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Deal reached on massive $1.1 trillion spending bill
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The Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe
Congressional leaders have reached agreement on a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep most of the federal government funded through next September.
Congress inserts $554 billion for DoD in 'cromnibus' spending bill
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Defense News, John T. Bennett
The massive spending bill unveiled recently by congressional leaders includes $554 billion for the Pentagon, including base-budget growth.
Spending bill restores commissary funding and adds support for HBI:
Lawmakers move to restore commissary funding
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Military Times, Karen Jowers
Lawmakers have rejected a White House request to start reducing funding for commissaries, and instead have restored $190 million.
Commissary funds restored; base tobacco prices rising
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Stars and Stripes, Tom Philpott
"This essential funding ensures that DeCA ... will continue delivering a core benefit of military compensation," said Patrick Nixon, president of the American Logistics Association. ALA represents manufacturers and vendors of products sold in military stores.
ALA comment on spending bill:
The spending bill that recently passed restores virtually all of the proposed reduction to commissary funding and adds funds for the support of the healthy base initiative. There is still a disconnect between the 2015 NDAA and the spending bill so additional details need to be worked out. It is important to note that the spending bill directs a relook at the program in light of the report due in February from the Compensation Commission. ALA will continue to work this issue with full focus and force because of its importance to the military resale system and the military patron.
Department of Defense:
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 provides $554.2 billion in base and overseas contingency operation funding, compared to $572 billion enacted in fiscal year 2014 and $554.3 billion in the President's budget request. The base budget appropriation is $490.2 billion with $64 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) of the Department of Defense (DoD), compared to $85.2 billion for DoD OCO enacted in fiscal year 2014. The bill also contains $112 million in emergency funds to respond to the Ebola crisis.
In compliance with the earmark moratorium, the bill contains no congressionally directed spending items.
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 emphasizes the following priorities:
- Supporting our troops, veterans and their families.
- Investing in innovation to maintain our technological edge.
- Restoring readiness and supporting high-priority programs.
- Instituting reforms.
Supporting our troops, veterans and their families
The three million active duty, reserve and civilian employees are the Department of Defense's most valuable resource. The bill protects investments in, and makes targeted increases for, the members of the Armed Forces, their families and the civilian employees of the DoD. Major initiatives include:
- Funding the one percent pay raise for military and civilian personnel, as requested by the DoD and authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee;
- Providing an additional $25 million for continuation and expansion of the Special Victims' Counsel Program to provide victims of sexual assault with legal assistance and support. Congress is committed to addressing this epidemic in the military. With this additional funding, sexual assault prevention funding will have nearly tripled over the past three years;
- Transferring $24.1 million to fully fund the National Guard's Military Burial Honors program in order to fulfill our nation's commitment to those who served;
- $3.6 million for Health Artifacts and Imaging Management Systems to support ongoing efforts between DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better manage veterans' health information and improve care;
- $3 million for the Healthy Base Initiative, which promotes wellness practices for troops and their families living on base;
- Adding $190 million to maintain operations at commissaries, pending the commission on compensation report due next year;
- Provides $88 million for Basic Allowance for Housing in accordance with the authorized one percent reduction in fiscal year 2015; and
- $13 million for an initiative to provide prekindergarten through 12th grade Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education activities for military children.
• One Credential – Access to Nearly 150 Military Installations
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For 2015 defense bills, paths to final passage begin to emerge
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Defense News, John T. Bennett
How the U.S. House and Senate will move two pending defense bills before leaving for the holidays is starting to take shape.
McCain: Military Times report on low morale should spur Congress to act
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Military Times, John T. Bennett
Sen. John McCain said that a new Military Times report about sagging morale in today's force should spur Congress to repeal defense budget cuts.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
Next secretary of defense: Familiar face, familiar problems
The White House formally announced its nominee to run the Pentagon during the final months of the Obama administration, tapping Ash Carter, a well-known technocrat who is expected to "hit the ground running."
Kendall: Carter faces 'big affordability problem' in budget
Ashton Carter, if confirmed as Defense secretary, faces fiscal 2016/2017 budgets complicated by possible new programs in Pentagon's nuclear weapons arsenal, says Frank Kendall, undersecretary for acquisition.
Sen. Kaine: Eliminating sequester 'unrealistic'
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in a new interview that Congress won't be able to completely eliminate sequestration.
Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the comment in an interview with The Loudoun Times-Mirror recently.
