ALA Executive Brief January 14, 2022

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January 14, 2022
 

.PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / WASHINGTON UPDATE

 

From the desk of the ALA President

2022 resale headwinds and tailwinds There’s no shortage of challenges faced by military resale managers and their industry partners. But these challenges need to be balance with the inherent strengths of the military resale system that have and will sustain these programs going forward. On balance, the system is on a firm foundation and its tailwinds are more than adequate to overcome any headwinds. On balance, if resale programs were publicly traded, it would be a “buy” scenario. Here’s a rundown of the system assets and challenges.

ALA food service conference and expo March 17…companion commissary workshop being discussed for March 18. Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va. ALA is hosting a conference and expo for the military foodservice industry on March 17. We have engaged with DeCA officials to explore the possibility for a companion sales and marketing workshop March 18 to focus on driving customer patronage. Details forthcoming on the ALA site.

DeCA sales directory updated. Attached to this email is the latest DeCA sales team directory …

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.PENTAGON AND MILITARY NEWS

 

This week in Congress: 2022 starts with leftover work from 2021
Military Times
Both chambers of Congress return to Capitol Hill for the official start of 2022 legislative work, including a host of unresolved budget issues from last year. Lawmakers have until mid-February to agree on a final budget for federal operations in fiscal 2022 (which began last October) or risk triggering a partial government shutdown. Negotiations on that work are expected to resume immediately.

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New in 2022: Unfinished budget work will drag into February
Military Times
February will be a critical month not only for next year’s defense spending plans, but also for the current fiscal year budget as well. Typically, White House officials roll out their budget plans for the next fiscal year in mid-February, giving Congress the bulk of the year to debate funding levels and policy priorities.

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 PRODUCT SHOWCASE
Bisek & Company, Inc. Military Resale Distributing Agent and Broker
Understands how important the benefit of the Commissary and Exchange is to the active duty and retired military service personnel. We will work with a manufacturer to bring their variety of products to this unique market. Bisek & Company’s sales team is dedicated to doing what it takes to keep those special shoppers coming back to the Commissaries and Exchanges. Contact Bisek & Company so we may help you better understand what it takes to succeed in expanding your role in this very special benefit. Contact Jennifer Harrell (jennifer@bisek.com) or Laurie Cust (laurie@bisek.com)

LEARN MORE

 

US military elevates coronavirus restrictions in South Korea in wake of latest surge
Stars & Stripes
The latest surge of COVID-19 cases in South Korea has prompted the U.S. military to elevate its health-risk level and enact additional restrictions, including a ban on nonessential travel to Seoul.

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Japan-based troops start two weeks of travel restrictions to curb explosive coronavirus spread
Stars & Stripes
The U.S. military population in Japan is getting re-acquainted with Netflix queues and phrases like “essential services” again after a pandemic stay-at-home order took effect at bases across the country. U.S. Forces Japan and the Japanese government agreed over the weekend to reduce nonessential, off-installation travel by American service members, Defense Department employees and their families for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Service chiefs warn Congress: Full-year stopgap spending will disrupt PCSs, bonuses, training
Military.com
Reenlistment bonuses, permanent change of station moves, training exercises, sexual assault prevention funding and more could all be at risk if Congress doesn’t pass a regular Pentagon spending bill this year, top military officers.

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Biden budget release likely delayed until March: Sources
Roll Call
The White House appears to be aiming for release of President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget in March, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter, a month after the statutory deadline, which is the first Monday in February.

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WPAFB moves to HPCON Delta
Wright-Patterson AFB
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base transitioned to Health Protection Condition Delta on Friday, with a public health emergency in effect as of noon, due to rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 “omicron” cases. “The Airmen at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are our No. 1 priority, and we take every precaution necessary to protect their health and safety,” said Col. Patrick Miller, the 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander. According to Miller, the transition is done in accordance with the secretary of defense’s April 21 memo titled “Guidance for Commanders’ Risk-Based Responses and Implementation of the Health Protection Condition Framework during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.”

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.MILITARY AND RESALE NEWS

 

Global supply chain slowdown means empty shelves at US military commissaries
Stars & Stripes
Air Force spouse Valerie Jackson shopped the commissary on Wednesday at this Marine Corps installation because the shelves are much emptier at nearby Kadena Air Base. “The Kadena commissary is kind of lacking in supplies and we’re wanting tacos tonight,” Jackson, 31, told Stars and Stripes. “My husband went the other day and said that there was hardly anything left, like milk, sour cream, cheese.”

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Fort Hood celebrates opening of first active-duty on installation VFW post
Killeen Daily Herald
The Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted an installation ceremony for VFW Post 12209 at Fort Hood’s Phantom Warrior Center. The post, officially named CSM A.C. Cotton VFW Post 12209 after the first African-American command sergeant major of the 1st Cavalry Division, is the first VFW on an active-duty installation in the United States. Cotton passed away Sept. 7, 2021 in Killeen.

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Logistics: Are we headed for severe food shortages?
Cape Charles Mirror
Sysco Corp. is among the largest, if not the largest, distributor in the country for the food service industry. The wholesale company distributes food products, kitchen equipment and supplies, such as napkins and cleaning detergents. They are the wholesale food supply chain.

