From the desk of the ALA President

Quotes of note

We must not accept narrow definitions of readiness that focus on the right equipment and training but fail to acknowledge the importance of strong families to the readiness of the service member. Right now, military families are “in”—leaders are falling over themselves to highlight their support of families and initiatives important to them—child care, spouse employment, support for their kids’ education. But we must hold them accountable over the long term to maintain the viability of all the things that keep military families strong in dangerous and uncertain times. We can do our part by highlighting the importance of the resale system for families to new Members of Congress, political appointees, and military leaders.  Joyce Wessel Raezer, former Executive Director of the National Military Family Association and recipient of the ALA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in her October 22 award acceptance remarks at the ALA Annual Convention. 

“I don’t think that Wal Mart or Kroger would object to the military channel getting sufficient allocations of products if they knew the difficulty that military families face.”  Noted consumer product expert Mark Baum speaking at the ALA Annual Convention on October 22. 

The U.S. needs “a soup-to-nuts look and identification of the very specific supply chains with national security importance.  House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) speaking at a critical supply chain conference.

Military retailers are screaming for CPG manufacturers to up their game on getting products to the distressed military channel.  At the ALA convention, much of the dialogue centered on citing the stresses of military life and the need to U.S. consumer product manufacturers to increase the quantities of scarce products.  Military distribution houses as both organic and commercial are reporting fill rates at 50 percent or lower for critical products and military consumers are suffering because of this.

And, product allocation shortfalls to the military consumers are exacerbated by the unique nature of the military supply chain.  For example, there is an extended lead time for overseas and remote shipments, often as much as 55 days to some locations.  That means that distributors to the military must fill overseas and remote orders first from extremely limited allocations, often leaving little or no product available for mainline U.S. military retail hub outlets.  Put on top of this the fact that military base access restrictions have drastic fluctuations making life difficult for military families who have nowhere else to go.

And, as product shortages empty shelves in the mainline stateside stores, consumers go elsewhere with a cascading effect on sales exacerbating an already difficult situation.  This is because the mainline stateside retail hubs provide the center of gravity to support the far-flung and smaller remote commissary and exchange storefronts.  If persuasion fails, I’m learning that the military retailers and Government leaders are mulling “drastic” measures to force manufacturers to meet the military needs including citing some manufacturers either for good performance or bad performance.  And, several lawmakers and congressional staffers are talking about measures needed to get manufacturers to recognize the unique aspects of military life and up their priority for the military.

Because of the difficulty for military families, the Department of Defense has officially designated commissaries as “mission essential” and military base commanders have requested that military exchanges remain open during the pandemic.  ALA convention speakers said even off-base retailers would understand if manufacturers upped their allocations to the military, if they knew the difficulties attached to military life.

Forced action is not new to the Pentagon.  Since the onset of the pandemic, the Department of Defense has been using the Defense Priority Allocation System to force suppliers in the weapons manufacturing industry to provide scarce material for critical mission needs.

Another grocery sales surge?  57% of shoppers surveyed are now deciding whether to replenish their stock of goods gathered at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Inmar. Meanwhile, another 54% of respondents said they aim to be prepared by always having a stockpile of key items going forward, in case of safety issues and supply outages at stores.

Pandemic stimulus kicked until after the election.  The Senate adjourned almost immediately after confirming the Supreme Court Justice, almost certainly ensuring that any pandemic relief would not occur until after the election.  The House version of the pandemic relief measure included $1.4 billion for distressed non-appropriated fund programs including the Military exchanges.

German COVID lockdown.  Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering a short-term national lockdown as the virus continued to spread across Germany, several news outlets report.  Today, the chancellor will meet the premiers of Germany’s 16 states in a video conference to discuss the situation. On Monday at a meeting of her party, the center-right Christian Democrats, she described the situation as “highly dynamic” and “dramatic.” Germany could soon be in a “difficult position” with regards to the number of intensive care beds, she added.

