The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefit:
The Coalition under the leadership of Chairman Joe Olding (Webco General Partnership) continues to move forward with a solid strategic plan and significant short term accomplishments. The joint government relations effort under the oversight of Frank Hogan (Overseas Service Company and Board Secretary) has navigated through the minefield of late year amendments and through the first round of budget deliberations. This has allowed the Coalition to refocus the immediate goal of their outreach strategy to one of educate, engage and excite the patron while always nurturing the capability for a call to action when the military resale benefits come under attack. Several significant actions have been the addition of a professional marketing presence in O'Neill & Associates and an engaged outreach committee under the direction of Vice Chair Kurt Hall from Unilever. The difficult task of funding for Coalition initiatives has fallen into the very capable hands of Frank Pecoraro (Coastal Pacific Food Distributors and the Board Treasurer). The Board is rounded out by an experienced business woman with extensive Board experience in Deborah Kalas of Empower IT who is currently working on outreach initiatives for the coalition. The day to day management of the Coalition falls to the professional staff of the ALA and I serve as the President of the Coalition.
The Coalition works in close concert with the ALA Board of Directors but retains its own set of books for financial reporting. The ALA has established a Patron Outreach Fund which will serve as a fenced account with the purpose of educating, engaging and exciting the military patron. The goal is to increase SALES and Customer traffic.
We have completed a third-party audit of The Coalition website and based on recommendations we will re-launch the site the week of the Exchange Roundtable where You Will All Have The Opportunity to Sign Up. You will also see a detailed presentation on The Coalition and learn how you can engage and support this important addition to the ALA action plan. A key strategy of The Coalition is to establish an informative and attractive brochure in the Web presence of SaveOurBenefit.org and then engage and excite the patron through the use of social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter) to provide a value for belonging to the Coalition. We are not unique in this effort because it is at the heart of every forward thinking communication strategy. So you all have ownership of this initiative and you have an even greater vested interest in its success. We will have a much greater opportunity to talk about the art of the possible at the Exchange Roundtable but this update should give you some things to think about.
Meeting with Admiral Bianchi:
Steve Rossetti and I traveled down to Virginia Beach a few days ago to formally welcome Rob Bianchi back to the military resale system as the CEO of NEXCOM. The meeting was energetic and engaging and the Admiral is ready to hit the ground running. He was fully up to speed on every topic we discussed from base access to The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefit. Admiral Bianchi is fully supportive of the unique partnership that exists in the military resale business channel between the public and private sector. We will obviously have the opportunity to discuss new opportunities and receive an update on the NEXCOM strategy at the Exchange Roundtable in early March.
Meeting with Secretary Gordon:
Steve Rossetti and I met with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy a few days ago at his office in the Pentagon. We also had the opportunity to engage several senior members of his staff in Charles Milam and Janis White. We were quick to extend our sincere thanks to the Secretary for his support of the military resale programs during the latest round of budget deliberations. We were also keenly aware that this is round one of a long fight. One important update we were able to elaborate on is the ALA initiative with the White House in "Joining Forces." Secretary Gordon sees this is a great opportunity for the ALA to work in unison with DoD in a continuing campaign if education and engagement. In our discussions with Milam and White we deliberated the continual and mounting pressure on MWR programs and a potential expanded partnership to get the private sector more involved. Finally, we provided an overview of The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefit to the Secretary.
I have included a number of articles surrounding the DoD budget released this week and the projected impacts in various areas. It is extremely important to understand that this is a pressure cooker environment that under current law will last for the next 10 years. This week we learned from the staff at the House Armed Services Committee that there are new inquires coming from the House around a bill introduced early in the session of the 112th Congress to consolidate the military exchanges and eliminate all direct and indirect appropriated funding support (See HR 649 below). The perfect storm in this environment is that the amount of pressure the Services are being placed under to trim outlay rich funding environments like the operation and maintenance accounts.
The second item to keep in mind is the call in the budget for the establishment of a panel to review the cost of retirement benefits. If this request is supported by congress, I do not expect that it will be limited to retirement benefits alone but the entire compensation package. (See the followng article for a hint.)
Secretary of Defense review pauses tuition assistance changes
Read the Full Story
Army Times, Cid Standifer
The future of tuition assistance for active-duty service members is in limbo as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta works on a wide-ranging review of military benefits.
