Understanding the end game:
There are major decisions on the horizon that need to be made to put our collective fiscal mess on track to recovery, but this is an election year. I have provided a link to a discussion on the topic that appears spot on in that it projects that not much is going to happen in the short term. It appears that the issue of sequestration, raising the debt ceiling, the end of the Bush era tax cuts and the social security honeymoon will all fall to the lame duck session of congress and even if they were inclined to do something about it will not have the time to act. So look at the take below and begin to plan your strategy...plan your strategy?? These topics and more will be covered at this year's Congressional Caucus to be held on 19 June in room B339 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Registration is open but space is limited. Sign up today.
Less will happen in the lame duck than you think
Read the Full Story
Stan Collender's Capital Gains and Games, Stan Collender
Stan Collender writes, "After almost two years of continuing expectations that the next budget-related opportunity is going to result in the "big deal," we should all know and admit by now that when it comes to federal spending, revenues, the deficit and the national debt, dreams hardly ever come true."
Government relations update:
The Administration's budget that was recently submitted did not specifically target funding for commissaries and exchanges. However, we believe that the threat remains real and needs to closely monitored and industry needs to continue to telegraph its message to key policy-makers. The Administration will have to continue to review programs in order to cut $259 billion from Defense over the next five years in addition to the $178 billion they have already cut.
The threat will accelerate because yet to be resolved is another $500 to $600 billion in Defense cuts associated with sequestration due to enactment of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and failure of the Super Committee to come to an agreement on cuts. Defense planning may already be taking place for additional reductions that are associated with sequestration and policy-makers will have to lay-in reductions that may indeed target these programs.
Even if Congress maneuvers around sequestration, the budget problem remains. Some place the trajectory for the deficit rising from $17 trillion at the end of 2011 to over $30 trillion before the U.S. Government is operating in the black. Pressure will continue to grow on benefits to include commissaries and exchanges. Already there is talk of a commission to examine compensation for the armed forces. There is a rising call in many sectors to increase fees on medical care and reduce other parts of the overall military compensation package.
Adding to the budget pressure is the ongoing restructuring and transformation of the military to adapt to emerging global threats. This restructuring already is having its effects as demonstrated by the removal of 10,000 to 12,000 troops from Europe (reportedly in Baumholder and Schweinfurt.) There will be other geographic effects of this restructuring including in the Pacific and in the United states as the military continues to right-size its force structure and capabilities. Further, military base operations will undergo continued transformation as budgets are reduced. DoD plans to take out some 80,000 or so Army and Marines from the existing force. They are asking Congress for two more rounds of base closures.
Just in this past year, we have had to beat back continued assaults on funding for these programs. These skirmishes will continue as the fundamental problem — the deficit — and the need to find Defense savings is not going away.
Assaults this year included
While these efforts have failed to materialize in hard reductions to the benefit, in the case of the Veterans Affairs Committee, it was the first time that any proposal of this nature had progressed this far in the Congress. At one point, it was poised for full Senate floor debate. The bottom line is that we can expect continued pressure on the budget and must remain vigilant to protect the commissary and exchange funding levels.
Industry needs to actively support initiatives by the ALA to guard against reductions:
ALA has an active Government Affairs program to educate lawmakers and Administration officials of the need for these benefits. ALA is working with the Appropriations and Authorizing Committees, the White House and the Pentagon.
ALA is making an economic case for the benefits to show that any savings on cutting funding for commissaries and exchanges are illusory.
ALA is holding its Congressional and Public Policy Forum in the Rayburn House Office Building on June 19, where these and other issues affecting the resale system will be discussed.
ALA has begun a major initiative to increase awareness of the benefit and therefore sale as well as galvanize support to resist cuts with patrons and affinity groups. This is called the Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits. This effort has the support of all of the resale commanders.
Bill for phased retirement moves in House
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The Washington Post, Eric Yoder
A House committee has approved a bill that would allow federal employees to phase into retirement by working part-time and collecting a partial annuity, while a Senate panel has brought out a budget plan that calls for making federal retirement benefits less generous.
House leaders detail social, regulatory cuts to prevent defense sequester
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National Journal via Current Mil-Tech News, Nancy Cook and Meghan McCarthy
House Republicans would like to slash food-stamp funding; cut health care coverage; reduce tax credits for people with children; and eliminate funding for a foreclosure-prevention program — all part of a larger GOP push to replace the coming across-the-board spending cuts with an alternative that keeps defense spending intact and shrinks the footprint of mandatory domestic-spending programs.