Specific information on upcoming ALA events is posted regularly on the ALA website. To learn more about each event, please click the following links:
Commissaries get unexpected $90 million boost from Congress
Officials with the Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefit said the change demonstrates congressional support for the commissary. "We appreciate the strong support of Congress," said Candace Wheeler, a spokesman for the coalition. "Our military families rely on the critical savings commissaries provide — especially with increasing uncertainty and stress, rising groceries prices and particularly at a time when surveys are showing that more military families are accessing food banks."
What's in the NDAA for military families? Was anyone listening?
National Military Family Association
It's easy to say that Congress ignored what military families have been saying when they finalized the compromise National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 on Dec. 2. Didn't we say "Don't balance the budget on the backs (and pocketbooks) of military service members and their families?" Yet the bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 4 contains:
This compromise bill contains significant threats to the financial stability of military families. But the hard choices Congress needed to make to finalize this bill pale in comparison to the continued threat of sequestration.
- A lower pay raise than called for by law (1 percent vs. 1.8 percent).
- A cut to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) of 1 percent for military families who move to a new location next year.
- An increase of $3 to pharmacy co-pays.
- A cut to the commissary funding by $100 million.
They cut the 2015 commissary budget?! Here's what it means
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to become law before Christmas, included some surprises for those of us who follow this stuff closely. Despite lawmakers saying that they rejected a plan by the Defense Department to cut commissary funding, lo and behold they made cuts anyway.
Commissary Web Posts
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website between 10 a.m., Dec. 4 and 10 a.m., Dec. 10:
- DP #4, Far East Promotion & Shipper Quantities.
- Valentines, Update #1.
NOTICES TO TRADE (NTT)
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 14-48 and 14-49.
- Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 14-50.
- CONUS Guard/Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule as of Dec. 5.
- CRV Values, Dec. 7.
- DeCA MP Guidance 14-04, Vendor Credit Memorandum, April 16.
- DeCA Directive 70-6, Financial Procedures (Chapter 10 pertains to VCM Policy).
FEDERAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, and Custodial Operations for DeCA
Furnish all necessary supervision, personnel, equipment and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area and custodial operations for the Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Leonard Wood Commissary, located Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement.
Armored Car Services
Armored Car Services, Eglin AFB, Gunter AFB, Pensacola, Florida, New Orleans and Aberdeen, Maryland, PG Commissaries. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of March 1, 2015, through Feb. 29, 2016, for all other locations and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through Feb. 28, 2020.
This is not a Solicitation of Request for Proposal. The Defense Commissary Agency is seeking qualified contractors for the acquisition and delivery to provide, distribute and merchandise approximately 10 top selling, approved commercially available magazines to approximately 178 U.S. military commissary locations for resale purposes.
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Lawmakers move to restore commissary funding
Lawmakers have rejected a White House request to start reducing funding for commissaries and instead have restored $190 million.
Military update with Tom Philpott
Pensacola News Journal
Military folks will see compensation packages pinched in 2015 under a deal struck by House and Senate negotiators finishing pay and benefit changes in the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill.
Chastain now Zone 35 manager; Hill takes Zone 18
Defense Commissary Agency
Scott Hill, former Camp Pendleton Commissary, California, store director has been promoted as DeCA's Zone 18 manager, filling a vacancy left when the zone's former manager Ken Chastain moved to be DeCA's Zone 35 manager.
The changes took place in August and September. Chastain, who moved in August to his new office at the Kadena Air Base Commissary, Okinawa, oversees 14 commissaries in Japan, 10 on the mainland and four on Okinawa. Zone 35 stores had combined annual sales of $208 million in fiscal year 2014.
Why go to the store, when the groceries can come to your doorstep?
The Washington Post
Online grocery shopping service — from in-store pickup for pre-ordered items to same-day home delivery — is booming among convenience-hungry customers.
What grocery stores can do to eliminate the food waste problem
The average U.S. family of four tosses $1,500 worth of food each year in the trash. Even the most conscientious consumer can't avoid the problem of food waste, though retailers and cities that require mandatory composting are making strides in ensuring that waste at least avoids the landfill. In a new report, the brand innovation firm BBMG outlines ways that we can continue to cut down on waste — and what we can do with the food waste that already exists.
Let's hope this is the next big food trend
Thinking about your next meal? Forget kale or quinoa or any other trendy fare. Why not try "expired" or "ugly" food instead?
