ALA Executive Briefing
Oct. 26, 2012

DC caught off guard by Obama sequester vow
President Barack Obama startled Washington during the recent foreign policy debate when he said billions in automatic Pentagon cuts "will not happen" — a line that could weaken his bargaining power during an epic spending and tax fight expected when Congress returns. More

Conference crackdown takes toll on AUSA event
Defense News
Organizers expected about 5,000 fewer attendees at this week's Association of the United States Army annual meeting and exposition in Washington as the government cracks down on federal worker travel and conference spending.More

Budget fears cast shadow over US Army trade show
Continued uncertainty about future U.S. military budgets cast a shadow over this year's big U.S. Army trade show, with industry executives and top Army officials urging U.S. lawmakers to avert further big defense cuts due to start taking effect in January.More

Troops mounting student debt raises concerns at Pentagon
The Washington Post via Early Bird
U.S. military officials recently voiced concern over American troops' mounting student-loan debt, saying loan companies appeared to be guiding them away from special protections they earned through service.More

Panetta: Even with cuts, area to be key to defense
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently assured Hampton Roads business and military leaders that, even with Pentagon spending cutbacks, the region will continue to play a major role in the nation's defense strategy.More

In Virginia, Defense Secretary Panetta warns of effects of sequestration
The Washington Post
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning business leaders in Hampton Roads that automatic defense cuts scheduled to take effect in January would be devastating to the military.More

Panel: Pay gap widens for federal workers
The Washington Post
White-collar federal employees are underpaid on average by about 35 percent compared with the private sector, a widening of the "pay gap," which stood at about 26 percent last year, an advisory group said.More

Defense contractors report mixed results as they gird for 'fiscal cliff'
The Washington Post
The nation's largest defense contractors recently reported mixed financial results as the companies continue to take steps to safeguard against possible federal budget cuts associated with the "fiscal cliff."More

DeCA RFI space management
Federal Business Opportunities
This Request for Information is issued in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.201(e). The Government does not presently intend to award a contract, but wants to secure information regarding the capabilities of industry to meet Agency future requirements, for planning purposes. Responses to this RFI are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract.More

Defense Commissary Agency expands distribution of Pineland Farms Cheese
Virtual Press Office
This holiday season more military families will have the opportunity to enjoy cheese made at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. The Defense Commissary Agency or DeCA will be selling cheese from Pineland Farms in all military commissaries across the continental United States. Initially trialed only in the Northeast region, Pineland cheese caught the eye of national buyers who expanded offerings of cheddar, Monterey jacks and spreadable cheeses to military installations nationwide. More

Eating alone: Food marketers' hidden opportunity
Progressive Grocer
According to analysis by The Hartman Group, eating alone is fast becoming the new normal, representing 46 percent of all adult eating occasions (up from 44 percent in 2010). The Hartman Group's investigation of American eating trends reveals that the way in which many consumers define a "meal" has transformed from traditional, sit-down "meat and potatoes with the family," into a constantly shifting assortment of snacking and eating alone occasions.More

Kroger to roll out natural, organic products
Supermarket News
Kroger Co. is rapidly expanding its new natural, organic brand. Electrolyte water, pasta sauce and whole wheat pasta are among dozens of new items slated to roll out soon under the Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic brands, according to the brand's website, Other new items include broccoli, dill, mint, russet potatoes, carrots and other produce.More

As grocery prices rise, simple meal planning and in-season shopping help stretch your budget
The Oregonian
Grocery shoppers, brace yourselves. You've already been paying more at the supermarket for many items, thanks to rising gas prices that have increased the cost of food distribution. Now they're set to go up even further, thanks to this year's severe drought in the Midwest and the South, which devastated the nation's corn, soy and wheat crops. Before those price hikes kick in, it's the perfect time for a refresher course on maximizing your grocery budget.More

Online grocery shopping is returning to the physical world
The Atlantic Cities
Grocery stores that found success on the Internet are returning to the physical world with a hybrid business model: the "virtual" supermarket, a shop for smartphone users that carries photographs and bar codes instead of food.More

