*This is a correction to the copy distributed earlier
Panetta To Offer Strategy For Cutting Military Budget
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New York Times, Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is set this week to reveal his strategy that will guide the Pentagon in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from its budget, and with it the Obama administration’s vision of the military that the United States needs to meet 21st-century threats, according to senior officials.
Pentagon To Unveil Revised Defense Strategy
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Reuters, David Alexander and Andrea Shalal-Esa
A review of U.S. strategic interests that will guide Pentagon budget cuts in coming years is expected to propose keeping fewer troops in Europe and abandoning the goal of maintaining a force that can fight and win two wars simultaneously, administration officials say.
In New Strategy, Panetta Plans Even Smaller Army
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New York Times, Thom Shanker and Elisabeth Bumiller
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has concluded that the Army has to shrink even below current targets, dropping to 490,000 soldiers over the next decade, but that the United States should not cut any of its 11 aircraft carriers, according to Pentagon officials and military analysts briefed on the secretary’s budget proposals.
Obama To Unveil Austere Defense Strategy In Visit To Pentagon
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Washington Post, Craig Whitlock and Peter Whoriskey
President Obama is scheduled to make a rare visit to the Pentagon on Thursday to unveil details of a strategic review for the U.S. military that will consolidate missions and downsize the ambitions of the armed forces as they adjust to a new era of austerity, officials said.
Another view of the future:
The ALA has been ringing the warning bell for three years now tolling the pending pressure that will befall the DoD budget and all military support programs ... A good perspective was recently provided by our colleague retired Air Force Colonel Steve Strobridge with the Military Collation and the Military Officers Association of America ... read it carefully ... visit Saveourbenefit.org ...
As I See It — Consider Yourself Warned
December 15, 2011
By Col. Steve Strobridge, USAF-Ret.
As we come to the end of 2011, many are thinking we had a successful year and dodged some really bad things that could have greatly affected the military community.
A year ago, the president's deficit commission proposed freezing military pay, whacking military retirement, dramatically raising health care costs for retired servicemembers of all ages, eliminating commissaries, and much, much more.
After 12 months of hand-wringing over how Congress might act on those proposals and what the grossly misnamed congressional "super committee" might suggest, it seems we've come to the end the year with no such changes.
But if that's what you're thinking, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
The $460 billion defense budget cut enacted in August 2011 is going to affect you and your family. We just don’t yet know exactly how badly.
A Pentagon-proposed plan to implement the cuts is sitting on the president's desk, and all indications are that a large share will come from people, compensation, and health care programs. Within the next two months, that plan will be all over the news.
And that's not all.
The super committee's inaction means a budget sequester aimed at cutting almost another $500 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years is already in motion to take effect a year from now. Many in Congress are up in arms over what cuts that deep will do to national security, but there are just as many who are determined to have the cuts come from the Pentagon rather than other programs.
What's at stake? COLAs to all federal annuities, TRICARE, TRICARE For Life, major force and compensation cuts, commissaries, exchanges, family-support programs, and just about every military program you and your family use.
If you survived the budget cuts of the 1970s, '80s, or '90s, you know how bad those were. But they were nothing compared to the budget pressures we’re all going to face over the next four or five years. We congratulate ourselves on our successes of the past decade — which were due to the power of MOAA members' grassroots input to their legislators.
This year, members set an all-time record on that score, sending more than 1.3 million messages to their elected officials via media we can count.
That total includes more than 820,000 emails sent through MOAA's website, blasting past last year’s previous record of 499,000.
But it will take a far broader effort to avoid budget disasters in the years ahead.
First, there are high-powered, well-connected, well-heeled lobbyists fighting (and making hefty political contributions) to preserve their shares of the budget pie — at your expense.
Second, if you look past the impressive 820,000 MOAA-generated emails, you find only 67,000 individuals generated all of those messages.
In other words, most of MOAA's legislative effort is being carried by less than 20 percent of its members.
Are the other 80 percent oblivious to the threat? Do they think, "It's just politics and will blow over like most of the threats of the past 10 years have?" Do they assume their input wouldn’t make a difference?
Regardless of the reason, the complacency and inertia of "the other 80 percent" is the biggest budgetary threat to you and your family.
If you're in that 80 percent, you're your own worst enemy. Your continued inaction will jeopardize not only your family and your future but also the families and futures of your brothers and sisters in arms.
The issue here isn't ensuring the military community takes no budget hits. The nation's budget problems are such that no segment of America will escape taking some significant hits.
The issue is resisting taking a disproportional share of hits simply because those with other interests are more active and better connected and have deeper pockets.
If you're not getting involved to defend what your service and sacrifice has earned — and actively seeking to motivate others to protect theirs (and yours) — you're helping paint the target on your COLAs and health care and on the troops and their families and your own family's future well being.
