• Exchanges Propose Running Commissary System

    Exchanges Propose Running Commissary System0

    The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has proposed placing management of military groceries under its control as a way to streamline operations and slash the $1.4 billion federal subsidy supporting commissaries. Commercial grocery retailers would operate commissaries at larger installations under contract with AAFES, while the exchanges would directly operate smaller commissaries, including those overseas …

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  • Changes to Commissary System Will Be Introduced Methodically, DOD Official Says

    Changes to Commissary System Will Be Introduced Methodically, DOD Official Says0

    While changes are coming to how the department operates military grocery stores, they won’t be implemented in a haphazard manner, according to David Tillotson III, DOD’s assistant deputy chief management officer. Tillotson, who has been charged with identifying ways to reduce the $1.4 billion annual subsidy Congress provides the commissary system, said any changes would be carried out deliberately and with mechanisms in place to ensure they don’t degrade the commissary benefit for military families. “We’ll work on it a piece at a time, and that’s our intention …

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  • Senate Votes to Stop Commissary Privatization Pilot

    Senate Votes to Stop Commissary Privatization Pilot1

    The Senate on Tuesday voted 70-26 to remove language from the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill allowing the Defense Department to privatize commissaries at five major installations until a study to assess the costs and benefits of privatization is completed. The amendment rekindles a similar effort on the Senate floor last year to postpone the launch of a pilot privatization initiative at military grocery stores …

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  • Authorization Bill Would Expand Testing of New Commissary Pricing Policy

    Authorization Bill Would Expand Testing of New Commissary Pricing Policy1

    Military grocery stores would introduce variable pricing and private label products in an effort to slash the federal subsidy supporting commissaries, under the portion of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill marked up by the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee on Wednesday. The two changes are intended to increase commissaries’ profit margin, but the legislation aims to protect the commissary benefit for military families, which has been estimated at providing shoppers up to a 30 percent savings. DOD already had been planning on testing these new options this summer, as it had been authorized in last year’s defense policy bill …

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  • House Chairman, Military Family Advocates Bicker over Changes to Commissary Operations0

    Variable pricing, and not privatization, may be the tool that helps military grocery stores operate without government subsidies, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee, said Wednesday during a hearing on possible changes to the commissary system. “It’s what every grocery chain does across the country,” said Heck, reported Stars and Stripes. Variable pricing would allow commissaries to adjust product pricing depending on the region where they are sold. The stores now are required to sell items at cost, plus a 5 percent surcharge that is used primarily for construction and renovation of stores …

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  • Defense Committees Appear Open to Eliminating Support for Commissaries7

    Defense officials may be disappointed that the conference report for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill rejects the administration’s proposal to slash federal funding for commissaries in the near-term, but a provision added in the House-Senate conference requiring the department to draw up a plan for eliminating taxpayer support for military grocery stores and exchanges indicates that lawmakers may be closer to embracing the cost-cutting reform than previously believed. The report, which calls for the Pentagon to craft a comprehensive plan for achieving “budget neutrality” for commissary and exchange benefits by the end of fiscal 2018, is primarily directed at military grocery stores since only 3 percent of the budget for exchanges is supplied by Congress …

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