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ECN CoverE and C Commissary News

Highlights of October 2013 Issue



President Talks Up Commissaries as Store Closings Curtailed


• MCB CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — As President Obama addressed personnel at the base here — honoring the sacrifices made by servicemembers and vowing to end across-the-board sequestration budget cuts that have impacted military life — he brought the issue of commissaries to the national discussion.

The commander-in-chief addressed nearly 3,000 Marines, Sailors and military family members during his visit to this Marine Corps base, and spoke about the painful realities wrought by sequestration. ...

DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph H. Jeu hailed the DoD's Aug. 6 move to curtail furloughs of its civilian workforce from 11 to six days. “This is welcome news for us all,” said DeCA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph H. Jeu.

“We recognize the disruption that furloughs presented to our patrons as far as access to their commissary benefit. We also understand the economic hardships many of our employees faced with the pay they lost during the furlough period.” ...


DoD to Take 'Candid' Look at Commissaries, Hearings Expected


• WASHINGTON — Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright said Department of Defense (DoD) officials would take a “candid” look at whether commissaries should operate without taxpayer subsidies. Sources familiar with the matter indicated to E and C News that military resale leadership expected to have a window in mid-to-late October during which they might testify before Congress.

Wright said that whether the taxpayer subsidy for commissaries is eliminated depends on whether DoD can achieve the expected savings. “It needs to produce the results we think it's going to produce,” she said. “The service is going to still be provided. It may be ”...


Pentagon's Dempsey, MCRMC's Higgins Study Rising Retirement Costs


• WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) are simultaneously looking at ways to contain a Military Retirement Fund for which spending is anticipated to double within 20 years, according to Department of Defense (DoD) officials. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, USA, told servicemembers at Yokota AB, Japan, that that level of spending, coupled with the rising cost of servicemembers' pay and benefits, is too high. “Manpower costs are becoming overwhelming,” Dempsey said. “They will overwhelm modernization and training if we are not careful.” ...

Based on trends, only about 17 percent of servicemembers stay in for 20 years, he said. While those currently serving will still have the option of retirement at 20 years, the new enlistees could see retirement programs with benefits after 10, 20 or 30 years of service, he said.

“We want to make it so individuals have more choice at the front end,” he said. “If you are a young fellow you might be able to say 'I would like that program better than the one I've got.'”


McMasters Named DeCA Central Area Director


• FORT LEE — Ronald R. McMasters, former chief of the Defense Commissary Agency's (DeCA) Store Operations Group, was named the agency's Central Area director. He succeeds Randall L. “Randy” Chandler, who was recently named the agency's sales director (see E and C News 9/13). ...

“Ron has a proven track record of knowledge, expertise and dedicated service in virtually all levels of store operations,” said Keith Hagenbuch, executive director of the Store Operations Group. “I know he will serve this agency well as an area director.” ...


DeCA's Simpson, Standard and Jones Report to New Positions


• FORT LEE — The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) announced further changes to its executive staff involving three long-time agency veterans.

As the agency extended its recent round of organizational refinements, Mark L. Simpson was named Change Management Officer, Gordon J. Jones was appointed director of Business Development, and Teena Standard was chosen as executive officer to DeCA Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph J. Jeu.

These moves, effective Aug. 11, are designed to further the agency's vision of delivering a modern benefit that is relevant to commissary patrons, Jeu noted.

“Despite the changes inherent with ongoing budget reductions, we are determined to support our men and women in uniform and their families by providing the best commissary benefit possible,” Jeu said. “We are careful to ensure that all our leadership selections support that mission.” ...

DeCA Names Perry CIO as IT Mission Shifts


• FORT LEE — Jeffrey C. Perry, chief technology officer for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), was named the agency's chief information officer (CIO), effective Aug. 25. Perry had served as acting CIO for the Information Technology (IT) Directorate since the June 1, 2012, retirement of Janet Haase. Along with his new position, he will continue to serve as chief technology officer ...


AAFES Appoints Bowers, Weaver to VP Roles in Store Ops, Strategy and Strategic Communication


• DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) recently named Joyce Bowers as vice president (VP), Store Operations and Andrew Weaver VP, Strategy and Strategic Communication.

Both Bowers and Weaver have each served in a number of executive capacities for the exchange service during their AAFES careers. Bowers' positions include chief, Change Management (Retek); VP, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO); and most recently VP, Strategic Corporate Communication. ...


WRNNMC Bethesda Wins 2013 Design-Build Project Award


• VIRGINIA BEACH — The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) announced that the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) replacement project at WRNNMC Bethesda, Md., was selected as a National Merit Award Winner for 2013.

“NEX Bethesda was chosen for this award out of a highly competitive group of design-build projects from across the nation,” said Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, SC, USN (Ret.), the exchange service's chief executive officer. “It is an honor for the NEX to be recognized along with many other civic buildings across the country.” ...


DeCA Streamlines Acquisition Management With Resale Contracting Merger


• FORT LEE— The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) merged its acquisition management and resale contracting functions, a move that reorganizes the Resale Contracting Directorate from the Sales, Marketing and Policy Group to the Infrastructure Support Group, as a division within the Acquisition Management Directorate. The provisional realignment was put in place on Oct. 6.

Lawrence “Larry” P. Hahn will continue in his current role as director of Acquisition Management, however, the position of director, Resale Contracting, which had been held by John P. Lavinus III since October 2011, will now be restructured as deputy director of Acquisition Management. Lavinus retired Aug. 31.

“The consolidation of these two directorates reduces overlapping activities, improves oversight and makes a more efficient, streamlined and strategically organized function,” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and chief executive officer (CEO). ...


DeCA Store Operations Chief Joyce Chandler Retires


• FORT LEE — The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) recently announced the retirement of Store Operations Chief Joyce Chandler, effective Sept. 30. Her successor had not yet been named as this issue went to press.

Most recently Chandler, who as of mid-July had been chief of the Perishables Division in the Sales Directorate (SD), was detailed as chief of Store Operations for a three-month period, which was scheduled to have ended this month. ...


Resale Continues Support for 'Feds Hire Vets'


In addition to its latest outreach efforts to hire veterans into management positions, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), together with the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA); the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM); the Marine Corps Semper FIt and Exchange Services Division; the Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) and the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), continues to be part of an ongoing effort to recruit and hire veterans, with Feds Hire Vets. ...


AAFES's Ockenfels: Exchange Welcomes Veterans with 'Open Arms"


• FORT LEECol. Thomas Ockenfels, USA, chief of staff for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), said veterans are welcome with “open arms” at the exchange service after AAFES was recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine for its part in putting those who have protected American freedoms back to work.

The Exchange is among the organizations named to the publication's 2013 “Best of the Best” list, published in the magazine's summer issue. The Exchange made the cut in the “Top Veteran-Friendly Companies,” “Top Supplier Diversity Programs” and “Top Government and Law Enforcement Agencies” categories.

“It's essential to the Exchange's mission to welcome our veterans with open arms, and that extends to their families as well,” Ockenfels noted. “This recognition further validates our efforts toward providing veterans and their families with solid, rewarding job and career opportunities, and we are honored that U.S. Veterans Magazine considers us one of the 'Best of the Best.'” ...


MCX Names New Buyers for Health, Beauty and Cleaning, Beverages, Junior Wear and Military Clothing


• QUANTICO — The Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division, the entity that oversees the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX), announced effective Aug. 25 that William Van Hoorn was its new buyer handling the health, beauty and cleaning area.

Four other buyers also either recently changed responsibilities or joined the MCX:

Joe Cella succeeded Kelly Knuuti as buyer of non-alcoholic beverages and spirits, while Danielle Cannata, a former assistant buyer, follows Alison Linaine as buyer responsible for juniors, activewear, intimate apparel, hosiery, outerwear and swimwear.

In addition, John Gallo, the former young men's and activewear buyer, now handles military clothing and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) troop support, and was succeeded in his prior area by George Bridgforth III. ...


AAFES Names Williams Chief of Public Affairs, Command Liaison


• DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) recently announced Lt. Col. Antwan C. Williams, USA, as its chief of public affairs and command liaison. He succeeds Lt. Col. Tom Shrader, USA.

Coming to the exchange service from his former post as chief of Public Affairs, Current Operations, at U.S. Army South at Fort Sam Houston, JB San Antonio, Texas, Williams has had a wide and varied career since enlisting in the Army Reserve in Baton Rouge, La., in 1987. ...


DeCA 'CLICK2GO' Test Sees Basket Sizes Jump to $70


• FORT LEE — As the Defense Commissary Agency announced revisions to its new “CLICK2GO” online ordering/ curbside pickup program, it also reported a jump in average basket sizes ordered through the program of more than 12 percent.

Thus far, through Aug. 23, DeCA is reporting that sales have totaled nearly $38,000 with 439 patron transactions. To date, the average order — which pulls product from its brick and mortar stores — has been just over $70. The agency's average order is about $62. ...


Read more IN THE NEWS ...

INDUSTRY PHILANTHROPY: Passion, Response, Dedication
Drive Support of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research


More than $6 billion a year is committed to breast cancer research and awareness, and the companies that supply products to military exchanges and commissaries rank among the most ardent supporters of this cause, approaching it not as a marketing opportunity but as a corporate commitment.

Whether it is support for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) or the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), industry devotes millions of dollars each October — and also throughout the year — to education to raise awareness, and to valuable funding for research.

Along with financial contributions, industry creates innovative packaging displaying the distinctive pink ribbons and other pink-themed looks to products and programs to keep Breast Cancer Awareness month top of mind among patrons and all who can help further the cause and make a difference. ...

Read more Passion, Response, Dedication Drive Support of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research ...

DeCA Q&A: Improving the Benefit for Patrons And Partners

DeCA Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Michael Dowling

Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Michael Dowling has seen changes of almost every type involving the commissary system during his career in the military and resale.

The DeCA COO is not one to look at things from a limited perspective, and his responses often mirror the 360-degree approach that is increasingly part of DeCA's business philosophy.

In this exclusive interview, Dowling discussed the pace of innovation and change; pushing inventory to stores to meet forecasted demand; and illuminates some of the ways DeCA's future enterprise business system promises to unlock efficiencies all along the supply chain.

Above all, however, he's focused on translating all these transformations into a win/win/win scenario for the interconnected whole — industry, commissary, and their ultimate reason for being — the patron. ...

'We work very hard to demonstrate that what we do is part of the benefit, that it's relevant, that we are meeting customers' needs, that customers take advantage of it, as evidenced by the $6 billion in groceries they purchased last year.'
— DeCA Deputy Director and COO Michael Dowling emphasized.


Read the complete Improving the Benefit for Patrons and Partners ...

AAFES INTERVIEW: 'Making Our Customers' Lives Better

AAFES Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mike Howard

During his seven-year tenure as chief operating officer (COO) of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), Mike Howard has been a catalyst for significant improvements to the Exchange's capability to serve its customers; whether Stateside where sales savvy is critical, online where innovation is essential, or overseas in some of the world's most daunting theaters of conflict. No matter the fiscal climate, troop movements or trends, Howard is confident in the Exchange's powers of adaptation to patron needs, and its strong focus on serving its customers better and more efficiently.

In this exclusive interview with E and C News, Howard brings readers up to date on the Exchange's latest initiatives and objectives in delivering meaningful value and service to its worthy patrons, no matter where they are stationed.

'Our partners understand the military business and resale industry. Furthermore, they are constantly looking out for Soldiers, Airmen and their families; they share our vision and are deeply committed to the Exchange mission.'
— AAFES Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mike Howard


Read more 'Making Our Customers' Lives Better ...

NEXCOM Interview: Retail 'Readiness'

NEXCOM Chief Operating Officer (COO) Michael Good


Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Michael Good is not one to mince words. Although he is proud of how the exchange service has continued to register many positives during the recent challenging economic period, he also emphasizes that NEXCOM must adapt to the marketplace, anticipate new consumer patterns and trends, and remain the top shopping choice for Navy patrons in a very competitive retail environment.

In this exclusive interview with E and C News, Good outlines the ways NEXCOM continues to evolve in alignment with Navy initiatives and priorities, while still keeping the spotlight on patron needs ...

'We are Navy, which means being aligned to Navy leadership priorities. We
recognize that the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative is important to fleet readiness, which we have tailored our “A Better You” program to support. This program offers a variety of products that promote “A Better You” throughout the store. As I discussed, we receive over 1,200 customer contacts each week, and our customers are not bashful about telling us how we can be better. And, our local management is directly connected with the installations’ commanding officers. We are all advocates for the Sailors!'

— NEXCOM Chief Operating Officer (COO) Michael Good


Read more Retail 'Readiness' ...

CGX: Contributing to the Coast Guard Mission

Capt. Robert McKenna, USCG, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Community Services Command (CGCSC)


The old saying “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” neatly describes Capt. Robert E. McKenna, USCG, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Community Services Command (CGCSC). Since coming to this command in summer 2011, McKenna has seen a revitalized Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) form under his leadership, with a new direction exemplified in its new stores, and a new creativity in leveraging its services to Coast Guard customers.

In this interview with E and C News, McKenna shines a bright searchlight on a range of subjects from the valuable work of the Deployable Support Exchange team, to morale, well-being and recreation programs, and the rollout of CGX's “Fit Forward” initiative. ...

'“We have really focused … on seeking new initiatives to help drive efficiencies as well as keeping a “weather eye” … to stay on top of trends.'
— McKenna said about CGX’s recent strategies.



DoD & Congressional Staff Members


Here is a quick look at who in the Department of Defense is responsible for military resale, morale, welfare and recreation (MWR), and associated activities.


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EXCHANGE AND COMMISSARY NEWS: Military Resale Market Demographics


Operating 489 exchanges and 246 commissaries, as well as hundreds of smaller convenience stores, package stores, troop stores and other facilities, the military resale system is to be found wherever U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines or Coastguardsmen fly the flag, providing essential quality-of-life support for servicemembers and their families. These pages present statistical information — demographic, geographic and financial — on the military resale system and its customers.


Read more Military Resale Market Demographics ...



Exchange Sales: Direct Sales, FY 2012 In Millions


Read more Exchange Sales ...

EXCHANGE AND COMMISSARY NEWS: Military Resale Market Demographics
Where They Serve


As of June 30, 2013, there were 1,207,746 U.S. military personnel stationed in the United States or its territories (down 1,366 from June 30, 2012): 470,517 Army personnel; 287,925 Navy; 173,398 Marine Corps; 275,906 Air Force. A total of 69,990 were posted in Europe (down 8,734 from 2012): 32,584 Army; 5,953 Navy; 941 Marine Corps; 30,512 Air Force. East Asia and the Pacific (primarily Japan and Korea**) quartered approximately 79,918 U.S. armed forces (down 2,077 from the number reported for June 2012): approximately 22,678 Army; 20,631 Navy; 15,785 Marine Corps; 20,824 Air Force. Excluding Afghanistan, Kuwait and Djibouti, an additional 4,838 troops were stationed in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia (down 304 from 2012), and
more than 36,000 elsewhere in the world.


Read more Military Resale Market Demographics Where They Serve...



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