Cases up in U.S. military.  New Department of Defense (DoD) cases of Covid-19 rose dramatically this week with the 7-day average increasing by 98 percent to 731 over the previous week. This near doubling of new DoD cases is a sharp spike compared to the previous week’s slight decline in cases and shows that DoD is following a third wave of Covid-19 in the national population. Deaths rose by three this week to reach 103 as of this Friday, October 23. On Friday, the Defense Department reported 872 new cases, approaching the highest daily reported increase of 980 cases on July 17. Since March, 104 military-connected personnel have died from the coronavirus, including eight service members.  This according to Mark Cancian with The Center for Strategic and International Studies who has been a speaker at ALA conferences on military matters who has established a weekly COVID update.  Other major COVID developments:

  • October 16: Two sailors tested positive for Covid-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, just six months after the ship experienced a massive outbreak that captured national attention and led to the abrupt firing of its captain.
  • October 20: In accordance with the Defense Department’s new health precautions, a number of personnel deployed in the northern Pacific Ocean with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
  • October 20: To mitigate the inconvenience of pre-deployment quarantines, the Navy is working with lawmakers to change when sailors receive their Family Separation Allowance. Normally, sailors receive up to $250 a month with the FSA after they have deployed for 30 days. But Navy officials are working to change the law so the FSA kicks in once sailors enter the mandatory pre-deployment quarantine period.

Fort Bliss COVID clamp-down.  Restrictions are ramping up at Fort Bliss.  The commander of Fort Bliss has barred off-base dining and all trick-or-treating for Halloween in response to the surge of coronavirus cases at the Army base and in nearby El Paso, which accounted for more than 30% of all new cases reported in Texas on Monday.  Fort Bliss Retail Shopping Guidance. Authorized but… “Maximize use of pick-up and delivery services” … “minimize number of household members entering facilities.”

Vaccine distribution ramping up.  As military resale distributors offer to assist in vaccine distribution, General Gustave Perna, COO of Operation Warp Speed said McKesson Corp., a Texas-based pharmaceutical and medical supplies distribution giant, had been selected to move the vaccines across the nation. The company will be responsible for delivering vaccines to some 70,000 hubs throughout the country in an effort that Perna labeled “Herculean.”  Ultimately, state and territorial governments will be responsible for getting Americans physically vaccinated.  Perna spoke at an event by the Heritage Foundation on October 27.  He said all U.S. states and territories have recently submitted their distribution plans, and Perna said Warp Speed officials were working to finalized them.  Once the vaccine has been proven safe and effective and approved by the FDA, Perna said, the intention is to trigger the distribution processes, so the first groups of recipients can receive them as soon as within one day.  Perna said he was certain the mission of producing a tested, approved vaccine for public distribution by January was on pace to happen.  Commissary distributors and exchanges say they are prepared to assist in the distribution and administration of the vaccine and no decisions yet have been made on resale involvement.

More conversion to contract shelf stocking from vendor shelf stocking in the works.  Reports are that DeCA is moving ahead with its conversion of vendor shelf stocking contracts to direct contract shelf stocking with up to ten more stores going this route on December 1.  The move comes after a Federal judge reportedly lifted the stay on DeCA’s roll-out of the program.  That stay was imposed after a complaint that the roll-out was improper.  DeCA maintains that the roll-out is needed to fix the out-of-stock problems and some industry sources say that the direct contract program is expensive and won’t yield the intended in-stock results.  We expect formal announcements on the conversion sites are imminent.

NY Times cites VCS for work with addiction.  The NY Times is recognizing the Veterans Canteen Service for what we knew all along; They’re not just a retailer and food service operations, they do wonderful work in healing and rehabilitating our military veterans.  In a story that appeared on the front page of the paper on October 27, the Times noted a VCS program that is used to incentivize drug addicts to stay clean.  According to the paper: “For rewards, the department’s treatment programs give vouchers for $1, $20 or $100 donated by the Veterans Canteen Service, which runs cafeterias, coffee shops and retail stores in many of the department’s medical centers. Patients receive an average $200 in coupons over 12 weeks, which they can spend only in those outlets.”

AAFES moves to provide free school lunches.  Speaking of good deeds, AAFES has stepped up with a program to provide free meals to all students at overseas Department of Defense Education Activity schools.

Malls running out of runway.  Lenders are starting to crack down on retailers who owe rent.  They are worried that retail property valuations are falling as much as 75 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.  During the early months of the pandemic, lenders were willing to allow rent deferrals and other concessions to retail property owners.  Retail cash flow would return once the initial lockdown period passed, lenders figured.  But the pandemic persisted and more landlords are losing patience.

