ALA Executive Briefing
May 6, 2011

Security on higher alert across US
The New York Times
There have been no known specific or credible threats received since American troops killed Osama bin Laden but recently, security at public spaces — including mosques, synagogues, train stations and basketball arenas — remained at elevated levels.More

House panel set to approve 1.6 percent pay boost for military
Government Executive
A House Armed Services subcommittee says it will include a 1.6 percent pay raise for military members in its version of the 2012 Defense authorization bill. The figure is the same as President Barack Obama's request in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal. More

Pentagon breaks up Joint Forces Command
Government Executive
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' effort to trim the military budget got rolling recently. The Pentagon announced that, as part of the "disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command" as a four-star combatant command, it is reassigning its organizations and functions to various other commands, military services and the Joint Staff. More

Defense Department's Vickers is a national security star — again
The Washington Post
In 1986, Michael Vickers was a prodigy at the CIA, the chief strategist of the covert program to arm the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union. Contrary to all expectations, the effort reversed the course of the war and helped hasten the humiliating defeat of the Red Army. Rather than bask in the glory of victory, however, Vickers, then 33, stunned his bosses by quitting. Reckoning that he never would land another assignment remotely as important, he applied to graduate school and cast about for a new career.More

Pentagon performance management transition faulted
Government Executive
The Defense Department does not have a clear plan for evaluating the performance of employees transitioned out of the controversial National Security Personnel System, according to a new audit. Defense has begun working with unions to design a new system, but officials told GAO that plans still are in the early stages.More

Obama's next big choice: Who should run the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
Government Executive
President Barack Obama's formal unveiling of his retooled national security team still leaves one key job open: the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of the Staff. The current occupant, Adm. Mike Mullen, retires this fall.More

Poor economy helps change dynamics of BRAC
Federal Times
As the Defense Department enters the last phase of its Base Closure and Realignment Commission process, officials have noticed a surprising trend. Because of the weak economy and job market, twice as many civilian employees in some places are relocating to keep their jobs than expected. More

Grocers scramble to offset higher food, fuel costs
The Globe and Mail
Call it the incredible shrinking package. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. recently scaled back to 750 grams from 800 grams the amount of cereal in a box of one of its President's Choice granolas, but also has raised the price to $5.79 from $4.99 since last year. Loblaw is far from alone in downsizing packages and upsizing prices. It is a common practice in the grocery industry, underscoring how supermarkets today are racing to find ways to ease the pain of higher food and fuel costs while shoring up profit margins.More

FDA's new guide aims at seafood safety
Supermarket News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published the fourth edition of its "Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance," which is a complete, easy-to-use overhaul of the original, officials said.More

Safeway expands grape tomato-related recall
PG Store Brands
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway — in cooperation with Taylor Farms' expanded voluntary recall of products containing grape tomatoes — is expanding its voluntary recall to include fresh kabobs made with grape tomatoes sold at the retailer's full-service meat counter in several states. The tomatoes pose a possible Salmonella contamination risk.More

Kroger helps troops, flood-stricken
Progressive Grocer
The Kroger Co. and Procter & Gamble have joined together to support the USO in its mission to help American troops and their families. Through the partnership, Cincinnati-based Kroger will donate $250,000 to the USO, which has a 70-year history of delivering innovative programs, critical services and entertainment events to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families.More

Sorting out meat food labels at the grocery store
A trip to the meat aisle can feel like an IQ test. Everything has labels, but what do they actually mean?More

The best cash-back credit cards for groceries
As the rising cost of fuel continues to drive up food prices, mounting grocery bills are becoming a problem for many families. However, one good way to stretch your grocery dollars even further this summer is to combine in-store coupons and special offers with a rewards credit card that offers 3 to 5 percent cash back.More

ALA Congressional Caucus

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Gordon will join us on the morning of June 14 in Washington, D.C., at the Rayburn House Office Building and address the congressional caucus. In light of the recent budget stress, this is a must-attend event. Click here to visit our webpage and register today!

For details on any of our events, visit our Web page at

AAFES MCSS Seminar from June 6-10 in Minneapolis.

AAFES Power Zone Seminar from June 27 to July 1 in Orlando, Fla.

AAFES Jewelry Seminar from July 18-21 in Dallas.

