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Okie
11-22-2013, 05:24 AM
http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131121/BENEFITS07/311210046/DoD-seeks-plan-shut-all-U-S-commissaries

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think they're bluffing. I think this is more "the sky is falling" crap designed to scare folks into thinking DoD can't stomach the tiniest little cut.

I really won't shed any tears if the commissary goes away, but I'm surprised they're not going after AAFES first. That's an organization that has truly outlived its usefulness.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
11-22-2013, 11:50 AM
Thanks to sequestration (which isn't going away), I think we are on the eve of another massive downsizing/transformation of the military. We will soon reach the point, if we haven't already, where cuts in military bennies will not have that much impact on elections or retention. Sure, plenty of people will point fingers, scream and yell over the cuts, but in the end the cuts will still happen.

Chief_KO
11-22-2013, 12:26 PM
Straight from the mouth of the AF undersecretary for finance (not sure if that was his official title, but you get the gist)...
"All military personnel support programs are on the chopping block"
Bottom line, if we don't use it (what ever "it" is) there is a very real likelihood that it will go away. Can DECA be replace by a commercial enterprise? Yes...but is that the correct answer? With well documented savings of over 30% across the board (yes sometime items can be found cheaper downtown, and yes sometimes the commissary doesn't carry brand "X" or the meat or veg selection is lacking) it is still a very big benefit that we must all band together to maintain. Write your elected representative, be a member of a TMC org like AFSA, VFW, American Legion, etc.
At one time (20 years ago) a base was a city of it own, with a sense of community. Now, it is a place to go to work. I don't think it is a stretch to tie some (most) of our morale issues on the decline of the military base.

Okie
11-22-2013, 12:28 PM
@Flaps - Agreed. However, for all the talk of sequestration, it amounts to fighting over change we found in the couch compared to how much money we need to come up with to pay our bills.

Kalbo607
11-22-2013, 01:44 PM
I do not support the closing of commissaries. Agree it could be more scare tactics or not. What I have noticed as we likely will enter year two of sequestration leading to even bigger cuts than last year, decision makers still just want to go after low hanging fruit. Mean while there are still plenty of other billion dollar wasteful programs that will likely not even be touched.

raustin0017
11-22-2013, 02:06 PM
Just read this article....IMHO....not going to pass Congress if it ever gets that far. It is a low hanging fruit but that fruit is poison.

USN - Retired
11-22-2013, 02:48 PM
We should close or privatize all commissaries, except in very remote locations. The government shouldn't be in the grocery business.

Perhaps even commissaries in remote locations should be privatized. The little grocery store at the US military facility on Diego Garcia, the most remote location on Earth, is run by a contractor, not the government.

I wouldn't really mind losing the commissaries here in Hawaii. I'd just go shop at Costco instead.

Rusty Jones
11-22-2013, 02:50 PM
We should close or privatize all commissaries, except in very remote locations. The government shouldn't be in the grocery business.

Perhaps even commissaries in remote locations should be privatized. The little grocery store at the US military facility on Diego Garcia, the most remote location on Earth, is run by a contractor, not the government.

I wouldn't really mind losing the commissaries here in Hawaii. I'd just go shop at Costco instead.

We should get rid of the military and privatize that too.

Rainmaker
11-22-2013, 02:55 PM
We should get rid of the military and privatize that too.

For the most part they already have.

Absinthe Anecdote
11-22-2013, 03:05 PM
I'm thinking one of the big defense contractors could do a better job with the commissaries than DECA.

Just imagine all the high tech food we could buy if Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman ran the commissaries. I bet they could come up with some type of high tech cheese doodle that when snacked upon by a depend-a-pottamus it would rearrange their molecular structure so they look like a super model.

Frankly, I am thinking they should just do away with the traditional foodstuffs in the commissary and stock it with an advanced super food like soylent green.

Rainmaker
11-22-2013, 03:20 PM
I'm thinking one of the big defense contractors could do a better job with the commissaries than DECA.

Just imagine all the high tech food we could buy if Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman ran the commissaries. I bet they could come up with some type of high tech cheese doodle that when snacked upon by a depend-a-pottamus it would rearrange their molecular structure so they look like a super model.

