Worldwide Chain of Commissaries

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) with headquarters at Fort Lee Virginia operates a worldwide chain of commissaries (grocery stores) with annual sales of nearly $4 Billion. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5–percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices—savings worth about $3,000 annually for a family of four. These savings are an important non-pay element of military compensation. The savings are possible in part because the major operating expenses of the agency are born by the taxpayer. Thus, DeCA is referred to as an appropriated fund activity and its operations are governed for the most part by Title X of the United States Code.

As an appropriated fund activity, DeCA has limitations on the types of products they can purchase and merchandise. The majority of items are brand name products with non-branded categories such as beef, pork, chicken, dairy products, produce, deli-bakery services, fish markets and plants usually determined by vendors submitting bids for specific time periods.

Helping Companies Sell, Promote, and Distribute

ALA provides members with a wealth of information directly related to selling, promoting and distributing your products to the commissary. ALA Members receive access to competitive intelligence and market data that includes:

  • The current assortment authorized for each marketing area
  • Oversight of changes to the assortment, each week, down to the store level
  • Viewing items selected for feature promotions
  • Monthly store sales
  • Scheduled store reset dates
  • Category reviews
  • Status on overseas inventory
  • Point of contact information for every store
  • DeCA’s strategic plan
  • Notices to Trade
  • News releases, and
  • Policy or procedure changes.

This information is only available to our members. To help members understand the types of information available, a user guide is available on line in the member’s portal.

Regional Events

Other benefits of membership include topic specific meetings focused on helping you expand your business with the military resale activities. In addition to regional meetings, we have two national meetings each year to update members. One meeting is focused exclusively on the Defense Commissary System and discusses their marketing and promotion strategies, operational plans, and exploring with members industry best business practices. The second meeting is held the beginning of the government’s new fiscal year and provides each of the retail commands (Commissary, Exchange, Veterans Canteen Services and Morale Welfare and Recreation) with an opportunity to connect with ALA Members to discuss their strategic initiatives and marketing plans for the new fiscal year.

These events are in addition to ALA’s Annual Convention, ALA’s Annual Congressional Caucus, as well as government and industry Round Tables to get you up-close and personal with the buyers and decision makers for each of the resale activities.

Are You Ready For Military Resale?

Applying for membership to our Association can be completed by submitting your application using our online form or by contacting our Member Support Team at