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Pentagon Proposes Plan to Gut Commissary's Budget
Military.com ^ | 22 January, 2014 | Amy Bushatz

Posted on 01/29/2014 1:11:25 PM PST by SZonian

The Defense Department is discussing a $1 billion cut over the next three years to the commissary’s budget in a move that could lead to a widespread closure of stores, Pentagon and industry officials said.

Word of the pending cut comes two months after news that the Pentagon’s top financial advisor ordered the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to produce a plan to close most stateside commissaries should the need arise.

The commissary agency currently operates 247 stores worldwide. Under the requested closure plan, all but 24 rural stores stateside and stores located outside the continental U.S. would close.

(Excerpt) Read more at military.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: commissary; military; pentagon
Still trying to screw the servicemember, their families and military retirees...closing over 90% of the stores worldwide.
1 posted on 01/29/2014 1:11:25 PM PST by SZonian
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To: Jet Jaguar

Ping


2 posted on 01/29/2014 1:11:56 PM PST by SZonian (Throwing our allegiances to political parties in the long run gave away our liberty.)
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To: SZonian

This might cause more incidents of “workplace violence” to be sure...

guys running in, shooting up the place, shouting “all o’ you at the snackbar!” because they’re upset about the long line...


3 posted on 01/29/2014 1:13:33 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: SZonian

Start with Congressional perks!


4 posted on 01/29/2014 1:19:13 PM PST by ExTexasRedhead
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To: SZonian

Why exactly do we need commissaries? You really think a government-operated grocery store is run efficiently?


5 posted on 01/29/2014 1:22:37 PM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: SZonian
When I was an E-1 through E-4 we would not have made it without the commisary. I don't think that Wal Mart is much more expensive but the commisary was on-base and the local Wal Mart, in some cases, was more than 20 miles away.

The commisary was definitely an essential for morale.

6 posted on 01/29/2014 1:23:02 PM PST by pfflier
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To: SZonian
As I posted to a similar thread when this topic first came up back in early December... I actually agree with this decision, and for 20 years have argued that the DOD commissary and exchange systems are outdated and should be closed. They have clearly outlived their purpose.

Years ago, commissaries and exchanges provided the only low cost shopping options that were available to military families stationed in isolated locations. Today almost every military base has a Walmart Supercenter and several other grocery stores right outside its gates -- all crowded with military shoppers. Those stores have found their way to military markets for two reasons:
1. Almost all military members now have their own cars to reach them; and
2. Military families have the money to buy from them.

Aboard any large base today you'll find McDonald's, Burger King, Subway and Pizza Hut franchises; similarly, the need no longer exists to justify parallel supermarkets operated and staffed by highly-paid government employees. On-base shopping can be outsourced to any number of regional supermarket chains -- or in total to Walmart, whose nationwide logistical system would require only minor tweaking to meet the demand.

Subsidized military commissaries and exchanges needlessly and inefficiently duplicate what the private sector now already provides. They are no longer needed and no longer contribute to national defense, and therefore should be closed.

7 posted on 01/29/2014 1:24:29 PM PST by Always A Marine
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To: SZonian

Cut out the commissary budget completely. Outsource the whole commissary system to Wal-Mart or Costco or some similar company. Let them have the buildings and run the stores in exchange for a cut of the profits. The private companies will no doubt do a better and more efficient job. The result will probably be a better shopping experience for the servicemen and their families, lower cost for the government, and probably a profit besides.


8 posted on 01/29/2014 1:27:38 PM PST by DoodleDawg
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To: bigdaddy45

They are very important over-seas where you can’t get the selection, varieties, “American” items at a reasonable low cost.

Not so much needed here in the states.


9 posted on 01/29/2014 1:43:49 PM PST by Hulka
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To: Hulka

I get it overseas, but I see no need for them stateside.


10 posted on 01/29/2014 1:45:03 PM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: bigdaddy45

Indeed.


11 posted on 01/29/2014 1:52:39 PM PST by Hulka
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To: bigdaddy45

On base the BX/PX and commissary sell certain items at cost and this is a big benefit. Making them go 15-20 miles off base will once again eat away at pay and benefits.