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A look back at 2021 on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Yahoo News
Throughout 2021, there were many significant milestones, events, awards and other actions that contributed to overall mission success as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leaders, Airmen and civilian personnel continued rising above challenges from ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

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.INDUSTRY NEWS

 

SpartanNash names Amy McClellan as chief marketing officer
Supermarket News
Amy McClellan, vice president of fresh merchandising for retail at SpartanNash, has been promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer. SpartanNash said that McClellan takes over the post effective immediately. In her new role, she will lead the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery distributor and retailer’s marketing function and report to President and CEO Tony Sarsam.

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Retail predictions from 5 years ago: What did we get right?
NRF
A jumble of predictions for the coming year is already beginning to circulate. Prognosticators are weighing in on whether meta will be mega, if 2022 will be a breakout year for NFTs or if this will be the year shopping malls make a comeback. NRF has been publishing predictions annually for nearly two decades. With a practical view steeped in collective knowledge, some might say we have an edge. Still, there will almost always be trends that defy long-range forecasting: Hello, COVID-19.

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Walmart doubles down on delivering groceries straight into your fridge
CNN
Walmart is expanding its push to deliver groceries straight into customers’ kitchen fridges, even when they aren’t home. Walmart said that it plans to make InHome, its $148 annual delivery option, available to 30 million U.S. households by the end of the new year, up from six million today. Walmart will also hire around 3,000 workers to deliver orders for InHome, offering them an extra $1.50 an hour from most store jobs, which begin at $12 an hour.

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.FOOD SERVICE NEWS

 

New challenges for school nutrition programs
Foodservice News
Planning for the 2021-2022 school year includes preparation for breakfasts and lunches for the state’s pre-K through 12th grade students. After more than a year of working under COVID-19 pandemic constraints, school districts are operating typical summer meal programs and preparing for in-person food service in September. But they do so with growing concern about decreased participation, lower revenues and rising costs.

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From the publisher: ‘The new normal’
Foodservice News
Jared Pfeifer writes: “That’s a cliché I’ve heard many times over the last year. Heck, I’ve used it myself several times. But what is the new normal? Are things really that different now than they were at the start of 2020, or has it just been so long that we don’t know how to feel? I recently attended a conference in Dallas and it was the first business trip — and the first large event — for me since November 2019. While the Delta flight and Uber rides still required face masks and caution was still noticeable, the minute I stepped onto the conference floor that all went away. Hundreds of people filled the room with no masks to be seen and seemingly very little concern for distancing. People were shaking hands, visiting booths and packed together listening to presentations in a large ballroom. Nothing seemed different from how a conference looked back in November 2019. It felt strange. But, it also felt normal.”

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.MARK YOUR CALENDAR

 

Date Event More Information
March 17 Food Service Expo & Conference — Spring 2002 Virginia State University
Petersburg, Virginia
June 8 Congressional Caucus and Public Advocacy Conference Rayburn Bldg.
Capitol Hill
May 2 – 6 Exchange Express Conference & Expo 2022 The Rosen Centre Hotel
Orlando, FL
Aug. 15-17 25th Anniversary Daniel Akaka Hawaii Conference Prince Waikiki Hotel
Capitol Hill
Oct. 10-13 Annual Meeting Norfolk Waterside Marriott
Orlando, FL

Specific information on upcoming ALA events is posted regularly on the ALA website.

 

SAVE THE DATE!

 

EXCHANGE EXPRESS CONFERENCE & EXPO 2022
May 2-6, 2022
The Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL

ALA Meetings:

  • Exchange roundtable – Spring 2022 (location TBD—Tidewater area)
  • Commissary roundtable – Spring 2022 (location TBD—Richmond area)
 

 
ALA Executive BriefingConnect with ALAHailey Golden, Director of Publishing, Multiview, 469-420-2630 | Download media kit
Rebecca Eberhardt, Sr. Content Editor, Multiview, 469-420-2608 | Contribute News

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Base access, store restrictions continue to plague commissaries, exchanges

Base access has been a nagging problem for both commissaries and exchanges for years, and when the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, it made things that much worse for these military stores and shoppers wanting to use them.

The emergence of the pandemic was particularly difficult for retirees and veterans — perhaps among the most at-risk groups related to the pandemic — and their ability to get on base to do their shopping in their local military stores.

Numerous rules and restrictions were put in place by base commanders to limit access to their respective bases, and when these were lessened or relaxed, retirees and veterans were often the groups that were thought to need the most protection, and thus, had their base access more limited than other groups.

And this stance was eerily ironic, as the pandemic hit when the American Logistics Association (ALA) was working with the resale agencies to boost access to military stores, including the launch of expanded privileges for disabled veterans and its work to allow the Defense Department’s civilian workers to have shopping privileges.

Although through the end of August many sites had loosened the tight restrictions they had implemented when the pandemic struck, other bases were more cautionary, and this had a major impact on store sales during this period.