Panetta ties TRICARE fee increases to maintaining key programs, personnel
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Nextgov, Bob Brewin
At a recent Pentagon press briefing, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said congressional tinkering with the $613 billion 2013 Defense Department budget could have unintended consequences and result in a hollow force. Flanked by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta also defended the long-term Defense strategy unveiled in January, saying it will help the Pentagon to slash its budget by $487 billion over the next 10 years.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
Veteran Hiring Fair
Department of Veterans Affairs Share
The Department of Veterans Affairs will host the National Veterans Conference in Detroit from June 25-29. The three major facets of this National Conference include: The National Veterans Small Business Conference, the Veterans Open House and a Veterans Hiring Fair. The VA for Vets program is sponsoring the Veterans Hiring Fair, which will take place in June 26-28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The event will be held at Detroit's COBO Center, One Washington Blvd., Detroit, Mich., 48226. Click here for more info and here for the conference letter.
USMC 4-star: Women to attend infantry school
Marine Corps Times Share
The Marine Corps school that produces infantry combat officers will enroll its first-ever female students this year, Marine Corps Times has learned. As part of the service's extensive research campaign to determine what additional jobs could be opened to women, an undetermined number of volunteers will attend the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va., said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Corps' assistant commandant. There, Marine officers are groomed to serve in direct combat roles and lead troops into battle. More
Coast Guard's top officer breaks ranks over budget cuts
National Journal via Current Mil-Tech News Share
Breaking ranks with his fellow military service chiefs, the top U.S. Coast Guard officer recently came out in condemnation of President Barack Obama's proposed budget restrictions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have all in recent months supported a smaller, more efficient force for economic austerity. But Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., the Coast Guard commandant, said, "We have to have the courage to be able to say "No" sometimes." More
Military hospital consolidation isn't living up to savings potential
While Congress considers a new plan to cut costs, reduce management overhead and improve efficiencies in the Military Health System, a watchdog report indicates MHS has failed to deliver on promises in a 2006 management and governance strategy. More
Defense spending cuts worrisome for local military communities
Fox News Share
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan draw to a close, the Department of Defense plans to trim more than $480 billion from the budget in the coming decade. Tough choices will be made, and communities that rely on military spending are on edge. More
Misconduct inquiry targets 16 US security team members
Los Angeles Times Share
Eleven Secret Service agents and five members of the U.S. military working on a security team preparing for President Barack Obama's arrival at a regional summit in Colombia were recently under investigation for apparent misconduct involving prostitutes. More
Dark meat getting a leg up on boring boneless breast
The Wall Street Journal Share
Poultry companies that spent decades breeding top-heavy birds to satisfy America's craving for chicken breasts are hunting for solutions as consumers cluck for more dark meat. Demand for legs and thigh cuts is climbing as diners tire of white meat and TV cooking shows tout dark meat's richer flavor and softer texture. More
Most shoppers make impulse buys
Progressive Grocer Share
Consumers continue to go shopping armed with a list, but new research finds that doesn't stop them from straying. Nine out of 10 shoppers still purchase items not on their lists, according to The Checkout, on ongoing shopper behavior study by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research. Of those who admitted to shopping off list, 66 percent cited a sale or promotion, 30 percent cited they found a coupon and 23 percent said they wanted to pamper themselves. More
Do food deserts matter? Do they even exist?
