More

Republican lawmakers again propose slashing 115,000 civilian defense jobs
Government Executive
A group of Republican lawmakers has once again proposed slashing the civilian workforce at the Defense Department by 15 percent, a move they estimate will save $82.5 billion over five years.More

Congress, Pentagon will have to agree to disagree on budget issues
National Defense
Just two weeks before the Obama administration submits its budget proposal to Congress for fiscal year 2016, at least on the defense side, the battle lines have been drawn. The Pentagon can forget scrapping the A-10 attack aircraft, taking warships out of service or closing any more military bases in the United States. The military, too, will have to keep funding the remanufacturing of main battle tanks and continue to buy other hardware it says it doesn’t need.More

Thornberry: HASC can block Pentagon plans
Defense News
In his first major speech as House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry struck a defiant tone and made clear the panel will block any White House and Pentagon plans it deems unwise.More

HASC chair: Expect Pentagon oversight
Military Times
Rep. Mac Thornberry has a message for everyone who accused lawmakers last year of ignoring Pentagon recommendations, meddling too much with the military budget and causing too many headaches for the administration: Get used to it.More

State of the Union offers few new military, vet proposals
Military Times
President Barack Obama praised the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan and vowed to continue "to hunt down terrorists" but offered no new military or veterans proposals in his annual State of the Union speech Tuesday. Several lawmakers criticized the President for failing to discuss the military budget and oncoming spending cuts.More

Hagel initiatives enable veteran, military support organizations
U.S. Department of Defense
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signed two policy memorandums directing Defense Department leaders to implement standardized procedures to allow veteran and military service organizations, and military-support nonprofits better access to provide needed support to troops and military families. In a recent letter sent to national VSOs and MSOs, Hagel outlined his directives, which are designed to remove "unnecessary barriers and inconsistencies" in dealing with these organizations.More

Top 10 wins for military families in 2014
National Military Family Association
From budget battles to the looming MCRMC report, was 2014 all doom and gloom for military families? Not necessarily. While the budget pressures are REAL and will continue into 2015 and beyond, here are the top 10 wins for military families in 2014. More

Town hall to address cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
The News Tribune
The Army hosted a town hall meeting on Wednesday to discuss the proposed cuts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Military officials heard from local residents about the impact personnel cutbacks at the base would have on the community. Joint Base Lewis-McChord is facing the loss of up to 11,000 troops and civilians. More

Soldiers and families push back against Army drawdown at town halls
Governors and community leaders nationwide have been lining up to voice their opposition to the Army's planned drawdown due to budget cuts. "At this point, the Army has not made final decisions on the specifics for re-alignments resulting from force reductions below 490,000," the Army statement said. The sequester cuts for the military were eased in 2015 budgets, but are slated to resume in 2016 unless Congress acts.More

Special Report: State of Defense 2015
Defense One
Defense One's annual comprehensive report, "State of Defense" explores how the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are planning on moving beyond sequestration and uncertainty and into the era of constant combat in surprise conflicts. "Nobody wants more certainty about their futures more than the men and women in uniform," states the report. "Congress and the president may finally move them beyond the sequestration era, easing fears in pocketbooks and at PXs."More

Terrorism threat prompts increased security at military installations in Europe
Stars and Stripes
U.S. military installations across Europe are increasing security in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Paris and disrupted plots in Belgium, Germany and France, U.S. European Command said recently.More

Material Handling Equipment Preventive Maintenance and Repair Services
This solicitation is being issued as 100 percent set-aside for small businesses. The solicitation is for the performance of preventive maintenance (PM) and repair services on Government owned Material Handling Equipment (MHE) as required for the following Defense Commissary Agency commissaries: Fort Rucker, Gunter AFB, Maxwell AFB and Redstone Arsenal. More

Flat Shelf Utility Cart, Mobile
This solicitation is being issued as Unrestricted for flat shelf utility carts, mobile for use by Defense Commissary Agency commissaries worldwide (including Europe). However, for overseas stores, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, the Contractor would only be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment to the port. A Firm Fixed Price Contract is contemplated. More

Notice of intent to extend period of performance on N65236-12-D-4112
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center — Atlantic (SSC-LANT), Charleston, South Carolina, intends to exercise FAR 52.217-8, Option to Extend Services, on contract N65236-12-D-4112 with DRS Technologies Inc. This six-month, no-cost extension is for continued support to provide Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Internet Caf Satellite Services.More