Frankly, I am thinking they should just do away with the traditional foodstuffs in the commissary and stock it with an advanced super food like soylent green.

Rainmaker recommend CONgress steer a "competitive" contract to Wal-Mart. They haven't gotten enough profits and will need the captive audience once, the rest of their customer's EBT cards run dry.

Bunch
11-22-2013, 04:48 PM
I'm thinking one of the big defense contractors could do a better job with the commissaries than DECA.

Just imagine all the high tech food we could buy if Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman ran the commissaries. I bet they could come up with some type of high tech cheese doodle that when snacked upon by a depend-a-pottamus it would rearrange their molecular structure so they look like a super model.

Frankly, I am thinking they should just do away with the traditional foodstuffs in the commissary and stock it with an advanced super food like soylent green.

I can just imagine the wonderful experience that it will be if our most capable contractors ran the commissary.

First, they will take the gig estimating it at 2.3 billion dollars but after the usual cost overruns they will end up bilking the government for an additional 10.7 billion dollars for a total net savings of -8.4 billion dollars.

Now let’s talk about the outstanding customer experience we will get. Strolling by the parking lot you will have a hard time finding a spot that will fit your vehicle since they made the parking spots without taking into consideration large cars, large RV’s or SUV’s now they find themselves re doing the parking lots over and over and over again because they can't seem to get the size of a parking space right.

Once you manage to park your vehicle proceed to the automatic entrance door that of course never works because although it contains the ultimate technology it was never properly tested for operations, so you end up having to open the automatic entrance door manually.

Once you are inside you see the aisles full of products, products that are really quite expensive, but once you take them home the will never live up to the price tag you paid for them. The high priced butter will give you diarrhea, they high priced stake will be worst than rubber…all the typical contractors traits IYKWIM.

But then all the sudden when you are about to finish your grocery shopping experience you will start feeling a bit fatigue, with some shortness of breath mixed with a feeling of euphoria and nausea, and you end up dying of Hypoxia.

That’s how I imagine a commissary ran by Northrop or Lockheed to be like.

SomeRandomGuy
11-22-2013, 04:52 PM
I can just imagine the wonderful experience that it will be if our most capable contractors ran the commissary.

First, they will take the gig estimating it at 2.3 billion dollars but after the usual cost overruns they will end up bilking the government for an additional 10.7 billion dollars for a total net savings of -8.4 billion dollars.

Now let’s talk about the outstanding customer experience we will get. Strolling by the parking lot you will have a hard time finding a spot that will fit your vehicle since they made the parking spots without taking into consideration large cars, large RV’s or SUV’s now they find themselves re doing the parking lots over and over and over again because they can seem to get the size of a parking space right.

Once you manage to park your vehicle proceed to the automatic entrance door that of course never works because although it contains the ultimate technology it was never properly tested for operations, so you end up having to open the automatic entrance door manually.

Once you are inside you see the aisles full of products, products that are really quite expensive, but once you take them home the will never live up to the price tag you paid for them. The high priced butter will give you diarrhea, they high priced stakes will be worst than rubber…all the typical contractors traits IYKWIM.

But then all the sudden when you are about to finish your grocery shopping experience you will start feeling a bit fatigue, with some shortness of breath mixed with a feeling of euphoria and nausea, apparently and you end up dying of Hypoxia.

That’s how I imagine commissary ran by Northrop or Lockheed to be like.

You fogot the best part about DECA being run by contractors. Instead of hiring spouses or people of the street they will line up jobs for people who steered the contract to their company. From now on the day after your Cheif or Lt. Col retires he will take a job the very next day as head cashier at the commisary. While of course they could have found someone for $10 an hour to do this job they are going to pay him $35 an hour because he has so much experience leading people and would be the ideal head cashier.

Rusty Jones
11-22-2013, 04:53 PM
The whole point of the commissary being government-owned is that it's not-for-profit. The commissary operates at a loss, as it's a benefit provided to military members and retirees. If you contract it out, you defeat the purpose of its very existence.