Sustainability's role in meeting future challenges
Greener Package
Nine billion people by 2050: This daunting figure was the touchstone for the recent Sustainability Summit, titled "Uncover the Possibilities," held by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in Washington, D.C., in early October. The event, which hosted nearly 400 attendees from all points in the food and beverage supply chain, explored the challenges food manufacturers and retailers will face in the not-too-distant future, as the global population continues to rise and natural resources become scarcer and how innovations in sustainability can be used to meet these challenges. More

Taliban torch US troops warehouse in northern Afghanistan
Fire Engineering
According to local authorities in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan, a warehouse belonging to Supreme Group which is providing procurement to U.S. troops in Afghanistan caught fire in this province. Provincial Council Chief Haji Ahmad Zaki Zahid confirming the report said the incident took place 11 p.m. local time on Oct. 19, and the warehouse was still burning. Zahid further added it is yet not known what types of items were being kept inside the warehouse.More

Shopping at Exchange pays off for entire military community
Air Force Retiree Services
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is paying dividends in more ways than one as troops and their families exercising their benefit by dining and shopping at Exchange facilities last year generated a dividend of $203.3 million. These funds are critical to Army, Air Force, National Guard, Marine Corps and Navy morale, welfare and recreation efforts. More

It's no trick the Exchange is treating shoppers with cash for Halloween
Aerotech News
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service invites shoppers to see what lurks on the shelves in its latest contest as it gives away two $500 Exchange shopping sprees, 10 $100 gift cards for the runners-up and 20 $50 gift cards for third place.More

AAFES begin gun sales
My Guidon
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is scheduled to begin firearms sales. The firearms counter is located in the Sporting Goods section of the main store, and will retain the same hours as the Exchange. According to Fort Leonard Wood Exchange General Manager Robert Rice, select AAFES locations have offered firearm sales since 1960. More

Apple drops an iPad Mini on rivals
The Wall Street Journal
Apple Inc. unveiled a smaller iPad and yet another version of its larger tablet, seeking to blunt an advance by rivals while preserving its premium pricing strategy. More

Target sells US credit-card portfolio to TD Bank
The Wall Street Journal
Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank said it had agreed to buy the $5.9 billion credit-card portfolio of U.S. retailing giant Target Corp., a deal that significantly expands the Canadian lender's push south of the border. More

Unhappy holidays? Lackluster season expected for several shopping categories
Studies from Deloitte, the National Retail Federation and Booz & Co. all predict modest retail sales increases for the holiday period, with rises generally up in the vicinity of 3 or 4 percent. Online and mobile sales are expected to perform particularly well. But not every component of the retail sector can look forward to a jolly season ahead.More

Macy's initiative targets millennials
Women's Wear Daily
Macy's is developing a laser focus on the millennial customer and it will be hard to miss on the sales floor next year. (Subscription required.)More

OctoNovemCember™: Why an unsteady economy is causing consumers to search for deals long before Black Friday Blog
In 2011, the U.S. economy finally began to emerge from a staggering recession, and the retail sector had high hopes for a profitable holiday shopping season. Following the mad rush of the Black Friday–Cyber Monday weekend, the staff at pored over the performance of its top merchants and discovered clear evidence of "Christmas Creep." What does this mean? In brief, the creep of Christmas and Hanukkah shopping is officially in full swing and chances that deal-seeking shoppers will be contained to one weekend in late November is likely a thing of the past. Welcome to OctoNovemCember™, a season of holiday shopping where consumers seek out Black Friday savings every day.More

Retail recruiters share their 'Top 10 Wish List' for today's graduates
Retail's BIG Blog
There were a number of themes prevalent at's Annual Summit, but one in particular was discussed at almost every single keynote and breakout session: talent. Whether it was a presentation on branding or a discussion about the next wave in digital, retailers talked about the importance of building great teams, finding and keeping the best talent and making sure tomorrow's leaders know about the opportunities within our industry.More

Card fee 'settlement' just start of big legal battle
Visa, Mastercard and a group of retailers plan to ask a judge this past week to approve a landmark settlement of a lawsuit over credit card fees, setting the stage for a battle with Wal-Mart and hundreds of other merchants who say it is a bad deal.More