UK supermarkets prepare for new cooling landscape
By Andrew Gaved
Major supermarkets in the United Kingdom are calling upon the cooling industry to come up with solutions that will help them face a new landscape characterized by tight margins, smaller store footprints and new refrigerant choices imposed by the European F-gas regulations. U.K. supermarket refrigeration engineers are united in their belief that intense competition in the sector and changing customer behavior will have an influence on the way they do business.More

Is this the year digital grocery shopping returns?
It's been promised to us for years: Online grocery shopping with speedy delivery straight to our kitchens. Remember when the futuristic Jetsons family ordered their meats and veggies with a press of a button? Or the Internet fridge in the movie "The 6th Day" that reminds Arnold Schwarzenegger to order more milk? It's 2015, folks, where's our instagrocery service? Well, it sounds like we may finally be getting there.More

Top 10 supermarket trends coming in 2015
Omaha World-Herald
The millennial generation — people who started reaching adulthood around 2000 — is driving changes in the food industry, with a growing desire to eat fresh, handcrafted, local foods.More

Supermarket wine: It's come a long way, baby
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Contributor Lettie Teague writes: While I buy mainly from small- and medium-size wine merchants in New York and New Jersey, my sister, a resident of suburban Dallas, prefers to shop for wine at her local grocery store. Supermarkets and mass merchandisers (e.g., Wal-Mart) accounted for an estimated 42 percent of all retail wine sales in the U.S. and $8.6 billion in annual sales in 2014, according to Danny Brager, SVP of alcoholic beverages for Nielsen. In other words, my sister is a very typical wine consumer — she usually buys wine at the same time she buys groceries for her family.More

Sales of gluten-free products continue to grow double digits on quality, selection
Improving the quality and selection of gluten-free foods available in mainstream channels will help sales in the category grow nearly 1.5 times through 2019, according to market analysis by Packaged Facts. More

Startup recycles grocery store food waste into organic fertilizer
In just three hours, California Safe Soil turns fresh food waste into a liquid fertilizer, which promises to boost yields, cut costs and reduce water pollution in agriculture.More

Cracking the code to CPG growth
Food Business News
Private label products generated $120 billion in sales during the past year, a year-over-year increase of 2.1 percent, but the growth may be leveling off, according to a new report from Information Resources Inc. More

FSIS: Almost 18.7 million pounds of products recalled in 2014 (free registration)
Almost 18.7 million pounds of products were recalled last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service. The total number of recalls stood at 94, up from 75 in 2013.More

America's most promising company: Instacart, the $2 billion grocery delivery app
Instacart, the number one company on this year's Forbes America's Most Promising Companies list, has rocketed up the Silicon Valley money list in just two and a half years with its one-hour grocery delivery service. This month, Instacart announced a new $220 million Series C funding round that valued the company at more than $2 billion — just six months after it previously raised $44 million.More

Defense Commissary Agency awards Team nLogic and Harris Network Infrastructure Services contract
The Huntsville Times
nLogic was awarded a small-business set-aside contract by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to provide the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) with network infrastructure services.More

Apple Pay goes live at another grocery chain
Apple Pay has gone live at yet another regional grocery group. The 217 Lucky, Save Mart and FoodMaxx supermarkets in Northern California and Nevada now all officially support Apple's mobile payment system, their corporate parent announced recently.More

MILITARY STAR® Card offers special on major appliances

The NEX and MILITARY STAR® Card are celebrating President's Day in a way that benefits its customers. From Feb. 11–24, customers will enjoy no interest and no payments for one year when using their MILITARY STAR® Card to purchase major appliances priced at $799 or more.

The MILITARY STAR® Card offers many benefits, including 10 percent off the first day's purchases (up to the customer's credit limit), no annual fee, low interest rate, more than 40 special promotions and discounts yearly as well as 24-hour customer service including online access.

MILITARY STAR® Card applications are available at any NEX Customer Service Desk and can be processed quickly.More

New Exchange Extra app puts savings and more at shoppers' fingertips
With the swipe of a finger, military shoppers can launch a brand-new way to connect with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service through its free Exchange Extra app. The app gives shoppers quick access to information on the latest Exchange promotions, contests, coupons, BE FIT information and more. The free app is available at the App Store for Apple products or Google Play for Android devices.More

Target not alone in Canadian misfire
Target has company when it comes to its Canadian troubles. Target's announcement of defeat in Canada may be one of the largest retreats from the country by a U.S. retailer, impacting 133 stores and more than 17,000 employees. But the news follows other major U.S. chains that have had trouble across the northern border and abroad.More

Companies tiptoe back toward 'Made in the USA'
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Thorley Industries LLC began planning several years ago to launch a baby car seat with a set of electronic controls and a potential novelty: The Pittsburgh-based firm considered making the seats in the U.S.More