Rainmaker
11-22-2013, 07:20 PM
The whole point of the commissary being government-owned is that it's not-for-profit. The commissary operates at a loss, as it's a benefit provided to military members and retirees. If you contract it out, you defeat the purpose of its very existence.

They should hire the baggers from blackwater. Rather than having your groceries carried out by a little old korean lady or some mouthy high school dependent, you'd get them carried out by 230lb roided up goon. It'd be much more efficient because you wouldn't even need carts and they could collect intel on the potential terrists ( retired veterans) shopping there.

USN - Retired
11-22-2013, 07:29 PM
I can just imagine the wonderful experience that it will be if our most capable contractors ran the commissary.

First, they will take the gig estimating it at 2.3 billion dollars but after the usual cost overruns they will end up bilking the government for an additional 10.7 billion dollars for a total net savings of -8.4 billion dollars.

Now let’s talk about the outstanding customer experience we will get. Strolling by the parking lot you will have a hard time finding a spot that will fit your vehicle since they made the parking spots without taking into consideration large cars, large RV’s or SUV’s now they find themselves re doing the parking lots over and over and over again because they can't seem to get the size of a parking space right.

Once you manage to park your vehicle proceed to the automatic entrance door that of course never works because although it contains the ultimate technology it was never properly tested for operations, so you end up having to open the automatic entrance door manually.

Once you are inside you see the aisles full of products, products that are really quite expensive, but once you take them home the will never live up to the price tag you paid for them. The high priced butter will give you diarrhea, they high priced stake will be worst than rubber…all the typical contractors traits IYKWIM.

But then all the sudden when you are about to finish your grocery shopping experience you will start feeling a bit fatigue, with some shortness of breath mixed with a feeling of euphoria and nausea, and you end up dying of Hypoxia.

That’s how I imagine a commissary ran by Northrop or Lockheed to be like.

If that is the case, then I would buy my groceries at costco.

Greg
11-22-2013, 07:37 PM
They should hire the baggers from blackwater. Rather than having your groceries carried out by a little old korean lady or some mouthy high school dependent, you'd get them carried out by 230lb roided up goon. It'd be much more efficient because you wouldn't even need carts and they could collect intel on the potential terrists ( retired veterans) shopping there.

Yep, and those Blackwater (Xe) baggers will check your groceries to ensure plenty of Monsanto, GMO engineered goods are in your bags.

http://english.pravda.ru/business/companies/14-10-2010/115363-machines_of_war_blackwater_monsanto_billgates-0/

TJMAC77SP
11-22-2013, 07:44 PM
The whole point of the commissary being government-owned is that it's not-for-profit. The commissary operates at a loss, as it's a benefit provided to military members and retirees. If you contract it out, you defeat the purpose of its very existence.

Not so much.

2012 sales = $6.1B
2012 Operating Cost = $1.4B

"Commissary Operations finances the operating costs of commissaries, areas, and headquarters activities. The primary revenue source for this activity group is a direct appropriation to the Defense WCF, which in turn, is apportioned to the DeCA WCF. Specific costs include civilian and military labor, service contracts, travel, transportation of commissary goods overseas, and other indirect support. DeCA received approximately $1.4 billion in appropriation transfers during FY 2012."

Employee salaries are paid via tax funds but it doesn't operate at a loss.

Rainmaker
11-22-2013, 08:01 PM
Yep, and those Blackwater (Xe) baggers will check your groceries to ensure plenty of Monsanto, GMO engineered goods are in your bags.

http://english.pravda.ru/business/companies/14-10-2010/115363-machines_of_war_blackwater_monsanto_billgates-0/

The benefits of outsourcing are endless! We could Leverage our industry partners to develop stealthy reusable bags made out of space aged materials on a Cost Plus Fixed Fee basis. No more flimsy plastic going into the landfills or murdering trees to make those old school paper bags.

Absinthe Anecdote
11-22-2013, 09:01 PM
They should hire the baggers from blackwater. Rather than having your groceries carried out by a little old korean lady or some mouthy high school dependent, you'd get them carried out by 230lb roided up goon. It'd be much more efficient because you wouldn't even need carts and they could collect intel on the potential terrists ( retired veterans) shopping there.