DoD Budget: Fiscal 2013 highlights and numbers
Read the Full Story
Defense Industry Daily
Every year the U.S. Department of Defense goes through a complicated process to establish and finalize its budget. This entry will track the budgeting cycle for fiscal year 2013 as it unfolds over the months. For now, it provides topline numbers by appropriation title and department as well as procurement hightlights.
Budget pressures will cause a continual search for bill payers and offsets:
HR 649 Reduce and End our Deficits Using Commonsense Eliminations in the Defense Exchange Stores System Act of 2011
Read the Full Story
The Library of Congress
To amend title 10, United States Code, to require consolidation of the defense exchange stores system.
DoD leadership supports the belt-tightening:
Military leaders insist Obama budget is right plan
Read the Full Story
The Associated Press via Philadelphia Inquirer, Donna Cassata
Brushing aside congressional opposition, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the nation's top military leader insisted that President Barack Obama's trimmer, $614 billion defense budget will ensure the U.S. advantage worldwide with acceptable risks to the force and missions.
Panetta defends military budget plan
Read the Full Story
The Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle, Lolita C. Baldor
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is defending his department's slimmed-down, $614 billion budget plan, telling senators it's time they show they are serious about reducing the deficit.
To make a big number you must go after personnel costs:
Heaviest 2013 defense budget cuts would fall on troops
Read the Full Story
McClatchy Newspapers , Nancy A. Youssef
As the Pentagon recently sought to show it had made tough spending decisions in its fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the brunt of the reductions would fall on U.S. ground troops, which face job losses, modest pay raises and increased health care costs while serving in a smaller force.
Pentagon may oust troops involuntarily to meet reductions in budget plan
Read the Full Story
Bloomberg News, Viola Gienger and Roxana Tiron
The Defense Department may have to force soldiers, Marines or other members of the military out of the services for the first time since the aftermath of the Cold War to achieve the spending reductions in its budget proposal.
Schools on military bases could close under defense cuts
Read the Full Story
The Courier-Journal via USA Today , James R. Carroll
If massive Defense Department cuts go through next year, little-noticed potential victims on the chopping block include the schools on military bases in the U.S. and abroad.
Pentagon wants to raise some retirees' health fees
Read the Full Story
The New York Times, Elisabeth Bumiller
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has warned that runaway personnel costs at the Pentagon are "unsustainable," and recently tried to put a big brake on the spending: Over the next five years the Defense Department plans to nearly quadruple the health insurance fees paid by many working-age military retirees.
Following the BRAC of all BRACs in 2005 the projection is that the next round of closures would be needed in 2015 back then that was light years away well now it is now!
DoD, Capitol Hill square off for BRAC fight
Read the Full Story
Federal Times, Kate Brannen
Over the course of his career, Panetta has both fought against BRAC and made the case for it. Now, as defense secretary, he has said that as part of the 2013 budget, the Pentagon will ask Congress for legislation to establish a new BRAC Commission to oversee up to two rounds of domestic base closures.
Pentagon challenges Congress not to 'pick at' $525 billion military budget
Read the Full Story
Bloomberg News, Roxana Tiron
The Pentagon is challenging lawmakers not to pull apart its $525 billion proposed budget as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta heads to Capitol Hill to make the case for reduced spending linked to a new military strategy.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
GE to hire 5,000 veterans over next 5 years, invest $580 million to expand aviation business
The Washington Post Share
General Electric Co. plans to hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years and invest $580 million to expand its aviation business. The recent announcements were part of a four-day event that the global conglomerate is hosting with partners in Washington, D.C., that focuses on issues such as manufacturing and job creation in America. More
No return of US military bases in Philippines
The Philippine Star Share
A redeployment of U.S. forces to the Philippines after the pullout of U.S. troops and military facilities in Okinawa, Japan, may be considered at the invitation of the Philippine government. But U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro said during a recent roundtable discussion there would be no return of U.S. military bases in the country. More
Japan, US hoping to conjure better ending after failed scenario
Kyodo News via The Mainichi Daily News Share
Japan and the United States recently made a momentous decision about the future of their long-standing security alliance, finally acknowledging that the road map plan for the realignment of thousands of Marines stationed in Okinawa, mapped out in 2006, is no longer feasible. More
First lady visits Little Rock Air Force Base to announce healthy foods push
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Share