12 posted on 01/29/2014 1:53:13 PM PST by america-rules
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To: bigdaddy45

You really don’t understand the real pay system and especially the retirement pay system. The largest part of military retirees right now served years for a small percentage of the pay civilian counterparts received and were promised and even promised in writing that commissary services were part of their overall compensation and retirement compensation. Since retirement pay is essentially little more than static and the retirement is based on base pay meaning if your base pay was say, $35000 it was about 40 to 50% of your total active compensation. When you retire, you receive around 50% for 20 years and up to 75% for 30 yrs. The average is somewhere around 22 years of service. 50% of 35000 20 years ago is now around 30000 today so guess what! That promised 20% savings at the commissary that we were told in writing was a part of our retirement compensation makes a hell of a difference.

One other thing, the commissary IS pretty efficiently run.

The other side effect is that in areas with commissaries, the local chain markets strive to compete in price thus lowering prices for non-military shoppers. When that competition is gone then the local suppliers lose jobs and income, the prices will go up at the chain markets and the population of the area will pay more.

Cut all the perks from congress, limit the vacations a president can take, stop all payments and medical care to all illegals and their anchors, cut the useless special programs the DoD is saddled with by congress that pump money into designated districts. More promised retirement and active duty benefits being cut with about the only thing left being medical coverage. That will be next. You want a base for armed rebellion? This is a big step.


13 posted on 01/29/2014 1:57:50 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: bigdaddy45

Have you ever served in a location where the nearest grocery store was 30 minutes away? The nearest Wal-Mart an hour away? There are quite a few stateside installations with this situation. Edwards AFB, and Camp Pendleton come to mind...

I will offer some comparisons to some items purchased at a commissary for near cost vs. supporting and subsidizing unionized grocery store workers at a store charging significantly higher prices in order to offset the pay and benefits of unionized employees...

I’ll use the closest town to Edwards as an example...Rosamond has an Albertson’s and is about 30 minutes each way from base housing. Wal-Mart is about another 30 minutes down the freeway.

A 1lb. package of Kraft shredded cheese at DeCA is ~$2.00, at Albertson’s, it is almost $5.00 for the identical package. A gallon of milk at DeCA is ~$3.00, at Albertson’s, you need to buy 2 gallons to get the price down to ~$5.00 per gallon...and again, we’ve traveled off base to get it. Granted, shopping lists...but if you erred then there is a high price to pay.

So how does this cost impact a young family residing on base/post? What “benefit” is there to the servicemember? The need to increase pay will follow once the full import of the financial impact to the junior servicemember has set in...or I guess they could all go on food stamps.

I would ask you to show some evidence that DeCA is inefficient before I engage the potential tar baby/strawman you presented in question #2.

Taxpayers have every right to demand efficiency from the government, but I have yet to see in my more than 30 years of using DeCA the types of gross inefficiency you’re attempting to allude to here.

What is the overall impact to morale with this possibility of closing commissaries vs. the ROI? What, exactly, is the value added in closing them instead of cutting EBT, school grants, Section 8, Congressional perks, etc.?

Are there locations where a commissary is probably outdated? Probably, but I don’t live there. I don’t know the cost of living in that area and I don’t think anyone can tell what the impact will be to prices in that local area once the commissary in that area is closed.


14 posted on 01/29/2014 2:26:38 PM PST by SZonian (Throwing our allegiances to political parties in the long run gave away our liberty.)
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To: Always A Marine
Retirees, including medically retired wounded, utilize the commissaries too. Of course, they got extra cash laying around and probably have a car, so it's okay..

Why don't we cut EBT and all the rest of the welfare programs for social parasites that do nothing to contribute to society and use that money?

Then if there's still problems, get back to me on closing the commissaries.

15 posted on 01/29/2014 2:30:26 PM PST by Repeat Offender (What good are conservative principles if we don't stand by them?)
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To: Repeat Offender

They are looking to save $1 billion over three years from commissaries, but no cuts to the $2 billion a year free phone program.


