Commissary program recognized during USD P&R testimony:
The Honorable Clifford Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness recognized the commissary benefit for its importance to readiness and retention in his statement delivered before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. He went on to state that DeCA is a model for DoD efficiencies. The entire statement of the USD (P$R) will be posted to the ALA website once released by the Senate. A portion of the statement is included below:
The commissary continues to be one of the most popular non-pay compensation benefits that our military members (Active, Guard or Reserve) retirees, and their families enjoy. Operated by the Defense Commissary Agency, this integral element of the total compensation package not only does much to enhance the quality of life for military families, but also provides an excellent savings from them. Last fiscal year, the commissary provided direct savings to commissary customers of $2.69 billion dollars for a taxpayer cost of $1.3 billion. Providing savings on the patrons' overall purchases of 31.5 percent, for those patrons who consistently use their commissary, savings can amount to nearly $4,400 per year for an average family of four, more than $2,400 for a couple, and more than $1,500 for a single service member. Perhaps most importantly, the commissary enables troops to focus on their mission when deployed, improving retention by providing a "sense of community" for military personnel and their families, and providing access to American products around the world in a safe, secure shopping environment.
As an organization, DeCA is a model for departmental efficiencies. DeCA has a proven history of taking cost out of the commissary system without decreasing the value of the benefit provided. In fact, when measured in constant dollars, DeCA's operating costs are only slightly more than one-half of what they were when the Agency activated on Oct. 1, 1991. DeCA's efficiency track record continues with an FY 2012 budget submission of $1.38 million.
A secret that is best kept a secret:
Town is proud of SEALs, but can't tell the world
Read the Full Story
USA Today, Gregg Zoroya
The problem for this oceanside city in a post-Osama bin Laden world is how to honor the hometown heroes who got the al-Qaida leader especially when the military is telling city fathers here in Virginia Beach to hush up about it.
House panel OKs more money for Special Forces
Read the Full Story
The Associated Press via Yahoo News, Donna Cassata
A House panel on May 4 approved $10.5 billion for Special Operations Command and its Navy SEALs unit widely praised for the bold mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Patrick B. Nixon
Security on higher alert across US
The New York Times Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA website since 10 a.m. April 28 and as of 10 a.m. May 5:
NOTICES TO TRADE
DP #12 PROMOTION & SHIPPER QUANTITIES:
Draft quantities sent to the stores May 4. Quantities are due back to the MBU COB May 17. Final quantities will be published May 20.
With the exception of the ALA/DeCA Training Event & Conference scheduled for May 23-25, DeCA has CANCELED all the other Region meetings for 2011 (East, West, Korea & Europe).
UPCOMING COMMISSARY RELATED MEETINGS:
2011 Congressional Caucus: June 14, House Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C. Watch for registration information.
2011 ALA/DeCA Appreciation Day Golf Tournament: May 10, Fort Lee, Va. Registration is available.
2011 ALA/DeCA Training Event & Conference: May 23-25, Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Norfolk, Va. Registration is available.
2011 ALA/DeCA Hawaii Conference & Food Show: Aug. 15-18, Hawaii Prince Hotel, Honolulu. Watch for registration information.
64th Annual Convention: Oct. 4-6, Orlando World Marriott Center, Orlando, Fla. Watch for registration information.
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 www.ala-national.org.
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 email@example.com)
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 Share
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. More
Retailers increasing mobile, social efforts
Progressive Grocer Share
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 Shop.org. More
National average gas prices rocket toward $4 per gallon
Convenience Store News Share
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 Share
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 Share
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 www.navy-lodge.com or toll-free at 800-NAVY-INN. For other military lodging options go to www.dodlodging.com. Become a Navy Lodge Facebook fan.
Study shows 24 percent savings with AAFES
Northwest Military Share
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.
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.
'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 Share
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