Consider yourself warned.
The best America has to offer:
18. USO Sailor Of Year Killed In Afghanistan
(San Diego Union-Tribune)....Jeanette Steele
When Navy bomb disposal technician Chad Regelin was named 2011 USO sailor of the year, he couldn’t make it to the October gala in Washington, D.C.
Military Families Soldier On
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Wall Street Journal, Tamara Audi
Christmas homecomings from Iraq touch a nerve for kin of troops in Afghanistan.
Pentagon Thinning Ranks Of Top Brass
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Washington Post, Craig Whitlock
With the Iraq war over and troops in Afghanistan on their way home, the U.S. military is getting down to brass tacks: culling generals and admirals from its top-heavy ranks.
A 'Base On The Brink,' As Is The Community
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Los Angeles Times, Kim Murphy
Lewis-McChord's Washington state neighbors are feeling the psychic toll of war.
Base Relocation Plan Runs Into Roadblock
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Japan Times, Kyodo
Okinawa residents on Tuesday stopped an attempt by the Defense Ministry to file a key environmental impact assessment report with the prefectural government for relocating the U.S. Futenma air base within the prefecture.
Federal Workers' Pay Gains Slow
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USA Today, Dennis Cauchon
The paychecks of federal workers grew at the slowest pace in a decade this year, held down by a partial pay freeze. But federal employees still did slightly better than workers in the private sector or at state and local governments, a USA TODAY analysis found.
Lawmaker Introduces USO Bill
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Washington Post, Richard Simon, McClatchy Tribune News Service
... Congress allows the Transportation Security Administration to use the unclaimed money to help fund its operations. But legislation has been introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) to give the money to the United Service Organizations for airport programs in support of the military. The USO, whose mission is to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families, is a nonprofit, congressionally chartered private organization.
Redskins Meet For A Final Time
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Washington Post, Rick Maese
... Rather than address his team one final time, Shanahan instead allowed a small group of Navy SEALs and a Marine to lead the meeting. That meant that rather than recap how a 3-1 start imploded into a 2-10 finish, players learned how Marine Cpl. Todd Love, at the front of the room, had lost his legs.
As beef consumption declines, industry adjusts
U.S. beef consumption is 57.4 pounds per person per year, down 13 percent from 2001 and 25 percent from 1980. Beef processors are adjusting by offering smaller and less-expensive cuts of meat More
Expert predicts how you'll eat in 2012
Daily Herald Share
Expect to see rising food prices, more male shoppers and less sugar at the grocery store in 2012, says industry expert Phil Lempert, aka the Supermarket Guru. "I think it's going to be a great year," says Lempert, who has been making food trend predictions for the past several years. While he expects food prices to keep ticking upward as 2012 marches on, he says consumers will respond by using more coupons and turning to their mobile devices to find the best price. More
2012 food industry outlook: A taste of things to come
Food Processing Share
It has never been tougher to build and sustain a successful food and beverage business than it is today. Even with a recovering economy, doing business is challenged on the home front by regulatory changes, raw material pricing, corporate sustainability goals and changing consumer demands, among others. And on the global front by the difficulty to set up foreign operations, safety and reliability of offshore suppliers, impact of currency fluctuations and competition for talent. More
Growing problem: Tough immigration laws tough on harvests
Supermarket News Share
In April 2011, the state of Georgia approved HB 87 — a tough new immigration reform law inspired by Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 — which would give the state's police officers the power to check the immigration status of anyone suspected of any crime, including traffic violations. More
Putting the labor back in the meat department
Progressive Grocer Share
Recent industry studies have indicated that one of the things shoppers long for most from their grocery store meat department is information — knowledgeable, approachable personnel who can solve the mysteries surrounding the preparation and serving of specific cuts. Kari Underly is on a mission to meet that need, as she aptly notes, by "putting the labor back into the meat department." More
Big mergers seen as unlikely
Supermarket News Share
Despite the surprise announcement last month that Bi-Lo was making an offer to take Winn-Dixie private, analysts said they did not expect the pace of large-scale mergers and acquisitions to pick up in 2012. "We do not see this as a sign of increased, value-enhancing merger and acquisition activity across the sector," said John Heinbockel, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities, New York, in a report. More
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 AM, 5 Jan 12.
DP #1, Update #2.
DP #3, CONUS Promotion and Shipper Quantities and Update #1.
DP #4, Far East and Alaska Promotion and Shipper Quantities.
DP #5, Far East Shipper and Promotion Quantities.
Passover Far East & Alaska Quantities.
2012 Spring Club Pack Program.
Valentines, Update #2.
NOTICES TO TRADE
12-19, Yogurt Category Review.
12-21, Frozen Snacks Category Review.