16 posted on 01/29/2014 2:39:14 PM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: SZonian

From the article...”A recent grocery store study by DeCA found that using the commissary saves shoppers an average of 30.5 percent annually when compared to other stores off base.”

I remember my days many years ago, living on meager military pay. My wife and I could make ends meet by shopping in the commissary. It is as important to military families to have this benefit stateside as it is overseas. It is time to put the screws to this Obumer Admin and his flunkies running the Defense Department!

But of course The Liar In Chief covers his ass on these things, again quoting from the posted article, “Last year, President Obama told Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. that closing commissaries is “not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families.””


17 posted on 01/29/2014 2:47:37 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders)
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To: Repeat Offender; SZonian
I'm for cutting ALL wasteful programs, but I'd be a hypocrite to defend one that benefits me while calling to end others that don't. The present government-run commissary and exchange system is an expensive boondoggle that is no longer needed but still exists because, well, because it always has. It should be put to bid and privatized.

As I pointed out in a previous post, every major base has McDonalds, Burger King, Subway and Pizza Hut restaurants that are better than the government-run snack bars they replaced years ago. These franchised operations don't cost taxpayers a single dime; in fact, they pay the government to operate on its bases. What makes supermarkets and liquor stores any different? They are not.

And as for the lost benefit of heavily-subsidized food and liquor to retirees? Sorry, but the cash retirement is lot better deal than most realize. There are only two types of defined benefit retirement plans anymore: those funded by companies that will have to declare bankruptcy to escape the burden, and those funded by governments which have the power to extract their ever-rising costs from taxpayers. The rest of America already shifted to defined contribution plans - and today's military members may participate in the federal Thrift Savings Plan as an additional retirement source if they're willing to invest some of their own pay. In total, military retirement options are incredibly generous and better than anything available to ordinary employees in the private sector. Enjoy it while it lasts!

18 posted on 01/29/2014 4:17:09 PM PST by Always A Marine
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To: GGpaX4DumpedTea
From the article..."A recent grocery store study by DeCA found that using the commissary saves shoppers an average of 30.5 percent annually when compared to other stores off base."

What else would you expect to hear from a study conducted by a government agency that is facing the chopping block?

19 posted on 01/29/2014 4:20:30 PM PST by Always A Marine
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To: Always A Marine
"...defend one that benefits me while calling to end others that don't."

I don't see where anyone here as stated otherwise...sure is a lot of straw flying on this thread...

20 posted on 01/29/2014 4:36:35 PM PST by SZonian (Throwing our allegiances to political parties in the long run gave away our liberty.)
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To: Always A Marine

I have been there, in the military, and I believe this number is accurate, if not a bit conservative. And that was 50 years ago when a dollar was worth something. On the meager pay of a PFC, later Corporal, the commissary made a BIG difference.


21 posted on 01/29/2014 5:33:01 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders)
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To: blueyon; KitJ; T Minus Four; xzins; CMS; The Sailor; ab01; txradioguy; Jet Jaguar; Defender2; ...

Active Duty/Retiree ping.


22 posted on 01/29/2014 5:56:29 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Always A Marine
What else would you expect to hear from a study conducted by a government agency that is facing the chopping block?

It's always been that way, particularly in higher cost areas. Not just now.

The reason why this is the case is because the operating expenses (other than the cost of the food) are paid for by appropriated funds (i.e., tax dollars)

23 posted on 01/29/2014 6:03:09 PM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: SZonian
Still trying to screw the servicemember, their families and military retirees...closing over 90% of the stores worldwide.

The commissaries were essential to me as a junior enlisted. Now as a retiree, they are a definite "nice to have," but not essential.

Seriously, though, I think that having an on-post grocery store is essential for the troops. Particularly considering that a lot of posts are not located in major metropolitan areas where there are a lot of choices out there for grocery shopping.

There is ZERO reason, though, why they couldn't be outsourced and operated at zero cost to the taxpayer while still giving a really good value to the troops. With nationwide buying power, they could negotiate good prices from manufacturers and sell the food at cost, having the competitors bid on a flat rate surcharge to cover the operating expenses (salaries, logistics, utilities, and maintenance on the buildings).