The Washington Post Share
Gina Kolata highlights two recent studies that call into question the concept of "food deserts," wide swaths of the country, traditionally low-income, that are thought to lack access to healthy foods. Both looked for a relationship between obesity and access to healthy foods, measured by the number of nearby supermarkets and fast food restaurants. Neither could find it. More
The cost of healthy eating
Scientific American Share
The distance people are willing to travel for food appears to be related to their weight and wellness. A recently published study in PLoS One found that among the French, those who shop at the same local supermarkets tend to have a similar body mass index and waist circumference. And while Basile Chaix and colleagues admit there are some challenges with this study, there are some general ideas that can be applied to our overall relationship to food and food procurement. More
Sounding the sugar alarms
Los Angeles Times Share
Worried about trans fat or salt? That's a little old school. If you want to stay current on dietary villains, you'll want to start thinking about sugar. Lots and lots of sugar — as in 77 grams, or nearly 20 teaspoons. That's how much added sugar the average American consumes every day, according to a 2011 scientific report, and that's not even factoring in the sugars naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk. More
Mother and daughter entrepreneurs build a health food chain
As Barbara Hoffmann tells it, her vision for Green Acres, a small Midwestern chain of organic and natural food stores grew out of her aching back. After years of lifting heavy plants, Barbara developed chronic back pain and underwent several surgeries which didn't solve her problems. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and began to find relief in alternative treatments, diet changes and nutritional supplements. The deeper she waded into the growing area of healthful eating and therapeutic supplements, she realized she had stumbled onto a concept she could convert into a business. More
8 food frauds on your shopping list
Most consumers know to ignore emails alerting them to foreign lottery winnings and to steer clear of "designer" bags sold on street corners. But experts say even scam-savvy shoppers may be falling prey to fraud at a surprising place: the grocery store. Food fraud the adulteration, dilution or mislabeling of goods stocked on the shelf is part of a growing trend of faux household goods. Although there is little data on the frequency of food fakery, experts say there's growing awareness of the problem. More
These chocolates are something special
Supermarket News Share
Warming ginger, menthol-nuanced wasabi, nutty black sesame seeds...and dark chocolate? Indeed, one of these things is not like the others, but chocolate lovers were willing to experiment at the fifth annual Chocolate Festival hosted by H.E. Butt Grocery's Central Market. More
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., 19 April 2012.
DP #10, CONUS Promotion & Shipper Quantities.
DP #12, Far East Shipper & Promotion Quantities.
Canning, Far East & Alaska Quantities.
Spring Club Pack June Quantities.
NOTICES TO TRADE
12-71, Store Reset Dates – GITMO.
12-72, Store Reset Dates – Wright Patterson AFB.
12-73, Store Reset Dates – Anderson AFB.
DeCA March Sales Data.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-16.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.
SAVE THE DATES
May 1, 2012: ALA/DeCA Appreciation Day Golf Tournament, Fort Lee, Va.
May 2 & 3, 2012: Commissary 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
Wal-Mart International focusing on own business over deals
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is focused on improving results in China and other foreign countries where it already operates, rather than on entering new markets, its top international executive said. "Our focus this year in particular has been on improving returns with our existing businesses," Wal-Mart International Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon told investors and analysts at a meeting in Toronto that was also webcast. More
Deloitte: Spending up after several months of decline
Chain Store Age Share
A recent report by Deloitte found that consumer spending posted an increase in March, reversing a trend of declines. The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index climbed higher in March, marking only the third monthly increase over the past 12 months. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending. More
Online consumers are placing fewer but larger orders
Internet Retailer Share
Consumers who shop online are placing fewer but larger orders, resulting in a nearly 4 percent overall increase in sales through March of this year compared with the same period last year, Dydacomp says in a new index of small and mid-sized online retail businesses. More
Majority of US smartphone owners use devices to aid shopping
Two-thirds of U.S. consumers with smartphones have used the devices to aid shopping, according to a report by research firm Leo J. Shapiro and Associates. The February 2012 survey also found that 38 percent of respondents researched products on their smartphones while shopping at a physical store. More
Penney's CFO to step down
The Wall Street Journal Share
J.C. Penney Co. said Chief Financial Officer Michael Dastugue will leave the department-store chain, the latest management shake-up as the company undergoes a vast operational overhaul. Dastugue, who spent 15 months in the CFO post, will be replaced temporarily by Chief Operating Officer Michael Kramer while a search for his successor is conducted More
Something for nothing: Free samples attract new customers, increase sales
M ore than 19,000 new food and beverage products were introduced in 2009, according to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's a lot of manufacturers and merchants trying to capture customers' attention and interest. More
Fast-food franchises bulking up
The Wall Street Journal Share
Weaker sales following the recession are prompting many big fast-food chains to adopt leaner business models by unloading company-owned outlets to franchisees. The latest example is Burger King Holdings Inc., which is in the midst of a turnaround and counting on a bigger appetite for restaurant ownership among people like Vince Eupierre of Corona, Calif. More