12-24, Request for Information (RFI) – Industry Interest in an Accelerated Payment Program.
Coupons, SNAP and WIC Historical Comparison thru FY 2012 Q1
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-1. NOTE: There was not a Week 11-52 published.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.
DeCAF 40-15 dated 27 Dec 11. This is the latest edition and was posted on the website under Doing Business with DeCA – Forms. This posting had six postings to include instructions and examples. DeCA has provided the following concerning the latest update of the form: They revised the 40-15 per many of the recommendations made during the recent workshops held at DeCA Headquarters. Here are some of the changes they have made:
2012 Exchange Roundtable
Joining forces to give back
March 7-9, 2012
Registration is now open!
Click here for more info.
Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tournament
Sewells Point Golf Course, Norfolk
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Click here for the registration form
Holiday shopping season marked by ups and downs
The Associated Press via St. Louis Today Share
Two high points with a lull in the middle marked the holiday shopping season, as bargain-hungry consumers started strong on Black Friday weekend, took a break and then swarmed back to snap up last-minute deals just before Christmas. "The downs and ups were much more accentuated," said economist Michael P. Niemira. More
Department-store restaurants become dining destinations
The New York Times Share
Department store restaurants were once upscale places to stop for a bite while shopping. They hit hard times in the 1970s and 1980s, but they're back on top at upscale New York stores including Saks, Bloomingdale's and Macy's. Bergdorf Goodman's Manhattan flagship boasts two eateries, including BG Restaurant where shoppers pay $35 for afternoon tea and scenic views of Central Park. More
Dollar General to open 625 stores in 2012
Knoxville News Sentinel Share
Dollar General said it will open 625 new stores, create 6,000 new jobs and launch its first locations in California and Massachusetts this year. The discount chain, which currently operates in 38 states, said it also plans to remodel or relocate 550 existing stores. More
Big brother is watching you shop
Bloomberg Businessweek Share
On the Web, every click and jiggle of the mouse helps e-tailers customize sites and maximize the likelihood of a purchase. Brick-and-mortar stores have long wanted to track consumers in a similar fashion, but following atoms is a lot harder than following bits. For the most part, they've been forced to rely on consumer surveys, says Herb Sorensen, an adviser at market research firm TNS Retail & Shopper in London. More
CSNews' top 10 predictions for 2012
Convenience Store News Share
Legislative battles and a still-struggling economy marked a year of ups and downs for the convenience store industry in 2011. Now, with the new year upon us, the editors at Convenience Store News offer their top 10 predictions for the industry in 2012. More
Dunkin' Donuts to double US store count by 2032
CS News Share
It's time to make a lot more doughnuts. Dunkin' Donuts will double the number of its U.S. locations over the next 20 years, according to a report by CNN Money. Dunkin' already operates about 7,000 stores nationwide. More
Fast-casual eateries beguile fast-food customers
The Seattle Times Share
Fast-food eateries are in the throes of drive-through Darwinism as more upscale upstarts, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, grab market share from the likes of Taco Bell, Subway and Wendy's. Chains that are fancier than fast-food options but cheaper than sit-down alternatives are part of a hybrid sector known as fast-casual that is maturing into one of the food industry's strongest. More
NEW YORK — Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers.
The closings are the latest and most visible in a long series of moves to try to fix a retailer that has struggled with falling sales and shabby stores.
In an internal memo Tuesday to employees, CEO and President Lou D'Ambrosio said that the retailer had not "generated the results we were seeking during the holiday."
Sears Holdings Corp. said it has yet to determine which stores will close but said it will post on when a final list is compiled. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut. http://www.searsmedia.com
The company has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Its stock dropped $8.67, or 18.9 percent, to $37.18 in morning trading. The shares dipped to their lowest point in more than three years at $36.51 during the first few minutes of trading.
The company's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period.
Sears Holdings said the declining sales, ongoing pressure on profit margins and rising expenses pulled its adjusted earnings lower. The company predicts fourth-quarter adjusted earnings will be less than half the $933 million it reporter for the same quarter last year.
Sears Holdings also anticipates a non-cash charge of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in the quarter to write off the value of carried-over tax deductions it now doesn't expect to be profitable enough to use.
Sears said it will no longer prop up "marginally performing" stores in hopes of improving their performance and will now concentrate on cash-generating stores.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s long and distinguished history, it has had 31 commanding officers.
Major General Bruce Casella became the 31st Commander in April, 2010. Historically, a commander’s tour lasts only two years. That time has come for MG Casella. In late March this year, he will relinquish command and retire. MG Casella’s tour as our Commanding General culminates a career of over 36 years of Active and Reserve duty to the Nation.
The relinquishment of command and subsequent retirement ceremony is planned for March 30th, 2012 at the Exchange Headquarters.