 Consumer price sensitivity highlighted.  In its report on military resale, the Boston Consulting Group warned the DoD retailers about price sensitivity.  BCG warned in its July 2015 report that even a 5% increase in price will cause a 25% decrease in Consumer traffic and a corresponding drop in sales.  The report went on to say that “At 35% traffic reduction in Commissary traffic, the Exchanges will experience a 7% traffic loss.”

This price sensitivity is beginning to play out in the commercial sector.  Seven months after shutdowns, we are now seeing a major pivot, with consumer focus turning away from the virus itself to now being more concerned with increasing food prices, while the economy and their personal finances are deteriorating,” explained Jose Gomes, president of a major consumer research agency.

With the end of the coronavirus pandemic beyond the horizon, U.S. consumers remain concerned about rising food prices and are adhering to a value-focused shopping strategy, according to a Consumer Pulse Survey.

Among U.S. findings announced Monday, 45% of American consumers said they feel food prices have increased, compared with an average of 41% for all countries and the same percentage since the third research wave in May.

Forty-four percent of U.S. shoppers reported spending more on food in the September survey, with 24% saying they spend a little more and 20% a lot more. Those figures are down from dunnhumby’s May research wave, when 52% indicated spending more on food, including 30% a little more and 22% a lot more.

Indeed, in the September research, 49% of U.S. consumers rate their personal finances as not good or poor, compared with 36% in April. Sixty-five percent of respondents in September described the national economic outlook as not good or poor, about the same as in April, when the country entered the thick of the pandemic.

For the United States, dunnhumby’s Worry Index — a measure of consumers’ concern about COVID-19 — stood at 24% in September, down from 30% in July and the same as in May. The index was at 34% in March and 33% in April when incidence of the virus skyrocketed in the U.S. Internationally, the Worry Index came in at 22% in September, decreasing steadily since a high of 31% in March.

“Consumers seem to be tiring of the virus-led restrictions, and this is impacting opinion of how well both stores and the government are doing amid the pandemic,” dunnhumby said in its report. “Half of U.S. consumers believe stores are doing a good job (above the global average [48%]), while just 23% believe the national government is doing a good job (well below the global average [33%]).

Such levels of concern have elevated value as a factor in shaping consumer behavior. In looking at their shopping habits during the pandemic, 58% of U.S. consumers said they shop where regular prices are low, and 43% reported buying the lowest-priced products.  Of U.S. respondents, 36% use and 29% search for coupons on products they regularly buy, and 34% look online for the best sales. Twenty-one percent said they buy more store-brand items. Walmart was cited by 34% of U.S. consumers as offering the best value for the money, followed by Aldi (12%) and Kroger (9%).

“Retailers need to take note that most shoppers right now are on the hunt for more value by shopping at stores with regularly low prices, while also seeking discounts and promotions,” Gomes pointed out.

Storm clouds gathering on the defense budget.  A tightening of the defense budget portends more scrutiny of spending for programs such as commissaries and there is a growing clamor by progressive Democrats in the halls of Congress to make steep cuts to the defense budget next year if they sweep the contests for the House, Senate and the White House.

“It’s a real unique opportunity to be able to both support funding for things that we think more directly support people in the country,” said Mark Pocan an outgoing co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “And at the same time, we can have a critical look at defense spending, which rarely gets any kind of critical look whatsoever.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Pocan, who both sit on the House Appropriations Committee, are spearheading a new Defense Spending Reduction Caucus to build “critical mass” among lawmakers to cut defense spending and redirect the money toward domestic priorities, a trade-off that has been amplified by the health and economic crises wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said: “I see a big fight coming,” Smith reiterated to reporters last week. “I’m unconvinced that our national security would be what it needs to be if we cut the defense budget by 10 or 20 percent.”

Acceptance remarks include tribute to military resale programs.  Joyce Wessel Raezer received the ALA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the ALA annual convention last week.  I thought the remarks were so touching and poignant that I would except them here.

“I’m glad several of my NMFA team is attending your conference and able to hear how your Association and its members continue your work to ensure the military families we all serve have access to a quality military resale system and MWR programs. The military family advocates at NMFA and its partner organizations can be your connection to military families. Thank you for working with them, and for allowing me to share a few words about why that work is so important.