That sounds like a great idea.

3632

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
11-23-2013, 01:01 PM
Not so much.

2012 sales = $6.1B
2012 Operating Cost = $1.4B

"Commissary Operations finances the operating costs of commissaries, areas, and headquarters activities. The primary revenue source for this activity group is a direct appropriation to the Defense WCF, which in turn, is apportioned to the DeCA WCF. Specific costs include civilian and military labor, service contracts, travel, transportation of commissary goods overseas, and other indirect support. DeCA received approximately $1.4 billion in appropriation transfers during FY 2012."

Employee salaries are paid via tax funds but it doesn't operate at a loss.

Pg 35 of their 2012 financials. Revenue was $6.4 billion. Gross costs were $7.8 billion. Cost to taxpayers (appropriations) was $1.4 billion. Cut the tax $$$ and they will indeed be at a big loss.

TJMAC77SP
11-23-2013, 03:08 PM
Pg 35 of their 2012 financials. Revenue was $6.4 billion. Gross costs were $7.8 billion. Cost to taxpayers (appropriations) was $1.4 billion. Cut the tax $$$ and they will indeed be at a big loss.

Looks like I should have read the whole document.

Stalwart
11-23-2013, 03:16 PM
If the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) were a corporation, it would easily be one of the largest grocery store chains in the United States. However, unlike private sector grocery stores, the Defense Commissary Agency is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. A Congressional Budget Office report from 2009 found that DoD spent about 3.1 billion dollars in funding the facilities, salaries, and subsidies that keep the prices below the market. In total about $9.1 billion was spent on DeCA, with $6.0 billion in sales. I am not sure why the numbers differ from what FLAPS, USAF (ret) or TJMAC77SP is looking at.

CBO further recommended in 2012 to eliminate commissary subsidies and increase BAS -- which in the long run was still less expensive than leaving CONUS commissaries open:

"The Congressional Budget Office has suggested eliminating the subsidy for the commissary over a five-year period, and requiring it to self-fund more like the military‘s retail stores. CBO estimated prices would be about seven percent higher, or about $400 per year for the average military family. DoD could supplement the existing military pay benefit of Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) by this amount and still save billions of dollars for deficit reduction. The CBO also estimated consolidation of the post exchanges would provide organizational and administrative benefits."

"Increasing military pay across the board and allowing military members to shop at the stores of their choice (or choose to save the money) would increase their quality of life. It would also certainly help achieve some purposes of the commissary benefit: recruitment and retention through higher pay and benefits."

I favor the idea of raising the flat rate of BAS/COMRATS and letting people shop in town since I feel:

1. Save the money currently lost by DeCA.
2. Put a bit more money into local economies vice into DeCA (or ultimately MWR).
3. Improve choice.

I would be curious if it would be profitable to run a completely self-sufficient (economically) grocery on base. Sales would have to cover the building (rent, maintenance etc.), the utilities, the miscellaneous supplies, expenses etc., employee salaries … everything. There would still be the convenience of location/proximity to the base population but absent of the government subsidy.

TJMAC77SP
11-23-2013, 03:34 PM
If the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) were a corporation, it would easily be one of the largest grocery store chains in the United States. However, unlike private sector grocery stores, the Defense Commissary Agency is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. A Congressional Budget Office report from 2009 found that DoD spent about 3.1 billion dollars in funding the facilities, salaries, and subsidies that keep the prices below the market. In total about $9.1 billion was spent on DeCA, with $6.0 billion in sales. I am not sure why the numbers differ from what FLAPS, USAF (ret) or TJMAC77SP is looking at.

CBO further recommended in 2012 to eliminate commissary subsidies and increase BAS -- which in the long run was still less expensive than leaving CONUS commissaries open:

"The Congressional Budget Office has suggested eliminating the subsidy for the commissary over a five-year period, and requiring it to self-fund more like the military‘s retail stores. CBO estimated prices would be about seven percent higher, or about $400 per year for the average military family. DoD could supplement the existing military pay benefit of Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) by this amount and still save billions of dollars for deficit reduction. The CBO also estimated consolidation of the post exchanges would provide organizational and administrative benefits."