MG Casella’s departure concludes a long tradition for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, for he is the final Commanding General. In 2012, we will welcome our first civilian CEO/Director.
COL Tom Ockenfels
Chief of Staff
Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Dallas, TX
Please disseminate to our Exchange family!
BRUCE A. CASELLA
MG, U.S. Army
KMCC — First to $20 Million!!! Congrats to a Great Team!
Team KMCC and Vendor Partners,
Happy New Year! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for what has been an amazing year at the KMCC which was capped off with some historic accomplishments!
After a very successful year that saw sales millions above prior year, we knew we had a great shot to go after some major sales records for the Exchange/AAFES.
First, we set out to achieve a new single day sales record, which we did on Black Friday. We are the first store to hit sales of $1,875,000 in one single day!
We also wanted to become the first store to smash the $1 million sales barrier in a single day that is NOT tied to a Black Friday or Grand Opening. This was achieved the first weekend in December!
In the end, we wanted the BIG RECORD...to be the first store in the history of the company to break the $20 million barrier in one single month. Yesterday was our end of month cut off and we finished December with $20,559,432, which was an increase of 9.65 percent or $1.8 million over prior year!
I am so proud of each and every one of you for making this happen! From our Stockroom to CCO and Customer Service to ICA's to Sales Associates to Supervisors and Managers and our great Vendor Partners and many others, every one had a part in this success and historic event! You all are part of possibly the finest team to ever be assembled in a Main Store and certainly the best in the Exchange!
Within the next few weeks we will have a luncheon to celebrate this accomplishment. Once we lock in the date we will let you know.
Again, thanks for all you and your teams do and I wish you a wonderful New Year!
Jason S. Rosenberg
KMCC Main Store Manager
Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Veterans Job Fair Scheduled
The Department of Veterans Affairs is presenting a VA Career Expo designed to help returning Veterans get back into the workforce. ALA partners as well as Exchange counterparts will participate in the Expo. This represents a wonderful opportunity for us to collectively gather and help our Veterans get back to work. VA is projecting over 10,000 Veteran participants. The Expo will take place on January 18th 2012 at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. The Expo will run from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with set-up taking place on the 17th. (Note: Registration for this event is now closed but we expect future events of this type to be held in different areas of the country in 2012)
AAFES 2012 Seminars
2012 Power Zone Seminar. The dates are 30 July – 03 August in Orlando at Caribbean Royale Hotel. Below is a link to the hotel.
2012 Express Seminar 7-11 May in St Charles, Illinois at Pheasant Run Resort.
CSM Abe Vega retires after 30 years of service
U.S. Army Share
Command Sgt. Maj. Abe Vega officially retired Dec. 22 after 30 years of service in the U.S. Army. A ceremony marking the event was held at the Fort Sam Houston Theater. More
MWR Commercial Sponsorship Program
The Coast Guard's Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) commercial sponsorship program is an advertising avenue for your company's product or service with the opportunity to reach nearly 300,000 potential customers. These potential customers are comprised of active duty, reserve, civilian employees, Auxiliary members, retirees, family members, and other authorized MWR patrons. Let us help you achieve your marketing goals through professionally managed sponsorship and advertising programs. To request information about commercial sponsorship, please click here.
Find MWR Business Opportunities
Learn more about current and future contract opportunities with the Coast Guard. Small Business Assistance, contact information, and outreach for small businesses.
Air Force Offers Second Round Of Buyouts, Early Outs
By Stephen Losey The Air Force announced Tuesday it is offering a second round of voluntary buyout and early retirement opportunities for civilian employees to help deal with a tight budget. The application period for buyouts and early outs will begin Jan. 9, and applications will be due Feb. 3, the Air Force said.
Civilians whose applications are approved must leave their jobs by April 30. The Air Force did not say how many employees it hopes will leave, or who will be eligible for the buyouts and early outs. The Air Force did not respond to a request for details on the buyouts and early outs.
Maj. Gen. Sharon Dunbar, director of force management policy, said in a statement that the Air Force hopes the voluntary buyouts and early outs will help it avoid layoffs. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates capped civilian staffing at fiscal 2010 levels as part of his so-called efficiency initiative, and the Air Force said the latest buyouts and early outs will help it meet that requirement.
"The Air Force recognizes the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce, but also recognizes the fiscal constraints under which the Department of Defense and the government as a whole are operating," Dunbar said. "We are pursuing all available force management measures, to include civilian hiring controls, where required, with the goal of avoiding involuntary measures for our current permanent workforce."
The Air Force offered buyouts and early outs to as many as 4,000 employees during the first round, which ended Dec. 31. In December, the Air Force lifted its fourmonth- old hiring freeze, which it said helped cut nearly 9,000 civilian positions.