Debunking the eBay myth of free shipping
If free shipping is the industry standard, as eBay states, then 21 of the top 25 ecommerce retailers have not gotten the memo. EcommerceBytes took a look at the top 25 retailers on Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide and found that only Newegg, Costco and LL Bean offer unconditional free shipping (Netflix is not applicable to this discussion.) More
Wal-Mart and Humana team up on prescription program
Chain Store Age Share
Wal-Mart is partnering with health services company Humana Inc. to offer a new prescription drug plan for insured employers and employees. Humana's pharmacy benefits management subsidiary, Humana Pharmacy Solutions, will now offer the Wal-Mart Rx Network. The partnership will also offer a new formulary, or approved drug list, called Rx4Value. More
US retail sales climb more than forecast on jobs: Economy
Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in March as Americans snapped up everything from cars and furniture to clothes and electronics. The 0.8 percent gain was almost three times as large as projected and followed a 1 percent advance in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase of 0.3 percent. More
NRF: March retail sales growth marks positive start to spring
National Retail Federation Share
Thanks to an earlier Easter holiday and unseasonably warm weather through much of the country, retailers in March witnessed solid sales growth. According to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, March retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from February and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. More
Kimberly Clark joins AAFES on 'spring cleaning' sweepstakes for military shoppers
Drug Store News Share
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Kimberly Clark are teaming up to give away 10 $1,000 gift cards in the "Spruce Up Your Space" sweepstakes. More
Beer brands ramp up promos around summer and sports
Convenience Store News Share
Spring is in the air, summer is right around the corner and beer companies are stepping up their promotions, with Heineken, Tecate Light, Samuel Adams and Busch Beer all getting ready to celebrate. More
Burger King's new menu reviewed
The Huffington Post Share
It took the royal touch (and a lot of money) of the self-proclaimed king of burgers to commandeer celebrities to endorse a new food product line. For the first time in its 58-year history, BK has expanded its offerings broader than ever before, with 10 new items that strive to better diversify their menu akin to burger competitor McDonald's. However, burgers are not the focus of the new items; in our health-conscious world, the king of burgers has instead focused on chicken, salads and frosty beverages. More
New tobacco study raises cigarette price hike possibility
Convenience Store News Share
This time of year typically sees an uptick in gas prices, but this year, cigarettes prices may be the ones doing the climbing. The Wells Fargo Securities 1Q12 U.S. Tobacco Retailer Survey found that more than 70 percent of the company's tobacco industry retailer and wholesale trade contacts expect to see a price increase in May or June. Wells Fargo Securities anticipates The Altria Group's Philip Morris USA division to lead the 5- to 7-cent bump, according to Bonnie Herzog, managing director of Beverage, Tobacco & Consumer Research. More
NRF: Retail sales increase in March
The Gourmet Retailer Share
Retailers in March witnessed solid sales growth. According to the National Retail Federation, March retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from February and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year. More
Wal-Mart 'on track' to end landfill waste by 2025
Bloomberg Businessweek Share
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently said it is on track to meet many of its goals for making its operations more environmentally sustainable, but it fell short of some benchmarks. Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke said in June that environmental sustainability is one of the company's top five priorities. Even small improvements in Wal-Mart's operations can make a big difference because of the massive scale of its retail outlets and global supply chain. More
Three retail marketing trends you need to know about now
Retail's BIG Blog Share
Retail marketers don't have much time to catch their breath before they're switching up the marketing mix yet again, adjusting to changing consumer behavior and pioneering new strategies to dazzle customers. As more consumers rely on mobile devices, spend more time online and expect a greater level of personalization, retailers are investing in social, mobile and local to meet these new demands. More
Save the date!
May 21: Dallas Chapter/Commanders Cup Golf event
Bear Creek Golf Club
3500 Bear Creek Court, Dallas, Texas 75261
Click here for directions and here for the official flier.
Scholarships for Military Children Program
Recipients for the 2012 Scholarships for Military Children Program will be announced at the end of the month. Fisher House Foundation is responsible for matching commissaries to donor companies, based on the relative amount of each company's donation. Click here for the listing of companies supporting the 2012 program, and here for the pairings. DeCA business partners or their supporting broker or manufacturers representatives are normally invited to attend and participate in the scholarship award ceremony conducted by each commissary store director. Questions about the listings should be directed to Jim Weiskopf at Fisher House Foundation.
Army tightens rules on hair, tattoos, makeup
Army Times Share
Senior leaders are putting the final touches on 17 grooming regulation changes that cover everything from tattoos and makeup to cellphones and civilian attire. And soldiers will likely face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they fail to get squared away. More
First lady plugs her 'Joining Forces' on Colbert
CBS News Share
First lady Michelle Obama appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to plug the anniversary of her "Joining Forces" initiative designed to honor U.S. troops and their families, particularly by helping find employment for veterans returning from war. More