Modern Farmer has proclaimed that salvage grocery stores — where shoppers can find misshapen fruits and veggies, and food that’s past the sell-by dates for steep discounts — are "the next big thing in food."
Nestle to use natural refrigerants on all ice cream freezers in 2015
Nestle is extending a European initiative, to buy natural refrigerants instead of synthetic ones, globally from January 2015.
Olive oil producers in 'crisis' from weather, pests and disease
There's been a dramatic drop in oil production, but it's not barrels of light sweet crude. It's olive oil.
Curtis Cord, publisher of the Olive Oil Times, tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered there are many reasons why production has fallen so much in Italy and Spain this year.
10 things grocery stores won't tell you
The average American household makes 1.6 trips a week to the grocery store, and spends an average of $102.90 per week, according to the Food Marketing Institute, a food-retail industry group. With numbers like these, you'd expect that grocery stores would do booming business, especially as the economy continues its upswing. But that's not the case.
Smart woman: Grocery shopping by age
There's more to the phrase "you are what you eat." Dietitians now say you should eat by your age.
According to registered dietitian Tamara Melton, a simple way to eat better is to fill your cart with some "must have" foods, packed with nutrients your body requires as you grow older.
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US retailers' November sales top estimates on early deals
U.S. retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp., L Brands Inc. and Gap Inc., posted November same-store sales that exceeded analysts' estimates as early discounts prompted consumers to start spending for the holiday season.
Sears to accelerate closings, shutter 235 stores
Sears shares fell Dec. 4, after the struggling department store announced an adjusted net loss of $296 million — in line with the updated guidance it gave in November.
RadioShack lender claims retailer broke loan agreement
RadioShack Corp. lender Salus Capital Partners LLC claimed the retailer defaulted on a borrowing agreement by accepting an October bailout from shareholder Standard General LP, according to a regulatory filing.
Boehner kills online sales-tax bill — for now
A last-ditch push by about 30 Republicans to convince House Speaker John Boehner to allow lame-duck action on an online sales-tax measure failed, but those attending the closed meeting said he is promising to revisit the issue early next year.
Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot most efficient advertisers
With all the marketing hysteria surrounding Black Friday, it's easy to forget that consumers tune out most of it. But Kantar Media just crunched the numbers, comparing ad expenditures to visits from holiday shoppers, and found that Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Home Depot are the season's most efficient advertisers so far.
Wal-Mart, Target report strong online Thanksgiving sales
Big box retailers Wal-Mart and Target reported strong online sales from Thanksgiving and early Black Friday. Target said by 9 a.m. Friday "online sales had already exceeded total sales from the same day last year."
Cyber Monday shoppers give retailers sales bump
The Associated Press via The Record
Cyber Monday is turning into Cyber Month.
Retailers rolled out discounts and free shipping deals on Cyber Monday, with millions of Americans expected to log on and shop on their work computers, laptops and tablets after the busy holiday shopping weekend.
How the Web drags on some retailers
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
The Internet appears to be the main winner at the start of the holiday shopping blitz, and the loser could be the retail industry's profits.
Analysis: Retail forecast 2015
Chain Store Age
Blue skies and cool breezes. That's the economic forecast as the calendar turns for a new year. Retailers looking to bolster revenues and profits over the next 12 months should benefit from a gradual improvement in the ability and willingness of shoppers to spend.
Dollar General to open 730 stores and remodel 875 locations in 2015; entering three new markets
Chain Store Age (subscriber article)
While the outcome of Dollar General Corp.'s plan acquire rival Family Dollar Stores remains unsettled, the company remains committed to organic growth.
Survey: Online shoppers don't feel safe
Chain Store Age
Most consumers do not feel safe when shopping online and many are shying away from their favorite retailers as a result. According to the "Trust in the Internet" survey of 10,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers from NCC Group and IDG, nearly 8 out of 10 people do not feel very safe when shopping online and, with the holidays just a few weeks away, nearly a quarter reveal they are doing less online due to security concerns.
Hershey acquires iconic Canadian candy maker Allan Candy Co.
The Hershey Co. has acquired The Allan Candy Co., a leading North American manufacturer of quality confectionery products based in Ontario, Canada.
OnCue's $1.99 triggers Oklahoma gas war
How low can it go? At an OnCue Express in Oklahoma City, the price for gasoline fell to $1.99, triggering a flurry of news stories and social media buzz, along with a price war among area gas stations.