ALA Hawaii Chapter Food Show from Aug. 14-20 in Honolulu.
(For more info, please contact Sharon at

Budweiser steps up to the plate to honor America's heroes
Nothing beats the excitement of watching your favorite player knock one out of the park, and this season Budweiser is adding to the thrill by helping the families of our nation's heroes. For every home run hit during the 2011 Major League Baseball season, Budweiser will donate $100 to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country.More

Wal-Mart CEO: Consumers feeling greater pressure
Market Watch
Consumers' spending power has been affected in the face of rising fuel prices and other inflationary pressures, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Chief Executive Mike Duke said. The world's largest retailer, which gets 140 million customers in its U.S. Walmart stores alone every week, has seen more shoppers spending more on the first day of the month when they receive their paychecks, Duke said at The Wall Street Journal Viewpoints executive breakfast presentation in New York. More

Happiness is a warm gun — Wal-Mart adds guns alongside butter
Department Store Retailing News
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. quietly is bringing back rifles, shotguns and ammunition to hundreds of U.S. stores as the hurting retail giant seeks to reinvigorate its one-stop shopping appeal and attract more male customers. The world's largest retailer stopped selling hunting rifles and bullets at all but a third of its U.S. stores five years ago, citing diminishing sales.More

OfficeMax's Bob Thacker: Make news, not ads
OfficeMax — David to Staples' Goliath — has more than a tough competitive landscape to deal with. It also has to deal with the fact that the office environment tends to make everything that enters it an automatic commodity. The company's senior vice president of marketing, Bob Thacker, says its battle over the past few years has been against the tyranny of the cubicle.More

Troubled Sears turns focus to home services, shopping rewards
Chicago Breaking Business
Sears Holdings Corp. is putting investment behind its home services business and shopping rewards program under new CEO Louis D'Ambrosio as the retailer looks to turn around years of sales declines. In his first public appearance as CEO of the company that operates Sears and Kmart, D'Ambrosio told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Hoffman Estates that Sears is more than a retailer.More

Diapers sold, promoted online are pulling busy families away from stores
Supermarket News
Soggy appropriately is the forecast for the baby diaper category as young families search for best buys. Through its "Amazon Mom," a program launched late last year, combined with "subscribe and save" delivery, Amazon offers families 30 percent off their diaper and wipe purchases, often with free shipping within two days. These are retails that undercut just about everyone, including Wal-Mart. 

Retailers increasing mobile, social efforts
Progressive Grocer
In an effort to better serve multi-touchpoint, always-on, and empowered consumers, a growing number of retailers are experimenting with mobile and social initiatives — some that are paying immediate dividends and some that are still in the speculative phase, according to a new study by Forrfester Research for

National average gas prices rocket toward $4 per gallon
Convenience Store News
With four weeks to go until the unofficial start of summer, and two months to the July Fourth holiday, many U.S. residents are planning their family vacations. However, this year they may not be going as far as they would like — and gas prices may be to blame.More

Study: Mother's Day spending to increase, return to 2008 levels
The Gourmet Retailer
According to the National Retail Federation's 2011 Mother's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person celebrating the holiday is expected to spend $140.73 on gifts, up from $126.90 last year and a return to 2008 spending levels. This year, more indulgent gifts are expected to be popular.More

Restaurants serving up social media connections
Restaurant News
According to Packaged Facts, a leading market research publisher, 31 percent of frequent diners use computers to place their orders, while another 21 percent use their cellphones or other portable device. But many restaurants today are left still sitting at the cutting board trying to figure out a successful recipe for social marketing, while the early adopters are reaping the rewards of a lucrative, successful social media push.More

Navy Lodge Program presents awards at worldwide conference

The Navy Lodge Program held its annual Worldwide Leadership Conference at the Don Shula Hotel in Miami Lakes, Fla., in April. During the conference, Navy Lodges and associates were honored for performances that have made them models of excellence within the military hospitality leader's organization during 2010.

"The Navy Lodge Program's Worldwide Leadership Conference was a great opportunity to recognize some of our outstanding associates in the Navy family," said Rear Adm. Glenn C. Robillard, commander, Navy Exchange Service Command. "Congratulations to each of the award winners — you are the best of the best. Thank you for going that extra step that distinguishes you amongst all your successful lodge teammates."

The Carlson award is given to a Navy Lodge for its achievements in guest satisfaction, associate experience, commitment to quality and focus on providing outstanding value to the Navy. The Navy Lodge of the Year was awarded to Navy Lodge Atsugi, Japan. The other Carlson Award winners were Navy Lodge Little Creek/Fort Story, Va., in the large category and Navy Lodge Whidbey Island, Wash., for the medium category.