The Department of Defense announced this week that they will be issuing new ID cards to some five million retirees and family members in the coming years with enhanced capability to speed base access.  Also, ALA is working with the Federation for Identity and Cross Credentialing that is examining alternative and innovate practices and technology to speed base access and patron identification.  ALA is also examining ways to speed communication of changes to base access and store restrictions to exchange and commissary patrons.  

EXCHANGE, COMMISSARY SALES

The exchange services are generally reflecting sales downturns, and although at least some of this can be attributed to lessened gas sales, the fluctuations of access during the pandemic must also be taken into account.

Through July 2020, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s (AAFES) fiscal 2020 sales were $2.91 billion, a 10.1-percent decrease from the $3.23 billion it accrued a year earlier.

The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) and Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) followed suit. NEXCOM’s fiscal 2020 sales through July were $1.03 billion, an 8.7-percent dip from the $1.13 billion it posted through July 2019. The MCX reported $381.09 million in sales through July 2020, a more than 9-percent drop-off from year-to-date fiscal 2019 sales of $410.67 million.

Only the Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) posted heightened sales, with its activity through July at $81.49 million, a 16.3-percent increase from the $76.65 million it posted a year earlier. This might be attributed to some of the larger CGX facilities operating in off-base sites in civilian areas, making patron access easier.

Through July the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) reported that stores had posted a 2.0-percent uptick in fiscal 2020 sales, based on year-to-date sales of $3.77 million versus $3.69 million in sales from a year ago. However, there were numerous commissaries that continued to face hurdles in getting shoppers, and particularly retirees and veterans, into their stores, and this was, at least in part, greatly impacting sales at these bases.

BASE ACCESS PRECAUTIONS

ALA publishes an inventory of base restrictions that is assembled by DeCA. On Aug. 25, the agency released its latest update related to base and store access during the pandemic, and it painted a grim reminder that with the coronavirus far from being eradicated, shoppers — and particularly retirees and veterans and those classified as “elderly” and “high-risk” — continued to face hurdles related to getting on base to shop in their local military stores.

According to the update, the following installations were among the many that continued to have shopping restrictions placed on shoppers, and in particular, retirees and veterans:

  • Fort Buchanan, P.R.: Beginning on April 14, retirees could only shop on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and beginning on June 16, disabled veterans could shop Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • NAES Lakehurst, N.J.: After several months of retirees and disabled veterans having extremely limited or no shopping privileges, on June 23, disabled veterans could only shop on Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Fort Eustis, JB Langley-Fort Eustis, Va.: Retiree access to the base had been limited to Monday and Tuesday, but as of May 18, retirees were able to access the base on Friday.
  • Redstone Arsenal, Ala.: Retirees only have access on Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. On April 9, the deputy installation commander devised a 9 a.m. to 12 moon target window for elderly shoppers. 
  • Nellis AFB, Nev.: Retirees can access the main base on the weekends — Saturday and Sunday — only.
  • Camp Pendleton, Calif.: Retirees can do their shopping only on Wednesday, and seniors age 60 and above can only do their shopping on Thursday.
  • Whidbey Island, Wash.: As of March 26, the store was open for the elderly “and any others who were at high risk” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

In overseas stores, and particularly on European installations, the general rule has been “designate shopping times for only retirees and elderly to shop that have increased ramifications if they were to contract the virus.”

 

Nagle to take over as West and Pacific Deputy Area Director

FORT LEE, Va. – Robert Nagle, former Defense Commissary Agency Zone 16 manager, will assume duties Oct. 11 as deputy director of DeCA’s West and Pacific Areas.

He will have indirect oversight of 108 commissaries located in 19 states, one territory (Guam), and two countries (Japan and Korea).

He replaces Martin “Marty” Jackson who retired in June, after 24 years with DeCA.

“Bob brings us a wealth of experience, drive and passion for delivering the commissary benefit,” said Matthew S. Whittaker, Pacific Area director. “His in-depth knowledge of operations and ability to communicate will prove to be valuable assets for every zone and every store under the West and Pacific command team.”

Nagle started federal service in 1988 as a store worker at the McClellan Air Force Base commissary in California. He quickly assumed leadership roles starting as the grocery manager of the Naval Station San Diego commissary in California, and then moved on to hold various store director positions in the West Area. He became the Zone 16 manager in 2017.

As the zone manager, he was responsible for 10 commissaries located in Southern California. These locations handled 3.9 million customer transactions resulting in $243 million in sales in fiscal year 2019.

“Bob brings an understanding of the current conditions in the field, which will strengthen us as we press forward into what will be our new normal for the foreseeable future,” Whittaker added.

Bringing his vast commissary and retail grocery experience to the position, Nagle is excited to be going home to where it all started.

“I am honored to have been selected as the deputy area director,” Nagle said. “After all these years, I still have a great passion for the commissary system and what it means to our service members, their families, retirees and disabled veterans. I look forward to going home to McClellan and start supporting the teams of DeCA’s Pacific and West Areas.”

Nagle holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from California State University in Sacramento, California.

-DeCA-

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

 

This press release comes courtesy of DeCA Corporate Communications