In times of stress, as we’ve experienced this year, the military community and its bed rock institutions become even more important to families. Certainly, our commissaries are among the centerpieces of the military community, mission-essential with the goal of providing high quality goods at the best prices for families struggling on the financial edge and with fears for their safety. Sales figures, especially in those early months of lockdowns and shortages, show that military families looked to their commissaries as beacons of safety and community as the pandemic spread. Thank you and your employees for all your work in these difficult times to keep shelves stocked, offer goods at the best price, and continue your advocacy on behalf of your military family customers. Thank you for hiring military spouses and enabling them to maintain their employment with you even as they move.

All of us share a passion for our service members, veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. That’s what our work is all about—the people who volunteer to put their lives on the line for this country and their families. Our service members join because they want to be a part of the work for peace and security and because they believe their service will create a better life for themselves and their families. And that’s why we must be here for them—to help them tell their stories, to connect them with the people who can ease their challenges, to shine a light on their service for the rest of America to see.

Service members get the training and equipment they need to fight for their country, but they are often woefully unequipped to fight for themselves and their families at home. They move frequently, which prevents them from building community connections. They rarely vote in the location where they reside. They are deferential to their chain of command, conditioned to accept the first no from someone in authority rather than to ask questions. Military spouses struggle to further their careers, often forced to accept positions below their skill and experience levels with few leadership opportunities. Too many families, especially now, are just trying to get by. And when that happens, too many of the people in their communities who should be looking out for them just wait them out. Often, when military families have finally had enough, they don’t know how to turn their anger into action for change.

 But. we can speak up for them and provide ways to channel their concerns to people who can fix them. We can do our part to make their communities more welcoming and supportive. And you do that—directly through your work as vendors to commissaries and exchanges —but also to the influencers who control the fate and future of the resale system. There will always be people who don’t understand the “why” of the commissaries and exchanges; there are probably lots of Members of Congress who don’t even know what a commissary is. We know there will always be someone in the Pentagon who asks why DoD is running grocery stores. We know there will also be uniformed leaders who see the commissary subsidy as a prime pot of money to fund other needs. There will always be people who claim military families will accept higher grocery prices in return for improved readiness of their service members—even though they should not be asked to make that tradeoff. We know all these things because defense leaders have made these statements often enough for us to believe they will do so again. We cannot allow the resale benefit to become a hollow benefit. We cannot raise prices to the point more families decide going to the commissary is not worth the trip. You can bet if that happens, someone will be waiting to say, “See, they don’t really need the commissary. We can use that money elsewhere.” And then what happens to our families overseas or in remote locations? What does that do to the families on SNAP or WIC who depend on the commissary to stretch those benefits farther? What happens to the retirees on fixed incomes who come to the commissary to shop but also to remain part of their military community? What happens to the exchanges when the commissary shoppers don’t come?   

We must not accept narrow definitions of readiness that focus on the right equipment and training but fail to acknowledge the importance of strong families to the readiness of the service member. Right now, military families are “in”—leaders are falling over themselves to highlight their support of families and initiatives important to them—child care, spouse employment, support for their kids’ education. But we must hold them accountable over the long term to maintain the viability of all the things that keep military families strong in dangerous and uncertain times. We can do our part by highlighting the importance of the resale system for families to new Members of Congress, political appointees, and military leaders. We can demand action in addition to words of support. We must not let our leaders and our nation abandon the people they’re supposed to protect.

 DeCA Names Danet Executive Director of IT Group.  DeCA named Dr. Theon Danet as the executive director of its Information Technology Group, effective on Oct. 25.  Danet fills a Senior Executive Service position created when DeCA reorganized IT on Oct. 1, 2019. Prior to that action, Chief Information Officer Jeffrey C. Perry led the agency’s IT operations before he retired from government service in 2018. Since then, IT executives Robert “Bob” Comer, Neville Gallimore and Mildred “Millie” Ives took turns as acting CIO.

