• Defense Committees Appear Open to Eliminating Support for Commissaries0

    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 …

  • Obama Defers Judgement on Key Military Compensation Reforms0

    President Obama is withholding judgement on the most controversial recommendations of an independent panel to update military pay and benefits, he told Congress Thursday. One of the most significant reforms urged by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would transform the existing pension plan that only pays benefit to personnel serving at least 20 years to a hybrid system that would allow troops serving at least two years to invest in a 401(k)-type plan. Interestingly, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved language adopting the commission’s recommendation as part of its fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill …

  • New Commissary to Support Pittsburgh-Area Service Members, Veterans0

    The nine-year odyssey to replace the commissary and post exchange at an Army facility closing as a result of BRAC 2005 is almost complete, with the grand opening for new stores set for later this month. After the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility, located outside of Pittsburgh in Collier, was designated for closure in 2005, local veterans and military support groups lobbied lawmakers and the Pentagon to retain a post exchange and commissary in the region, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Even with the closure of the Kelly Support Facility, the area still is home to several units — the Army Reserve’s 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the Air Force Reserve’s 911th Airlift Wing and Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing …