Highlights of the September 2017 Issue
NDAA: $2 Billion Resale Cost-Benefit Analysis Sought
• WASHINGTON — Although the House defense policy bill for 2018 (H.R. 2810) sent
to the Senate on July 18 did not prescribe any new elements
that would immediately alter the current military resale reform
picture, it did reopen a Congressional window on ways to reduce
During consideration by the full House, representatives added
a report requirement on exchange and commissary management
practices and on the feasibility of achieving a $2-billion cut to
appropriated funding for resale over a five-year period. The House
also sought to trim $45 million from commissary operations accounts from
the $696.5 billion bill. The Senate’s version of the bill (S.1519), meanwhile,
sought the repeal of a controversial moratorium on A-76 competitions, and
concurred with the House on funding a long-planned replacement commissary
for Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany. The Senate’s accompanying
report included the President’s full budget funding amount for commissaries.
Significant in the House proceedings was the striking out of a provision
from the Rules Committee print of the House Armed Services Committee
(HASC) bill seeking the establishment of “patron advisory boards” on military
installations. Instead, the House replaced the section with an amendment
submitted by Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) requiring the Pentagon to
produce a report on the management practices of military commissaries and
exchanges, and a cost-benefit analysis on reducing the costs of operating
military commissaries and exchanges by a total of $2 billion during fiscal
years 2018 through 2022. Alongside that, however, it specified that a further
goal of the cost-benefit analysis would be “not raising costs for patrons of
military commissaries and exchanges.” The report would be due within 180
days of the bill becoming law.
Brown Takes Command of CGCSC, CGX
• CHESAPEAKE — In a change of command ceremony presided over by Rear Adm. Matthew
T. Bell, Jr., USCG, commander, Coast Guard Personnel Service
Center (CGPSC), Capt. Bruce C. Brown, USCG, took command
of the Coast Guard Community Services Command (CGCSC), which
has oversight of the Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) and the Coast Guard
Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) Program.
Conducted before the assembled company of the command, the June 30
ceremony here at CGCSC
headquarters saw Brown —
who had previously served
as commanding officer at
USCG Base Elizabeth City,
N.C. — relieve Capt. Robert
L. Whitehouse, USCG,
who had led CGCSC since
June 27, 2014 (see E and C
News, July 2017). Brown had
been promoted to captain
after passing command of
USCG Base Elizabeth City to Cmdr. Randy Meador on
“I am honored to serve with each of you,” Brown wrote members of
CGCSC/CGX and MWR shortly after taking command. “I look forward
to meeting and learning from all of you and working together to execute
Community Services Command’s many missions.”
Pentagon to Stand Up CMO Organization,
Explore Enterprise Delivery Model
• WASHINGTON — A sweeping transformation of systems, processes and personnel is
slated to revamp the Defense Department’s research, engineering,
acquisition, sustainment, logistics, business and information
technology (IT) activities over the next year. It is also expected to
affect ongoing exchange-related business optimization efforts.
In an Aug. 1 congressionally mandated report, the Pentagon announced
plans to elevate its Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) into a Chief Management Officer (CMO) billet, effective Feb. 1, 2018,
separating CMO duties from the Deputy Secretary of Defense and
giving the CMO directive authority over the military departments
and all other Department of Defense (DoD) components, consistent
with the position’s responsibilities for the business operations of the
The proposed new CMO organization is tasked with “reforming”
operations within DoD’s business lines into systems with a departmentwide
approach, by taking “explicit action” to shift DoD business
operations to “enterprise services” from “the current military department
and defense agency ‘stovepipes’ to a whole-of-DoD alignment.”
DeCA Sales Directorate’s Jones, Dowlen,
Villeneuve Set to Retire
• FORT LEE — The Defense Commissary
(DeCA) recently confirmed
that three of
its long-serving Sales
Directorate (SD) executives — Deputy Director
of Sales Gordon Jones,
Charles Dowlen, who is
the category manager for Meat and the acting category manager for Deli, Bakery
and Fresh Seafood, and DeCA Dairy Category Manager Steve Villeneuve — will
all retire at the end of the government fiscal year, Sept. 30.
As this issue went to press, the agency had not yet announced who would
be replacing them in their respective positions.
The three executives totaled more than 100 years of commissary experience.
All three began their commissary careers prior to the formation of DeCA in 1991.
DeCA Announces 2016’s Best Commissaries
• FORT LEE — In early August, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) announced its 2016 Best
Commissary Award winners and second place finishers. According to the agency,
the annual competition honors stores that have surpassed the criteria it has set forth
related to customer service, accountability, safety, operations and sales.
“Congratulations to all the winners,” said Acting DeCA Director and Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) Michael Dowling. “They serve to remind all of us in DeCA that it’s not
only our goal, but our privilege to provide a premiere commissary benefit to our patrons
around the world, and that excellence is attainable through our passion and teamwork.”
The awards are named in honor of American statesmen who championed qualityof-
life issues for the military community.
DeCA Historian Skirbunt Announces Retirement
• FORT LEE — Dr. Peter Skirbunt, the historian of the Defense Commissary Agency
(DeCA), has announced his retirement. His last day with the agency
is Sept. 30.
Skirbunt — who has a doctorate in History, with an emphasis on
American Military History, from Ohio State University — has been with
the agency in Public Affairs, later Corporate Communications, since the
beginning of its existence in October 1991. Prior to that, he had been the
historian at the Air Force Commissary Service (AFCOMS), one of DeCA’s
predecessor commissary organizations.
In his position as historian, Skirbunt served as the historical advisor to
DeCA leadership, functioning both as the agency’s historical expert and also
as a representative at government and historical ceremonies and events.
Read more NEWS ...
Randy Demster, AAFES Buyer, Direct Store Delivery (DSD), Dry Grocery, Meat Snacks, Bakery
A variety of direct store delivery
(DSD) categories overseen by
long-time Army & Air Force
Exchange Service (AAFES) Buyer Randy
Demster have continued their momentum
from last year through the first half
of fiscal 2017.
Demster reported that dry grocery,
meat snacks and bakery segments combined
“are showing strong performance”
in comparison with AAFES overall sales
growth. Through July 2017, year-to-date
sales for these areas were $42.5 million,
a 5.4-percent increase from the prior year.
As the Better-For-You category has grown, McLaughlin said customers are
wanting more options such as organic, gluten-free, and no-soy. “Consumers
are now able to find Better-For-You options in more categories such as
confections, salty snacks, jerky, and dairy. The ease of shopping the category
has also changed throughout the years. Consumers can now go to their local grocery store or C-store to purchase Better-For-You
products, and it is no longer viewed as a specialty
The main drivers have been “larger-pack types
of meat snacks and our expanded baby assortment
that we introduced in February 2017,” Demster said.
Demster added that healthy snacking options
“are also growing in popularity, and especially
among millennials.” ...
Read more MEAT SNACKS DRIVING GROWTH ...
Probiotics, letter vitamins and the ready-todrink
(RTD) subcategory have been trending
up this year in Navy Exchange Service
Command (NEXCOM) stores, bucking some sales
erosion stemming from a private label product
recall and encroachment by large online vendors.
Jocelyn Cateternam, NEXCOM’s buyer for these
areas, noted that year-to-date fiscal 2017 sports
nutrition and supplement sales in NEX stores were
running about 9 percent below the prior year.
“Much of our decline is coming from a combination
of production issues, product recalls, and
much like what other categories are experiencing,
the ‘amazon.com effect,’” she said. “Unfortunately,
sports nutrition is not an exception when it comes
to the impact that amazon.com has had on all
“The competitive landscape has drastically
evolved in the last five years. More retailers have
shifted a greater focus on health and wellness
and have expanded their product offerings giving
customers more options to shop. Ultimately, this
becomes a challenge for every retailer, as we all
compete for the customers’ wallet share.” ...
Read more NEXCOM VITAMINS, SUPPLEMENTS AND SPORTS NUTRITION ...