We are awaiting definitive guidance on the September 22 Trump “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping”.  As I mentioned at the ALA Annual Convention, the order was aimed at establishing requirements and “promoting unity in the federal workforce,” by prohibiting workplace training on “divisive concepts,” including “race or sex stereotyping” and “race or sex scapegoating” as newly defined in the order. The directive is broadly applicable to federal contractors and federal grant recipients, as well as executive departments and agencies and the uniformed services.  The order expands on a letter issued in early September by the director of the Office of Management and Budget that tasks all agencies to begin to identify contracts or other agency spending on trainings that include “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” or “un-American propaganda,” in an effort to ensure “fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States.”  Although the executive order is likely to be subject to legal challenge, federal contractors, including subcontractors and vendors, could soon be subject to the compliance requirements.  If the directive is implemented on schedule, all government contracts entered into by Nov. 21 must contain a prescribed clause that the contractor will not use any workplace training that includes divisive concepts.  Potential penalties for noncompliance include that the contract may be canceled, terminated, or suspended, in whole or in part. The contractor may be subject to agency conciliation negotiations or administrative enforcement proceedings, or to suspension or debarment proceedings subject to agency discretion.

AAFES’ Waco distribution facility gets a neighbor.  Amazon will invest $200 million in Waco, Texas and build a 700,000-square-foot fulfillment center across the street from the AAFES distribution center that will employ at least 1,000 full-time employees and up to 30% more seasonal staffers during peak seasons, officials said during an announcement Friday at the Waco Convention Center.  Amazon has a $20 billion presence in Texas, employing 43,000 in that state alone.

Left digit and just below bias.  When an item is priced at $2.99, the idea is that consumers will think of it as $2.00. That’s because the mind compares the left-most digits before it can round up the numbers. People look left first, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Also “just below” pricing is more powerful when consumers evaluate multiple prices side by side, and less powerful when consumers compare the price in their heads with what they think the product should cost based on their own experience.

A survey found that when consumers see a jar of peanut butter by itself for $2.99, in their minds they round the price up to $3.00. But not so when two jars of peanut butter are displayed side by side. When study participants were shown a premium brand priced at $4.00 alongside the store brand priced at $2.99, the mind compared the left-most digits first, before rounding any numbers.

“When we see $4.00 versus $2.99 presented side by side, our brains are actually comparing $4 to $2,” the study found. Thus, we instinctively think that a drop from $4.01 to $3.00 is less than a drop from $4.00 to $2.99, even though the difference is identical.

Recovery audits a barometer of CPG trends.  There was some interesting insight into the world of CPG during an October 27 Earnings call by the Profit Recovery Group, a recovery audit firm that deals with retailers and CPG companies.  It provides insight into promotional spend, supply chain disruption, and trends in on-line versus brick and mortar operations.

Here’s some of the highlights: “Looking ahead, we continue to work through the global pandemic. We have a high degree of confidence in both the continued financial health of our client base and ongoing demand for our services. Number two is the shift in consumer behavior to more online shopping. Of the many social and lifestyle changes associated with the global pandemic, consumer buying behavior has been one of the major areas of change in most countries.”

“Rather than shopping in traditional bricks-and-mortar establishments, consumers have rapidly shifted more of their shopping to online channels. We’ve served many of the world’s largest and most successful traditionally store-based retailers, and the large majority of these companies have benefited from expanding their online presence. Two of our large U.S.-based store-based retail clients recently reported double-digit same-store sales growth and triple-digit increase in their year-to-date online sales.”

“We also served the largest pure e-retailing companies in the world. And so, as it relates to the impact of the shift to more online shopping on our business, we audit all sales and merchandise transactions for our retail clients, including e-commerce. And many of these e-commerce transactions utilize the same supplier funding mechanisms as in-store deals. However, we are seeing a growing number of e-commerce specific promotional funding mechanisms emerge, which opens up new claim types and new sources of recovery.”

“And I think the earlier part of the pandemic that we did see some reduction in the promotional investment coming from CPG companies and other types of promotional mechanisms.”

“And — but that’s settled down. So that — we had increased volume, but we had some decrease in promotion. So those kind of balanced out. And what we’re seeing now is that most of the promotional activity has gotten back to normal, and we’re not seeing the extreme run on certain types of commodities like paper products that we saw before. And so, we’re hanging in there. We’re not seeing it go through the roof, but we’re also not seeing a decline either. It’s trending in a positive direction.”

“With regards to commercial where we would deal with manufacturing companies and CPG companies and pharmaceutical companies, again, we’re seeing a higher level of spend, especially in the CPG companies. And we’ve seen some increase in claims for certain clients so that, that we think could be due to the early stages of disruption in supply chain, that seems to be moderating and settling down.”