The Associate of the Year Award was given to Daniel Colon at Navy Lodges Bethesda, Md., and Washington, D.C. As the facility manager, Colon improved the appearance of the Navy Lodge and raised the guest customer service scores to above the brand average and had a large number of positive guest reviews. Colon was selected as a leader out of more than 1,200 Navy Lodge associates across the world.

The Hospitality Award, presented to the Navy Lodges that are rated the highest by guests in a variety of areas of guest service, was given to Navy Lodge Sasebo, Japan, as the grand winner; Navy Lodge Atsugi, Japan, for the large category and Navy Lodge Key West, Fla., for the medium category.

Navy Lodge Managers of the Year is Linda Bird, Navy Lodge Kings Bay, Ga., and Maria Gonzalez, Navy Lodge San Diego, Navy Lodge Marketers of the Year were Luis Bernal Neva, Navy Lodge Rota, Spain, and Ana Herrera-Ruiz, Navy Lodge Washington, D.C.

The Navy Lodge PCS Award was given to Liz Eck, Navy Lodge Hawaii and Bill Mayhue, Navy Lodge Norfolk, Va. This award is presented to the Navy Lodges with the highest increase in PCS room nights sold by percentage and number.

The Outstanding Associate Satisfaction Award, which is presented to the Navy Lodge with the highest Associate Satisfaction Index score, was given to India Austin, Navy Lodge Little Creek/Fort Story, Va., and Margaret Massie, Navy Lodge Oceana/Dam Neck, Va.

About the Navy Lodge Program
Founded in 1969, the Navy Lodge Program has strategically grown into the best operated military lodging operations. There are more than 42 Navy Lodges and Inns worldwide serving the military lodging community. Navy Lodges offer military families and other authorized patrons clean, comfortable convenient, oversized rooms and very affordable accommodations worldwide. Navy Lodge guests save an average of 40 percent compared to civilian hotels. Reservations may be made at or toll-free at 800-NAVY-INN. For other military lodging options go to Become a Navy Lodge Facebook fan.More

Study shows 24 percent savings with AAFES
Northwest Military
A recent study of Army and Air Force Exchange Service prices shows that troops save an average of 24 percent when exercising their AAFES benefit. Conducted in October 2010 by an independent research firm, the Market Basket Survey focused on the percentage of savings military patrons receive based on market, retailer and department.More

Exchange pairs cold drinks, hot $33,000 giveaway

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Coca-Cola have partnered to help military shoppers beat the summer heat with one of 10 shopping sprees.

The "Coke Living Free" sweepstakes will reward a grand prize of a $5,000 to six lucky authorized Exchange shoppers. Six first-place winners will also take home $500 each.

"This is another Exchange exclusive opportunity," said the Exchange's Chief of Staff Col. Virgil Williams. "Authorized exchange shoppers need only visit their nearest Exchange, including locations throughout Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom, fill out an entry form and drop it in the box for their chance to win."

The "Coke Living Free" sweepstakes runs through May 19. Contestants must be at least 18 years old, and no purchase is necessary to enter. Winners will be announced on or about June 27.More

Budweiser supports National Fatherhood Initiative's 'Military Fatherhood Award'

Budweiser is sponsoring the National Fatherhood Initiative's "Military Fatherhood Award," which recognizes U.S. military dads who display an ongoing commitment and dedication to their children, successfully balance military and family life, and make an effort to mentor other military fathers and/or children who are separated from their fathers. An NFI panel of judges selected three finalists from more than 600 nominees. Visit the National Fatherhood Initiative Facebook page before May 13 to vote for one of the three finalists.More

'Boots & Booties' shower set
The nonprofit Fayetteville Cares organization is throwing a party for military moms just as births are increasing at Fort Bragg. The group will hold its second "world's largest military baby shower" June 25 at the Crown Center in conjunction with Fort Bragg Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. The "Boots & Booties" event for 1,000 military moms and mothers-to-be will have gifts and entertainment.More

1.6 percent pay hike for troops in House defense budget proposal
Stars and Stripes
Troops would receive a 1.6 percent pay raise in January and Tricare fees for veterans would be held steady under a defense budget plan recently released by House lawmakers. The pay raise is slightly above this year's 1.4 percent boost but roughly half of the typical increases service members received during the last decade. If approved, the increase would mean about $40 more a month for an E-4 with six years service and about $90 for an O-4 with six years.More