24 posted on 01/29/2014 6:08:39 PM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley
There is ZERO reason, though, why they couldn't be outsourced and operated at zero cost to the taxpayer while still giving a really good value to the troops. With nationwide buying power, they could negotiate good prices from manufacturers and sell the food at cost, having the competitors bid on a flat rate surcharge to cover the operating expenses (salaries, logistics, utilities, and maintenance on the buildings).

Bingo! Walmart could provide the same service with its existing logistics system at zero cost to taxpayers. Privatization already works with on-base restaurant franchises, and it would work with groceries and other items. The only thing threatened is the boondoggle of unnecessary government jobs in an antiquated, parallel system.

Besides, today's military is not poverty ridden; our members are actually quite well paid compared to both "the old days" and today's civilian job market. Beyond the base pay rates, which range from modest to decent to quite comfortable depending upon one's rank and time in service, there are significant non-taxable allowances for food and housing - the latter of which is even adjusted for duty in high cost locations.

25 posted on 01/29/2014 6:50:40 PM PST by Always A Marine
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To: Always A Marine

winnah winnah chicken dinnah!

Give it to Walmart, let them skip the taxes and the bagger “tips”, and the price will be about the same.

Bonus will be that the fruit and veggies will last more than one day after you bring them home!


26 posted on 01/29/2014 8:03:48 PM PST by redlegplanner ( No Representation without Taxation)
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To: Always A Marine
Bingo! Walmart could provide the same service with its existing logistics system at zero cost to taxpayers. Privatization already works with on-base restaurant franchises, and it would work with groceries and other items. The only thing threatened is the boondoggle of unnecessary government jobs in an antiquated, parallel system.

To the best of my knowledge, in the states, vendors already deliver to the store and stock the shelves (at least the people I see doing so when I shop there wear "vendor" name tags). The only exception to that is the meat and produce departments...where Commissary employees stock the shelves (but I assume the vendors stock the coolers)

Frankly, I'd rather see a retailer like Wally World take over the PX function than the Commissary.

There are plenty of grocers who could take on the Commissary function.

Besides, today's military is not poverty ridden; our members are actually quite well paid compared to both "the old days" and today's civilian job market. Beyond the base pay rates, which range from modest to decent to quite comfortable depending upon one's rank and time in service, there are significant non-taxable allowances for food and housing - the latter of which is even adjusted for duty in high cost locations.

When I returned to the States (Andrews) from Italy (Aviano), I noticed that the cost of living was actually higher at Andrews than it was in Aviano, though I, as an E-7, got a COLA of almost $400 a month in Aviano (and, of course, being Stateside, there was no COLA at Andrews -- even though civilians get a 22% locality differential on their pay). It would have been considerably more difficult on my family if we'd have had to shop at Giant or Safeway, because the price of groceries was (and is) so un-flippingly unbelievable at those stores.

As for the troops being well compensated, again, that depends upon their rate/AFSC/MOS. Yes, an admin specialist may make as much or more wearing a uniform as compared to wearing a business suit, but the more technical folks? Really? I can't say in general whether that is true or not, but again, when I retired as an E-7, my paycheck went up 150% the very day that I hung my uniform up and put on a suit. (And, yes, that takes into account BAH for the DC area and BAS as well as the tax advantage for BAH and BAS not being taxed). Now, obviously, if the E-9 who runs the Dental Clinic transitions into being a dental hygienist as a civilian, they would take a pay cut...but if you do an honest comparison of the full spectrum of responsibilities between the military and civilian life, NCO and SNCO military folks are not what I'd call over-paid.

27 posted on 01/30/2014 2:34:44 AM PST by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley; Always A Marine
"There is ZERO reason, though, why they couldn't be outsourced and operated at zero cost to the taxpayer while still giving a really good value to the troops."

I don't disagree...however, the article states that 90% will be CLOSED...not realigned, not outsourced, CLOSED.

I know that as a Jr. Enlisted I couldn't have made it without the commissary...

As a retiree as well, yes, the commissary is nice to have and we patronize ours as much as possible because foot traffic and sales help determine which stores remain open...