Military bases across the country will soon start serving healthier foods under a plan recently announced by the Department of Defense and first lady Michelle Obama at the Little Rock Air Force Base. Obama, speaking on the first day of a three-day national tour in support of an initiative aimed at combating childhood obesity, toured the Arkansas base's dining hall, which was part of a special pilot program to enhance food quality and variety. More
Pentagon attacks obesity with new food choices
Obese Americans in the military are a national security hazard and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama wants to see that change. Obama, who has led a healthy eating and fitness program for children for two years, recently lent her voice to the military's efforts to overhaul the food it serves. More
First lady and Jill Biden announce new push to support military spouses
Government Executive Share
A joint Defense and Treasury department report recently released recommends that states adopt practices such as providing temporary professional licenses or endorsing outside certifications to help ease the burden of licensure requirements for military spouses. The report is the latest from the Obama administration's Joining Forces initiative, an effort spearheaded by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, to combine the assets of many agencies and private sector groups to support military members, veterans and families. More
First lady pushes spousal license portability
Army Times Share
The Obama administration has set a goal for all 50 states to pass their own legislation to address licensing issues for military spouses, to make it easier to transfer professional licenses and certifications from one state to another, first lady Michelle Obama recently told a group of service members, spouses and officials in the Pentagon auditorium. More
Lawmakers: Navy plan to move carrier dead in water
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Share
The Navy has ended, for now, its attempt move a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier to Mayport, Fla., but three other ships possibly from Hampton Roads might be headed for the Florida base soon. More
House VA panel chairman knocks administration's silence on cuts
The Washington Post via Current Mil-Tech News Share
Despite a proposed budget that would boost spending for veterans, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee recently accused the White House of leaving veterans "twisting in the wind" by refusing to declare the Department of Veterans Affairs exempt from automatic cuts to reduce the deficit. More
Baby boomers, not millennials, most comfortable shopping CPG online
Drug Store News Share
Fifty-two percent of shoppers ages 50 to 54 years lead the charge when it comes to purchasing health and beauty products online, and 29 percent of shoppers ages 45 to 49 years are purchasing more food and beverage products online than any other age group, according to The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research. More
Stouffer's helps couples reconnect
Progressive Grocer Share
Valentine's Day may be over for another year, but that doesn't mean the romance has to end. That's the firm belief of Solon, Ohio-based Nestlé Prepared Foods Co., which is publicizing the launch of its Stouffer's Sautes for Two line with "Put the Two Back in Tuesdays," a national campaign encouraging couples to reconnect over dinner at least once a week. More
Survey: Half of Americans eat breakfast
The Gourmet Retailer Share
According to a new survey released by Kraft Foods' belVita Breakfast, 63 percent of Americans admit they sometimes feel low on energy in the morning, which is not a surprise given fewer than half eat breakfast every day. More
6 free apps to simplify grocery shopping
Mother Nature Network Share
Worried about trans-fats? Mercury? Pesticides? This new crop of apps is like having a nutritionist in your pocket. More
Supervalu to bring Essential Everyday store brand to its independent grocers
PG Store Brands Share
Supervalu said its new Essential Everyday store brand line now is available in select independent retail locations. Once the full rollout is complete in early 2013, Essential Everyday products will be available to the Minneapolis-based company's more than 2,000 independent grocery retailers nationwide. The private brand offering will include more than 2,400 products in the "most important grocery and home goods categories." More
Low-income shoppers interested in healthful cooking
Supermarket News Share
Despite widespread concern that scratch cooking has gone the way of the Dodo Bird, a recent report surveying low-income families found families are cooking from scratch four times per week on average, and 78 percent of these families are eating dinner together at home at least five times per week. More
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., 16 Feb. 2012.
DP #7, Update #1.
May Mix N Match, Far East & Alaska Quantities.
Spring Club Pack, April CONUS Quantities.
NOTICES TO TRADE
12-37, DeCa Brand Name Fresh Chicken Merchandising Program with 10 Attachments.
12-40, Franks Category Review.
12-43, Back to School and Turkey Coupon Booklet Program 2012.
12-46, Promotion & Coupon Offers.
DeCA January Sales Data.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-07.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.
SAVE THE DATES
May 1, 2012: ALA and DeCA Appreciation Day Golf Tournament, Fort Lee, Va.
May 2 & 3, 2012: ALA and DeCA Roundtable, Marriott, Richmond, Va. Registration is available on website.
June 19, 2012: Congressional Caucus, Washington, D.C.
August 20–23, 2012: Hawaii Conference & Food Show.