"Increasing military pay across the board and allowing military members to shop at the stores of their choice (or choose to save the money) would increase their quality of life. It would also certainly help achieve some purposes of the commissary benefit: recruitment and retention through higher pay and benefits."

I favor the idea of raising the flat rate of BAS/COMRATS and letting people shop in town since I feel:

1. Save the money currently lost by DeCA.
2. Put a bit more money into local economies vice into DeCA (or ultimately MWR).
3. Improve choice.

I would be curious if it would be profitable to run a completely self-sufficient (economically) grocery on base. Sales would have to cover the building (rent, maintenance etc.), the utilities, the miscellaneous supplies, expenses etc., employee salaries … everything. There would still be the convenience of location/proximity to the base population but absent of the government subsidy.

Does DeCA also buy the food for DFACs?

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
11-23-2013, 03:49 PM
I am not sure why the numbers differ from what FLAPS, USAF (ret) or TJMAC77SP is looking at.


I got my numbers directly from DECA's 2012 financial report on their website. Look on page 35 of the pdf file. I believe your numbers differ because you are using combined 2009 - present figures instead of just 2012.

Stalwart
11-23-2013, 04:36 PM
Does DeCA also buy the food for DFACs?

No, those are separate lines.

TJMAC77SP
11-23-2013, 05:58 PM
No, those are separate lines.

I understand but was curious with regard to doing away or privatizing DeCA. It may be problematic if they indeed buy food for DFACs and if they do wouldn't that figure into the bottom line?

Juggs
11-23-2013, 06:06 PM
Shut down the commissaries and there will be a retiree uprising. Walkers everywhere, oxygen tanks being used as clubs, soiled depends being thrown like grenades


All because they earned the right to shop at the commissary by simly staying in for 20 yrs.

Actually the biggest culprits will be the retires from the last 10-15 yrs.

The WWII and Korea vets tend to be more thankful. The nam vets try to shy away from many things.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
11-23-2013, 06:17 PM
If the Comm closes, then I guess the skilled cashiers and employees will find other jobs. Not sure what kind of work (most) baggers will find. Housekeeping perhaps?

Juggs
11-23-2013, 06:19 PM
If the Comm closes, then I guess the skilled cashiers and employees will find other jobs. Not sure what kind of work (most) baggers will find. Housekeeping perhaps?

AAFES or airforce inns

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
11-23-2013, 06:21 PM
AAFES or airforce inns

True, especially the shoe department. Plus, you don't have to speak English.

CORNELIUSSEON
12-07-2013, 03:28 AM
http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131121/BENEFITS07/311210046/DoD-seeks-plan-shut-all-U-S-commissaries

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think they're bluffing. I think this is more "the sky is falling" crap designed to scare folks into thinking DoD can't stomach the tiniest little cut.

I really won't shed any tears if the commissary goes away, but I'm surprised they're not going after AAFES first. That's an organization that has truly outlived its usefulness.

I made my twice monthly trip to the JB MDL Commissary today, and the commissary was abuzz about the expected closures. The Main Commissary (which is located in the McGuire compound), which is about half-way through a two-year upgrade, is NOT on the list for closure, but the branch Commissary in the Lakehurst compound is on the list. I was also told that all secondary commissaries and multiple commissaries within a certain driving distance from a Joint Base or other major installation will be targeted for the first round.

As of now, the Main Commissary is open seven days a week, while the Lakehurst Commissary is only open Tuesday to Saturday. The only other commissary available within New Jersey is the one at the Picatinny Arsenal in Northern New Jersey. This one is also auxillary to JB MDL, as evidenced by the fact that it - like the Lakehurst Commissary - in open Tuesday through Saturday.

On the otherhand, DeCa is trying out a service called "Click 2 Go" at the Fort Lee, Offutt AFB, and Travis AFB Commissaries where you can place an order on line, let them know what time to expect you to pick up your order, and you can pick up the order curbside at the scheduled time, and head back home. This saves shopping time, and could make the difference in keeping many stores open.