“And I think the earlier part of the pandemic that we did see some reduction in the promotional investment coming from CPG companies and other types of promotional mechanisms.”

“And — but that’s settled down. So that — we had increased volume, but we had some decrease in promotion. So those kind of balanced out. And what we’re seeing now is that most of the promotional activity has gotten back to normal, and we’re not seeing the extreme run on certain types of commodities like paper products that we saw before. And so, we’re hanging in there. We’re not seeing it go through the roof, but we’re also not seeing a decline either. It’s trending in a positive direction.”

“With regards to commercial where we would deal with manufacturing companies and CPG companies and pharmaceutical companies, again, we’re seeing a higher level of spend, especially in the CPG companies. And we’ve seen some increase in claims for certain clients so that, that we think could be due to the early stages of disruption in supply chain, that seems to be moderating and settling down.”

Refrigerated pick-up lockers.  Albertsons Companies (NYSE: ACI) today announced that it is piloting PickUp lockers in select Chicago Jewel-Osco and Bay Area Safeway stores as the newest easy fulfillment option for e-Commerce orders made through the company’s websites and apps.

The company already offers in-house Delivery and Drive Up & Go options through its innovative websites and apps and has partnerships with third-party operators to provide fast delivery options. Albertsons Cos., which reported a 276% increase in digital sales in its first fiscal quarter and continues to add Drive Up & Go stores throughout the country, is looking at all of the ways that it can make customers’ lives – and their grocery shopping – easier and more exciting.

“Contactless PickUp through our state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled lockers makes it even easier to shop with us,” said Chris Rupp, EVP and Chief Customer & Digital Officer. “Whether customers choose to shop in our familiar neighborhood stores or through our websites and apps, we are ready to provide them with extraordinary service where and how they want to get their groceries. Our strategy to leverage technology and innovation to continue to grow our digital business is focused on creating products customers love and that truly make their lives easier.”

Healthy Joes coming to Naval Station Newport.  Muscle Maker, Inc. the parent company of Muscle Maker Grill, Healthy Joe’s & MMG Burger Bar, a fast-casual concept known for serving “healthier for you” meals, today announced that it has reached an agreement with the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) to open two Healthy Joe’s locations at two commands on Naval Station Newport (NAVSTA Newport) in Rhode Island.

One-hour pick-up at Whole Foods.  Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market is accelerating the pace of its grocery pickup expansion, now offering the one-hour service in every store nationwide.

Prime members can shop fresh produce, meat and seafood, holiday favorites, everyday staples and other locally sourced items all available with free, one-hour pickup at Whole Foods on orders of $35 or more.

Push back on German relocation.  President Trump has called for the relocation of troops from German but it’s getting a lot of resistance.  Lawmakers are pushing back, and defense analysists are citing that U.S. bases have also provided a lily pad for troops deploying to the Middle East and Africa, as well as a crucial battlefield trauma center at Landstuhl, where thousands of wounded troops have had their life-threatening injuries tended to.  The plan involves moving 11,900 troops total of out Germany. About 5,600 would move to other parts of Europe, like Belgium and Italy. That number also includes 2,500 Air Force personnel who will stay at RAF Mildenhall, England, rather than complete a long-planned transfer to Germany.  Defense analysts are saying that locations like Fort Bliss, Fort Riley and Fort Hood might receive some of the relocated troops and families.

And, The Army has announced a $190 million project to expand its training area at Grafenwoehr in southern Germany, even as the Pentagon moves forward with plans to withdraw troops from the country, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria said.  The complex will include new barracks, dining facilities, a fitness center and other support buildings to accommodate the greater number of U.S. soldiers who are expected to rotate through the area for training, garrison spokesman Donald Wrenn said.

Retail store shopping reservations.  Target is introducing a new safety measure—reservations.  It adds to a trend by other retailers including Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, and West Elm to provide the service.

Cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) roll-out.  In my presentation at the ALA convention I mentioned a number of compliance measures for government contractors.  One that is coming up fast is the CMMC.   Many are complaining that the interim rule DoD published in September didn’t offer enough clarity about the certification process, the costs to become certified and whether there will be reciprocity with other cyber standards. Comments on the interim rule are due Nov. 30. If a company is not CMMC certified, they will lose their ability to bid on government contracts.

Posted in .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *