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Home   About   Membership   Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only Nov. 24, 2010
Executive Briefing

President's Message


By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

The Pentagon would take $100 billion hit
Read the Full Story
The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Hodge
The deficit commission's interim proposal to cut $100 billion in military spending, if adopted, would take a toll on weapons programs, health-care benefits and overseas bases.

Defense-spending bill enters uncharted waters
Read the Full Story
The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Hodge
Political upheaval in Washington has upended the Pentagon's traditional budget cycle, creating serious uncertainty for the military and the defense industry. At issue is passage of two bills that set spending priorities for the Pentagon — the national defense authorization act and the defense appropriations bill. In an unusual turn of events, neither bill has been passed for the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

Funding the federal government into the New Year:

The stopgap spending measure currently funding the government expires Dec. 3. Lawmakers will either clear another continuing resolution, work together to pass an omnibus, or alternatively, seek to enact a yearlong continuing resolution. Democrats don't want a short-term stopgap measure that would last into just the early months of 2011. They believe it would give the GOP leverage with their new House majority to seek spending cuts and reduce domestic discretionary spending. However, the success of their plan hit a hurdle after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to the $1.1 trillion spending package that Senate appropriators are assembling.

TIPRA update (3 percent withholding):

Federal contractors: Withholding approval

The high-profile campaign by small businesses to win an exemption from a tax-reporting provision in the new health care law has overshadowed another tax-lobbying effort. Government contractors are pushing lawmakers to rescind part of a 2006 law that will impose withholding tax on their government work.

The law requires that starting in 2012 government agencies at the federal, state and local levels that do $100 million or more in contracting a year withhold 3 percent of the value of contracts to ensure tax compliance. Federal agencies worry that some contractors don't report all their income to the IRS, widening the "tax gap," or the difference between the amount that should be collected under the law and the actual revenue collected.

A wide variety of business interests that do contracting work — general contractors, shipbuilders and high-tech companies, among others — have joined the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties in trying to get rid of the requirement. They argue that it would cost them too much to implement, although the $100 million threshold is designed to exempt small towns and counties.

They also say that once the withholding begins, small companies with low profit margins and smaller cash flows will be at a competitive disadvantage. They want Congress to repeal the provision as part of any tax deal in the lame-duck session.

The contractors seem to have a difficult challenge, although last year they did persuade Congress to delay implementation of withholding from this coming January until the start of 2012.

"It's somewhat of an uphill battle, but we remain hopeful," says Chris Braddock, senior director of procurement policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and coordinator of the 115-member Government Withholding Relief Coalition. The withholding clause was passed by a Republican-led Congress in 2006 and signed by President George W. Bush as a way to offset the cost of a tax bill that sponsors dubbed the Tax Increase Prevention Act. Contractors have fought it ever since, succeeding only in delay. Repeal bills have been sponsored by two Democrats who are leaving office this year: Florida Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, who gave up his seat for a Senate race that he lost, and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who was defeated in a primary this summer. The bills have gone nowhere, in large part because of disagreements within both parties over the merits of withholding and how best to deal with it. Republican Wally Herger of California withdrew an amendment to a tax break bill in the House last March that would have repealed the provision because of concerns about its cost.

Republican leaders in the House included the repeal in their alternative economic recovery plan during the stimulus debate last year. In the Senate, though, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, had been the author of the provision in the first place in 2006.

Grassley was acting on a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Taxation. He said at the time that "those who are paid by the government should be held to a high degree of responsibility to pay taxes that are legally due." He's now consulting with the tax committee on whether it's still needed.

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, who was the ranking Democrat on Finance in 2006 and is now chairman, had backed Grassley.

Another big challenge for Braddock and his coalition is coming up with a way to make up for the lost revenue if Congress were to repeal it. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the withholding provision would provide a $6 billion infusion the first year, but $200 million a year for the next four years, for a total five-year savings of about $7 billion. Braddock calls it an accounting gimmick and says Congress has taken other steps more recently to ensure tax compliance.

Closing the tax gap remains a priority for Grassley, who says he took action in 2006 after a series of reports on under-reported taxes. The Treasury Department, though, has since said that Congress could narrow the tax gap just as easily by requiring more IRS reporting of fees to government contractors, without creating the cash flow problem of the withheld payments.

Patrick B. Nixon
President, ALA

Washington Update

An alliance of opposites takes on Pentagon
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Earlier this year, Representatives Barney Frank, the unabashedly liberal Democrat from Newton, and Ron Paul, an outspoken libertarian Republican from Texas, formed an unlikely alliance aimed at slashing the defense budget to trim the deficit. Initially, their proposed 16 percent cut over a decade got a cold reception on Capitol Hill, where many Democrats and even the most fiscally conservative Republicans view the Pentagon budget as basically off-limits. But now, with talk of deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and as a Tea Party-infused strain of the Republican party grows more powerful, their views are gaining traction. More

Texas businessman settles military food mislabeling case for $15 million
The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Texas businessman has agreed to pay $15 million to settle federal allegations that he and his company cheated the government by selling old and potentially dangerous food to the U.S. military to supply combat troops serving in Iraq and elsewhere. "Companies that provide supplies to our men and women in uniform must be held to a high standard," Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Justice Department, said in a statement. "We will be vigilant in protecting taxpayer funds from fraud, especially where the fraud relates to contracts meant to support our troops." More

After Webb threat, defense officials turn over JFCOM info
The Virginian-Pilot    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. Sen. Jim Webb ended his one-man blockade of military promotions recently after the Defense Department began providing answers to some of his questions about the recommended closure of Norfolk's Joint Forces Command. The Virginia Democrat announced during a Senate hearing on the reappointment of two generals — which Webb was prepared to block indefinitely — that late Nov. 17, the Pentagon had begun sending him documents that he requested a few months ago. "So I am happily going to release these holds that we were forced to put in place," Webb told the officers. "You are free at last." More

Commissary News

Half baked
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's tough to overestimate the importance of the cake category for in-store bakery departments. Not only do they account for almost 30 percent of most supermarket bakeries' sales, cakes are also a destination item that help draw traffic into the department when shoppers are celebrating birthdays, holidays and special events. They offer a canvas for department staff to showcase creative new ideas, and they offer a real opportunity for a bakery to set itself apart from local competitors. More

Grocers want OTC tax repealed
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The American grocery industry, represented by Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Association, has requested that the U.S. Congress repeal the requirement that prevents shoppers from using flexible spending accounts to buy over-the-counter medicines without a prescription. The provision, enacted into law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will take OTC medications off the list of eligible medical expenses for reimbursement by FSAs and Health Savings Accounts on Jan. 1, 2011. FMI and N.G.A., along with other interested organizations, has signed a letter to the lawmakers that asks for the provision to be repealed or at least delayed. More

Grocers dictating farm gate prices says former ag leader
Better Farming    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A highly consolidated grocery industry dictates prices paid to processors and producers, and it's "not an exciting future for primary producers," says a former president of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. The impact of retail consolidation was one of several themes at the annual Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario conference that emerged from a three-speaker panel probing the future of food production at both local and international levels. Others included the implications of foreign ownership of land in developing countries and the role of government policy. More

Industry leaders confirm their reusable grocery bags are safe
Grocery Retail Online    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Earthwise Bag Company, Inc. and The Green Bag Company, Inc. recently announced that their reusable grocery bags have consistently met all Consumer Product Safety Standards in accordance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Regular independent testing of the companies' bags confirms that fact. All reusable grocery bags produced by both companies bear a label with their name. Any consumer in doubt about the safety of their bag should check the label to ensure that their bag was supplied by Earthwise or Green Bag. More

Gourmet market opens in Manhattan
Gourmet Retailer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Industry veterans teamed up in October to open Battery Place Market, an independent specialty food store in Manhattan, N.Y. Battery Place Market features a changing menu of prepared foods based on the produce and ingredients available. Most of the produce used is organic, local or both. New York food icon Mitchel London developed the menu with modifications and additions by Battery Place Market's Executive Chef Robert Sckalor, who has been cooking for 37 years at various establishments, including the Waldorf Astoria, the Four Seasons and specialty food store Agata & Valentina. More

Turkey prices may gobble up holiday budget
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Consumers purchasing all the essentials for their Thanksgiving dinner may discover that it will be slightly more expensive than in 2009, according to data from The Food Institute. Meanwhile, retail food prices have been outpaced by wholesale advances for the past year and food-at-home prices are up 1.4 percent compared to a year ago, the largest increase this year so far, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the positive side for consumers, the other main canned vegetables are seeing a price decrease from 2009 due to last year's strong pricing across the board. More

Commissary Announcements

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA website as of 10 a.m., November 23, 2010:

  • DP #1, Update #1, and CONUS Shipper & Promotion Quantities.
  • DP #4, WW Promotion Package, Savings, It's Worth The Trip.
  • DP #22, Update #2.

  • None received.

  • Adds/Changes/Deletes, Week 10-47. Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.

Exchange News

ExxonMobil forks over $25 million to New York City
Convenience Store News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
ExxonMobil has agreed to pay $25 million for the underground oil spill cleanup of New York City's Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. The settlement with Attorney General and New York's governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and environmental group Riverkeeper ends years of litigation over the refineries that once lined the Brooklyn waterfront and also gets the ball rolling on the decades-long cleanup of the neighborhood that sits above the oil plume, The Associated Press reported. More