Retailers push aggressive deals to lure stingy holiday shoppers
The Washington Post
Retailers are rolling out aggressive sales earlier this holiday season to lure consumers, who are expected to keep a tight grip on their wallets. Average shoppers are projected to spend only $9 more this season than the $740 they shelled out last year, according to a survey by BIGinsight. The National Retail Federation is predicting sales growth of 4.1 percent, compared with a 5.6 percent rise last year. More

TravelCenters to offer free meals on Veterans Day
CSNews Food Service
TravelCenters of America is offering complimentary meals to truck drivers who are veterans of the U.S. armed services on Veteran's Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, at more than 170 participating TA and Petro Stopping Center restaurants. "We understand that veterans have sacrificed their personal and family time by being in the armed forces, and those who are also drivers do the same each and every day they are on the road," said Tom O'Brien, President and CEO of TravelCenters.More

Like consumers, businesses are buying more online
Internet Retailer
As much as consumers are buying online, businesses are buying more. In fact, U.S. companies and government agencies will purchase $559 billion via the Web in 2013, Forrester Research Inc. predicts in its first estimate of the business-to-business e-commerce market. More

Target, Best Buy to match online prices at holidays
Los Angeles Times via The Seattle Times
Target and other brick-and-mortar retailers are treating this holiday season as an offensive against online rivals such as, using tactics such as price-matching to win back dominance of the Christmas shopping season. More

Retailers vow not to get snared in showrooming's web this holiday season
Chicago Tribune
Amy Neiman usually ends up doing most of her holiday shopping online, not because she can't deal with the crowds, but because she typically finds better deals on the Web, not to mention free shipping. "Sometimes I'll just stand in the store with my phone and check the price right there," said the North Center mother of two. If she finds a better price, she'll buy it on the spot using her smartphone. More

NEXCOM changes its NEX Price Match Policy
America's Navy
The Navy Exchange Service Command has revised its Price Match Policy for its NEXs around the world. The NEX Price Match Policy guarantees that NEXs will match any brick and mortar retailer's advertised price within the local market area on any identical in-stock item. More

Troops' investment in the Exchange pays off for entire military community
Public Affairs
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is paying dividends in more ways than one as Troops and their families exercising their benefit by dining at and shopping at Exchange facilities last year generated a dividend of $203.3 million. These funds are critical to Army, Air Force, National Guard, Marine Corps and Navy morale, welfare and recreation efforts.More

D6 sends — keeping Army Family Covenant promises
Four years ago this month, the Army announced the Army Family Covenant, which promised to provide soldiers and families a quality of life commensurate with their service. To help soldiers and families stressed by years of war, the Army substantially increased funding for programs in areas such as soldier and family services, behavioral health, housing, child care, education and employment. Today, headlines about defense budget cuts are prompting people to ask whether the Army is going to keep its promises.More

Military Retiree Appreciation event held at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren
Naval Support Facility Dahlgren held a Military Retiree Appreciation Day on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the base's JD's Conference Center. The event was open to all military retirees and their family members. An opening ceremony was held at 9:45 a.m., with a welcome by Capt. Peter Nette, commanding officer for Naval Support Activity South Potomac. The featured guest speaker was Bud Schneeweis of the Military Officers Association of America.More

These 2 officers built an app that's essential for getting around military bases
Yahoo News
A few years ago, buddies Billy Griffin, a Navy lieutenant, and Tony Hatala, a Marine captain, decided it should be much easier to find the phone numbers for resources on military posts. It's especially frustrating for new troops, who show up on a base for the first time with a set of orders and no idea where to go. The pair were clearly not alone in their frustration and after squeezing in some programming during deployments, family obligations, and military life their app, MilitaryTraveler, recently hit 30,000 downloads on iTunes.More

Army family programs face cutbacks
Army family programs face a sustained period of consolidation and possible cutbacks as troop strength is drawn down and defense budgets shrink, the Army's uniformed and civilian leadership said. "Over time, we're going to have to decide what programs we think are the most important" on a range of existing initiatives from financial planning to PTSD awareness and off-base housing arrangements, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.More