2012 Exchange Round Table
In this business most of you deal with both the commissaries and exchanges. Our annual Exchange Round Table will be held March 7–9, 2012, at the Sheraton Waterside, Norfolk, Va. The theme for the Roundtable will be "Joining Forces to Give Back." I attended last year's roundtable in Dallas and found it to be very informative and saw many opportunities our commissary members could consider to help them drive their business in both the exchanges and commissaries. Keep in mind that in 2012 the ALA meetings will only include this event, the Commissary Roundtable in May, the Congressional Caucus in June and the National Convention in October. You can gather more information about this Roundtable and register by using the following link: www.ala-national.org/forums/event.aspx?EventId=54
Nash Finch Company has been added to the Military.com list of military-friendly employers
Military.com is partnered with Monster.com and with over 10 million members, has the largest pool with military experience. Over 40 percent of the pool are diversity candidates, over 39 percent are in the IT field and over 22 percent are in business administration. Military candidates visit the site to search for jobs, but are also provided with a list of military-friendly companies, whether they have postings on the site or not. It's one step towards getting the exposure we need to support our military hiring initiative. More
JoS. A. Bank lifts employee retention, sales with hiring software
STORES Magazine Share
When the economy started tanking, JoS. A. Bank was poised to gain market share. In addition to good products and smart marketing, the company's hiring program is credited for its recent success. Andrea Boling, vice president of human resources, was hired in 2004 to take the clothing chain's hiring practices paperless. "We wanted to increase our compliance," said Boling. "We wanted to be able to hire people quickly, and the way we had been doing it was paper and pencil and faxing, which was incredibly inefficient. We were doggy paddling to keep up, so we needed to find a solution that we could put into place that would use very little of our IT resources." More
Wal-Mart Executive: We're testing social in-store
A woman walks into her local Wal-Mart and immediately turns to an area near the front of the store with a bank of screens. This customer is rushed today, so she tells the system to forget the recommendations and she selects 24 items from her shopping list. The items that are on the shelf elsewhere or in the backroom? An employee goes to fetch them. Those that are not in-stock at that store? They'll be shipped to her home. (Subscription required.) More
Kodak moments are coming to an end
The company that invented home photography has tossed in the towel. Eastman Kodak, the bankrupt inventor of the hand-held camera, plans to stop making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames in the first half of 2012 in a bid to cut costs. More
Momentum growing for sales taxes on online purchases
USA Today Share
Attention, online shoppers. The days of tax-free online shopping may be coming to an end. More than a dozen states have enacted legislation or rules to force online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases, according to tax publisher CCH. More
Is Apple coming to Sam's Club stores?
First Best Buy, then Target, now Sam's Club? Apple and Sam's Club, Wal-Mart Stores' warehouse clubstore, are reported to be in talks to put Apple stores within 47 of Sam's U.S. locations, according to a report in 9to5Mac, a website for Apple enthusiasts. More
What your young employees really want
CBS Money Watch Share
Everyone wants a decent salary. But beyond that, what do employees want most? The answer varies by age, according to a new survey from OfficeTeam, a staffing company. More
Ackman: In the future, going into a JCPenney store will be like going into an Apple store
Business Insider Share
Recently, Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, was asked if he thought customers shopping at a JCPenney store in the future will have an experience reminiscent of going into an Apple store. "I think the answer is yes. What I mean by that is not that it's going to be a beautiful glass box on Fifth Avenue. Although it will look a lot nicer than it does now," said Ackman at the Harbor Investment Conference in Manhattan. More
The simple reason brick-and-mortar stores aren't dead
Business Insider Share
It boils down to one thing. When people want to buy something, it doesn't matter how retailers get it to them they just want to be able to find it, and get it fast. "Customers are really not looking for different experience by channel," said Chris Bolte, vice president of Wal-Mart Labs. "They're more like, we want, what we want, when we want it." More
San Francisco bans plastic bags
The Wall Street Journal Share
The Golden Gate city is broadening its battle against bags. San Francisco's Board of Supervisors recently voted to make it illegal for any shop in the city to offer disposable plastic bags to customers. The law expands a 2007 bag ban that applied to large grocery stores and pharmacies, and also mandates stores charge customers 10 cents apiece for paper bags. (Subscription Required.) More
Keep your website from crashing
Shop.org Blog Share
A retailer's thinking these days can be dominated by smartphones, tablet devices, social media, social commerce, new payment systems and numerous other emerging technologies. However, much of that activity ultimately directly impacts the website itself, so retailers cannot afford to overlook fundamentals of running their online business, such as site maintenance, load testing and re-platforming. More
PayPal executive woos big retailers with pricing, data