With $2 gas by Christmas
For the first time in five years, under $3 gasoline is making a comeback in some areas of the United States, reported Bloomberg. And retail stations scattered across the South and Midwest are about 20 cents shy of the $2-a-gallon mark.
US Venture moves out of retail
After 40 years as a direct operator of convenience stores, U.S. Venture Inc. is selling its remaining company operations and transitioning its franchised locations into a licensing model.
Wawa to feature Coca-Cola Freestyle in all locations by May 2015
Wawa Inc. announced it will become the first national retailer in the convenience retail channel to offer Coca-Cola Freestyle chainwide. Coca-Cola Freestyle is a touch screen soda fountain that features more than 100 different Coca-Cola drink products and custom flavors. The new unique beverage experience will roll out to all Wawa stores by May 2015 and is part of an overall enhancement to Wawa's offer and addition to its self-serve beverage area.
Virginia considers tobacco retail license requirement
The Virginia state legislature is considering a recommendation by the Virginia State Crime Commission to require tobacco retailers to obtain a state license in order to sell cigarettes, according to the Associated Press.
'Battle Royale': Who is waging war on Wawa?
Royal Farms, a convenience store chain based in Baltimore, is looking to expand in the Delaware Valley, an area long dominated by Wawa, reported The Philadelphia Business Journal.
Chefs reveal top 100 food trends for 2015
Cronuts and kale may come and go, but some more stable trends continue to establish themselves into our everyday away-from-home eating habits. For the second year, locally sourced protein and produce, environmental sustainability and healthful kids' meals took the top four spots in the annual National Restaurant Association What's Hot Culinary Forecast.
The 2014 Convenience Store Products Hot 100: Nos. 20-11
Convenience Store Products has been counting down the 2014 Hot 100, the top retailer-requested products of the year. The list is derived from individual products listed in editorial and advertising in Convenience Store Products magazine, from the August/September 2013 issue through the July/August 2014 issue. Any product with a reader circle number was tracked to see how it resonated with readers.
Is the US military facing a crisis of morale?
As the Iraq and Afghanistan war era ends, many active-duty troops are expressing lower job satisfaction and less interest in re-enlistment, according to a Military Times survey. Many troops feel underpaid and unappreciated, just 44 percent of 2,300 active-duty respondents rated their pay and benefits as "good" or "excellent" — a new low. More than 10 percent say they struggle to pay monthly bills and, at least once during the past year, resorted to a high-interest payday loan service to make ends meet. Troops say morale has sharply declined over the last five years and most of those in uniform today believe their quality of life will only get worse.
Texas: Gone but not forgotten: Fort Bliss MWR keeps in touch with past generations
Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System
The Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare and Recreation department puts its best effort to keep soldiers and their families entertained with a multitude of events for the winter season. But of all the things offered during the holidays, none perhaps, are as heartfelt as receiving an acknowledgement that the Army family has not forgotten you, wherever you are in the world.
Georgia: Stores donate $20,000 to soldiers, families
Bryan County News
Clyde's Market, a Glennville-based convenience-store chain, recently showed its support for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield soldiers and their families with a $20,000 donation to Stewart-Hunter's Survivor Outreach Services.
Category Management Session
Category Management Association
If you sell goods or services to any Federal agency (HHS, Homeland Security, DOD, etc.), your life is about to change. Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has announced that the discipline called "Category Management" will be central to the creation of the governmentwide marketplace going forward. As you can read in this excerpted article, all federal acquisitions will be organized by category and be overseen by a single official "who may be from industry or government." This change has profound implications for everyone selling to the government.
The Category Management Association would like to help you understand this unique discipline while addressing your concerns over such a major change in the way the federal government does business. The CMA's own Gordon Wade, senior vice president, category management best practices, is one of the three original developers of category management created 20 years ago. His insights have guided the successful adoption of Category Management across the globe, with special emphasis in business-to-customer environments. He now supports the emergence of CatMan in the business-to-business federal acquisition environment.
We would like to invite you to a one-day category management seminar on Jan. 29 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Washington, D.C. This seminar, Category Management in the Federal Acquisition Environment, has three objectives:
To help you understand category management as a process.
To identify the implications for your organization and personnel.
To provide insights and training in specific aspects of category management.
The cost for this informative one-day seminar is $900. Attendance will be limited to the first 200 respondents. Please reserve your place quickly because we are inviting Federal acquisition leadership as well as vendors so we expect the limited space to fill rapidly.
Register HERE now.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063