Some folks here seem to have a real bug up their ass about the commissary and I'm not getting that their responses are rational or logical...they're militant in that they want the stores eliminated.

The point to me is that again, the military is being forced to endure the pain before or for that matter, alongside any of the slugs who feed at the troughs...$2B for 0bamaphones per year, but it's the commissaries and retiree COLAs that need to be cut in order to save a billion or so per year.

Give me damned freakin' break already...so tired of the lying, inane and downright stupid bs being flung around FR and other venues that I could knock the head off the next dumbass who says the military needs to endure the pain as well...as well my ass, the military are the ONLY ones being told to endure the pain.

28 posted on 01/30/2014 7:51:39 AM PST by SZonian (Throwing our allegiances to political parties in the long run gave away our liberty.)
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To: SZonian; markomalley
I don't believe that military members are overpaid, but they are compensated much better than in our old days, and they are not threatened with poverty. It is voluntary military service, after all, so parity is not a requirement - especially since military retirement is excellent and leaves plenty of working years to accrue additional retirement savings in a second career. (And to be fair, let's not assume that federally-funded contractor jobs are typical of the actual civilian market.)

Since the greatest concern should always focus on the lowest-paid junior enlisteds, let's look at the pay of a Lance Corporal (E-3, equivalent to PFC, SN and A1C) at Camp Lejeune, NC with only 2 years in service... His base pay is $1,919 per month, or $23,028 per year. His tax-free Basic Allowance for Subsistence (food) is $352 per month, or $4,224 per year. He may live rent-free in government quarters with utilities provided. If he lives off base and is single, he receives a tax-free Basic Allowance for Housing of $11,016 per year ($918 monthly); if married, his tax-free BAH is $14,472 per year ($1,206 monthly). In the real world this is excellent pay for someone only two years out of high school.

As for SZonian's point that 90% of the commissaries will be closed and not realigned... Good! There's no reason that Exchange stores can't sell groceries -- but I'd privatize both functions, just as we've done successfully with on-base fast food restaurants. Short of fighting wars, enforcing and adjudicating laws and a very few other few legitimate functions, there is NOTHING that private, competitive industry can't do better, more efficiently and at a lower cost than government. It is time to privatize the Exchanges and Commissaries!

29 posted on 01/30/2014 9:41:50 AM PST by Always A Marine
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To: Always A Marine

The rate of inflation over the years since we separated or retired is what? Just how does one compare my basic pay of ~$600 per month in 1983 to today’s? Was I compensated much better than those who preceded me?

AAFES is a for profit venture...the prices will neccessarily go up as they are obligated to return a certain percentage of their proceeds back to the installations.

As for the pay and allowances, you’re making alot of assumptions...many of those allowances only come into play if the servicemember qualifies for them, they are not automatic.

Edwards AFB closed their dining hall a few years ago and started paying all the single enlisted in the dorms BAS...few choices available, but the commissary offered them the chance and choices they didn’t have through the fast food joints and AAFES to prepare healthy meals. Then there’s the distance from ED to Rosamond or Lancaster to purchase groceries...another point that is DELIBERATELY ignored...

If the claims of DeCA are accurate, notwithstanding the personal motive to disclaim them, that the average savings is ~ 30%. Another posited that I endorsed government inefficiency because of my support for DeCA and when I challenged him to support his assertion, crickets. No honor, no truth.

You are sliding down that slippery slope as well since you have failed to offer ANY proof that DeCA is inefficient. Yet, you keep claiming that private industry can do DeCA’s job better.

How do you know?

The intangibles of the DeCA system are part and parcel of the overall initiatives and benefits to lure young men and women to serve...it is but a pittance in the spending and yet, through your constant ignoring of my previous points, we need to cut the military first and above all the other “entitlement” spending to the leeches and dregs of society.

Based on that, I think I can draw a reasonable conclusion on where you stand...

Post away, you get the last word...I won’t bother wasting my time anymore.


30 posted on 01/30/2014 11:08:31 AM PST by SZonian (Throwing our allegiances to political parties in the long run gave away our liberty.)
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