Eco fees a 'wild west' for shoppers
The Toronto Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Home Hardware and Lowe's are charging them. Home Depot and Canadian Tire are not. Walmart and Loblaw won't say. RONA buries them in the price of goods such as paint and batteries. Welcome to what one critic calls the new "wild west" of eco fees which range from pennies to several dollars depending on the product. It's tough for consumers to keep track of where they stand amid a mishmash of policies from one retailer to another — if the chains will even reveal what they're doing. More than a month after the Ontario government formally killed a new round of eco fees that began July 1 on thousands of potentially toxic household items such as cleaners and fire extinguishers, the retail community is split on what to do about the first round of eco fees that came into effect on nine types of products in July 2008 — and remain legal. More

Better food ahead
Santa Barbara Independent    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While San Francisco's Board of Supervisors gained notoriety for putting a ban on toys in McDonald's Happy Meals, there is a much quieter revolution going on in Isla Vista, Calif. to unseat fast food and replace it with organic, local, and sustainable food. The UC Santa Barbara Student Collective wants to place an organic food cart on campus. Offering an alternative to Panda Express, Wendy's, and other such places, the cart would be stocked with organic and local food, bagels, fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches. More

Retail rating system for LEED released
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Green Building Council has released a new retail-specific rating system for LEED building certification, the Retail Industry Leaders Association here announced recently. The LEED for Retail rating system was developed with the support of nearly 100 pilot participants, including RILA members' Delhaize America, Best Buy, Target, Staples and REI. The program will enable retailers to better integrate sustainability into their real estate footprint. More

Exchange Announcements

The Exchange carves up prices for post-Thanksgiving shopping
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Military shoppers hungry for some tasty holiday prices may bite off more than they can chew as the Exchange is serving up a buffet of deals the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The feast of savings begins at 4:00 a.m. on Black Friday at CONUS locations with a smorgasbord of deals on electronics, jewelry, clothing and everything in between. Shoppers will find a Sony 52" LED TV for just $1,499, a savings of $500, Hewlett Packard desktop bundles for $349 and $400 savings on 1 1/2 carat Moissanite stud earrings in 14K white or yellow gold. Additionally, all Coach handbags will be 25 percent off from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Saturday's delicious prices are served up beginning at 6:00 a.m. at CONUS operations and include 55" Sharp LED TVs for $1,399, 25 percent off all fashion jewelry, Sony Blu-ray players for $97, two carat 14K white gold black diamond stud earrings for $199, a 60 percent savings, Magellan RoadMate 1420 GPS units on sale for $75 and much more.

The first 200 shoppers to visit the Exchange on Friday and Saturday can pile on the savings with scratch-off cards offering a variety of specials including $100, $50 and $25 gift cards, $10 off any purchase of $100 or more and 25 percent off Nike apparel.

Beyond Black Friday weekend, "Price Cuts" are sure to keep military shoppers coming back to the Exchange as temporary and permanent price reductions will ensure prices as fresh as the season.

"Pricing is going to be dynamic through the end of the year," said the Exchange's Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella. "We're going to be making adjustments throughout the holidays to ensure the Exchange is providing the best possible value for authorized patrons."

Visit to Dallas VA Fisher House
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Jim Weiskopf from Fisher House Foundation is hosting a visit and tour of the 21-suite Fisher House at the Dallas VA Medical Center, 4500 S. Lancaster Road, Dallas, Texas 75216 at 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2011. The tour is open to any AAFES employees or industry partners. Industry partners should contact Jim Weiskopf at (202) 607-1067 to confirm attendance and for a map with directions. For additional in-formation, contact Jim Weiskopf or Bob Ellis from the ALA. Visit should last approx-imately one to 1-1/2 hour and will include breakfast.

AAFES 2011 training seminars schedule
   Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
  • ODL Seminar will be held at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Jan. 10-14, 2011

  • MSM/GM Conference will be held at the InterContinental Hotel Dallas in Addison, March 21-23, 2011

  • Shoppette Seminar will be held at the Hilton Cincinnati & Duke Energy Convention Center April 11-15, 2011

  • MCSS will be held at the Sheraton Bloomington in Minneapolis, June 6-10, 2011

  • PowerZone will be held at the Omni Champions Gate in Orlando, June 27-July 1, 2011

  • Jewelry Seminar will be held at the InterContinental Hotel Dallas in Addison, July 18-21, 2011

Washington Update

US Army Family and MWR Command
Facebook    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
  • The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) works with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, medical, educational and personnel services to Families with special needs. How are you celebrating your Exceptional Family Member (EFM) during this month?

  • "Serving the Army's Family" — Please help us share this message and our promise to Soldiers and Families. Thanks for your service to our Nation!

U.S. Army Family and MWR Command is on Facebook! Sign up for Facebook to connect with U.S. Army Family and MWR Command.

Grunt Apparel, Inc.

Grunt Apparel specializes in original military inspired designs in silk screen & embroidery at low prices. Licensed by all military branches.
More info

Hubert Company

Stimulate Holiday sales and create a festive atmosphere with Bountiful Thanksgiving kits and fall prop and décor. More

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Tyson Foods is dedicated to bringing you quality, service, and support you need to drive sales. More


Executive Briefing
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601  Download media kit
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