Don Kingsborough wants PayPal displayed alongside Visa, MasterCard and American Express in retail stores. To get there, he will compete aggressively on price. More
McDonald's set to phase out suppliers' use of sow crates
The New York Times Share
The McDonald's Corporation recently said it would begin working with its pork suppliers to phase out the use of so-called gestational crates, the tiny stalls in which sows are housed while pregnant. Animal rights advocates have singled out the crates, known as sow stalls, as inhumane, and several states have moved to ban or restrict their use not only in pork production, but also in the production of eggs and veal. More
Retail sales point to underlying strength
Retail sales picked up last month after a sluggish December, providing a firm foundation for the economy's recovery. The January reading was weaker than economists had expected because auto dealers took in less cash. Excluding autos, sales rebounded a solid 0.7 percent, the biggest gain in 10 months. More
Former Shell CEO predicts spike to $5 gasoline
Convenience Store News Share
U.S. drivers facing a budget crunch due to rising gas prices should be wary, according to former Shell CEO and Citizens for Affordable Energy founder John Hofmeister. He predicts that heavy demand in emerging markets and weak domestic policies will result in a "better than 50-percent chance" that the price of fuel will spike up to $5 per gallon, reported CNBC. More
Target, Best Buy face tough online retail competition
Minnesota Public Radio News Share
Analysts say most retailers these days must compete aggressively on prices or risk losing customers and sales. Consumer expectations and unrelenting competition give retailers no choice. Retailers such as Target and Best Buy are under ever-growing pressure to compete on price, keeping them as low as possible. More
2012 not looking good for consumer spending
Drug Store News Share
The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index continued on a downward trend in January, and consumer spending will face additional economic headwinds in 2012, according to Deloitte. The index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending. More
2012 Exchange Roundtable
Click here for the agenda!
Joining forces to give back
March 7-9, 2012
Registration is now open!
Click here for more info.
Save the date: 2012 Exchange Commanders Cup Golf Tournament
We wanted all to know that the ALA DFW Chapter will participate and support this event. Please reserve the date on your calendar and join approximately 120 AAFES golfers in this great event. We will have a great round of golf, followed by an auction of some pretty exciting stuff, all benefiting the AREA scholarship program.
We are looking for Hole Sponsors as well as donations for the auction. Please plan to participate and we look forward to a great event.
We will provide further details in the coming weeks so please save the date.
Mess-hall makeover: Healthier food brought to the military
After helping to change the national school lunch nutrition standards, Michelle Obama has expanded her campaign against obesity and unhealthy eating. Who's next on her list? The military. More
Major building projects under construction at Fort Campbell
U.S. Army Share
Along Wickham Avenue sounds of bulldozers and hammers echo across the installation as construction continues on the new 716th Military Police Battalion Headquarters. A few blocks down, at the corner of 46th Street, workers construct a new vehicle maintenance facility for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). These two buildings are just a couple of the new facilities under construction at Fort Campbell. More
Army IMCOM on Twitter
We are the Army's Home. We are dedicated to providing Soldiers and their Families with quality of life commensurate with their service. More
Thanks to our troops: A compilation of video greetings for soldiers, families and civilians
U.S. Army All-American Bowl via YouTube Share
Click on the image above to view the compilation of videos.
Veterans organization provides free Internet at Edelweiss
U.S. Army Share
As the snow falls in Garmisch, Germany, a service member couple on vacation at the Armed Forces Recreation Center, Edelweiss Lodge and Resort cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine after a great day. Another family who is on R&R leave from Iraq is relaxing in the hot tub after a sightseeing tour to the famous Neuschwanstein castle. Outside the resort, the children are enjoying making a snowman with their dad who just returned from a long deployment. What do these service members on vacation all have in common? They all can share their vacation photos, update their Facebook status, check on travel plans and Skype their friends to brag about what a good time they are having on vacation by using the free wireless Internet now available during their stay made possible by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. More
Welcome to the NEW home of the National Guard Family Program
Joint Services Support Share
We are still the National Guard Family Program with a few cosmetic enhancements. Regardless of what we look like, we support you, the Guard family, and your Guard member. We are here to support you 24/7 through our website or your Family Program Office. With the ever changing face and duties of the National Guard, it is imperative to look to the future of family programs while remaining flexible in the present. Our goal is to support you along your journey, as a family member of the National Guard in any and every way. Without you, the family member, standing by your National Guard member, a successful National Guard does not exist. Your success and self-reliance are our motivators; we strive to support and educate in every way possible. More