Analysts: Dollar General may be dropping Family Dollar pursuit
Supermarket News
Dollar General's failure to raise its bid or dispute the considerable store divestiture figures associated with its bid to acquire Family Dollar Stores likely spells the end of its pursuit, analysts said recently.More

Best Buy warns of pressure on sales, profit
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Best Buy Co. warned that weak demand for consumer electronics and declining prices will weigh on sales over the next six months, rekindling investor worries about the chain's long-term profitability and sending its shares tumbling.More

Ports want labor resolution
The Hill
Port and shipping industry leaders called for a swift resolution to a labor fight that is threatening the flow of cargo packages at ports along the West Coast. More

The definition of luxury retail is being 'shattered'
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)
As recently as 10 years ago, the profile of a luxury shopper was fairly clear-cut: It was the kind of man or woman who owned a lavish penthouse condo, had a fat investment portfolio and freely threw down cash on pricey Chanel handbags or Louis Vuitton luggage.More

Bernanke: Europe, stronger dollar risks for US exporters
The weak economic state of Europe has emerged as a major concern while the prospect of a stronger dollar is a risk for U.S. exporters, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said recently.More

How yesterday's blue-collar brands became today's coolest clothes
Just a few years back, the L.C. King Manufacturing Co., founded in 1913 and the oldest family-owned cut-and-sew garment factory in the U.S., was nearly extinct. But today, L.C. King's machines are humming once again, and business is booming — to its core line of bibbed overalls and chore coats, it has added accessories, like skirts and wallets, and upgraded its fabrics to include hickory stripe, white drill and raw selvedge denim.More

Retail holiday sales increase 4 percent
Confident consumers stocked up on holiday gifts and other merchandise over the 2014 holiday season, helping boost overall holiday retail sales to their highest level since 2011. According to the National Retail Federation, December retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, decreased 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and increased 4.6 percent unadjusted year over year. More

2015 could shape up to be the year for retail in the Washington, D.C., region
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)
Of the four major commercial property types — apartment, office, retail and warehouse — retail is expected to experience the lowest vacancy and biggest rent increases in the Washington region in 2015. More

Brand loyalty, trust keys to Canadian consumers
Multichannel Merchant
Canadian consumers are more brand loyal than their U.S. counterparts, but connecting with them involves more relationship-building and trust, according to a Canada Post executive.More

Kantar Retail: Retail sales expected to rise 4.5 percent in 2015
Chain Store Age
The outlook for the retail industry looks bright, with lower prices at the pump and decreasing unemployment boding well for consumer spending. Retail sales are expected to rise 4.5 percent in 2015, which is about one percentage point stronger than 2014 growth, according to a report by Kantar Retail, whose analysis excludes automobile dealers, and gas and food service.More

5 ways to boost breakfast sales
With breakfast expected to grow to at least $35 billion by 2018, according to Mintel, convenience retailers can expect competition during the morning day-part to only grow fiercer. More

Consumers high on low gas prices
After more than 100 consecutive days of gasoline price declines, consumers are truly taking notice. Consumer sentiment increased to levels not seen since January 2004, jumping from 93.6 in December 2014 to 98.2 in January, according to preliminary figures from The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. More

Want a Bud Light delivered to your home? There's an app for that
Anheuser-Busch has a special delivery planned: with the touch of a button, Bud Light beer lovers can get an order delivered straight to their home.More

Hawaiian Host to buy nut processor from Hershey
Food Business News (free registration)
Hawaiian Host, a maker of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, has reached agreement to acquire Mauna Loa from The Hershey Co. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.More

7-Eleven debuts 7-Select GO!Smart private-label banner
7-Eleven Inc. has introduced two premium, better-for-you snack bars under a new private-label banner, 7-Select GO!Smart.More

States eye gas-tax increases
As Congress revisits raising the federal gas tax to rescue the drained Highway Trust Fund, some states — even some led by Republican governors and with Republican-dominated legislatures — are weighing increases of their own.More

Survey: Base services, health care are military family's top benefits
Base amenities and health care are the two most valuable benefits to military spouses according to data from a new survey released recently.More

Survey shows why AUSA supports Army families
A new military family survey highlights the reasons why the Association of the U.S. Army is committed to helping soldiers and their families. Conducted by the Military Family Advisory Network, the survey shows that some of the programs most used by Army families are the programs that also draw the biggest complaints. More

Looking back: 2014 Year in Review
U.S. Army
As the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, New York, community prepares for another event-filled year, The Mountaineer staff paused to reflect on the people who made headlines during 2104. Following is a brief glimpse back at the events of the year gone by.More