BENDER56
12-07-2013, 11:14 PM
AAFES ...

Asian-American Female Employment Service?

CORNELIUSSEON
12-08-2013, 03:27 AM
If the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) were a corporation, it would easily be one of the largest grocery store chains in the United States. However, unlike private sector grocery stores, the Defense Commissary Agency is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. A Congressional Budget Office report from 2009 found that DoD spent about 3.1 billion dollars in funding the facilities, salaries, and subsidies that keep the prices below the market. In total about $9.1 billion was spent on DeCA, with $6.0 billion in sales. I am not sure why the numbers differ from what @FLAPS, USAF (ret) (http://forums.militarytimes.com/member.php?u=329813) or @TJMAC77SP (http://forums.militarytimes.com/member.php?u=6803) is looking at.

CBO further recommended in 2012 to eliminate commissary subsidies and increase BAS -- which in the long run was still less expensive than leaving CONUS commissaries open:

"The Congressional Budget Office has suggested eliminating the subsidy for the commissary over a five-year period, and requiring it to self-fund more like the military‘s retail stores. CBO estimated prices would be about seven percent higher, or about $400 per year for the average military family. DoD could supplement the existing military pay benefit of Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) by this amount and still save billions of dollars for deficit reduction. The CBO also estimated consolidation of the post exchanges would provide organizational and administrative benefits."

"Increasing military pay across the board and allowing military members to shop at the stores of their choice (or choose to save the money) would increase their quality of life. It would also certainly help achieve some purposes of the commissary benefit: recruitment and retention through higher pay and benefits."

I favor the idea of raising the flat rate of BAS/COMRATS and letting people shop in town since I feel:

1. Save the money currently lost by DeCA.
2. Put a bit more money into local economies vice into DeCA (or ultimately MWR).
3. Improve choice.

I would be curious if it would be profitable to run a completely self-sufficient (economically) grocery on base. Sales would have to cover the building (rent, maintenance etc.), the utilities, the miscellaneous supplies, expenses etc., employee salaries … everything. There would still be the convenience of location/proximity to the base population but absent of the government subsidy.

As for choice, DeCa already offers brands not found elsewhere, and in sizes not found in most groceries and super markets.

As for cost, Don't forget the amount we shoppers kick in everytime we shop there. Since we are taxpayers as well, that means that we kick in the largest amount overall because of tax-based subsidy, Congress-imposed Shopper Fee, and the actual prices of the things we buy.

Juggs
12-08-2013, 04:46 PM
As for choice, DeCa already offers brands not found elsewhere, and in sizes not found in most groceries and super markets.

As for cost, Don't forget the amount we shoppers kick in everytime we shop there. Since we are taxpayers as well, that means that we kick in the largest amount overall because of tax-based subsidy, Congress-imposed Shopper Fee, and the actual prices of the things we buy.

I knew a retiree would be ranting about it.

socal1200r
12-10-2013, 06:08 PM
I attended a recent Town Hall Meeting of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Committee, and this was one of the hot topics. In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, there are commissaries at Oceana Naval Air Station, Joint Base Little Creek, Norfolk Naval Base, Langley Air Force Base, and Fort Eustis, which are all within about 35 miles of each other. There is absolutely NO need for this many commissaries in such a small area. And it's not like the Hampton Roads area of Virginia is a remote location. One of the committee members floated the idea of issuing some kind of discount card to military members and retirees, which would be honored at some local supermarket chains (Farm Fresh, Costco, Kroger's, etc), to help offset the closures of commissaries. That didn't go over well, and I remember this one Navy petty officer in particular, who went on and on about her being able to buy soy milk on base for $1.99 a gallon, while out in town it would cost $3.99 a gallon. Well by all means, let's keep ships in port, aircraft grounded, more use of inert and blank ammunition, etc., all so you can still buy your damn soy milk for $1.99! I said tough choices are going to have to be made, and they're going to have to be put into place. I support the continued presence of commissaries in remote locations, but if there are established supermarkets in the local area, there really isn't a "need" for commissaries. It's a "nice to have", not a "must have".