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Editorial Comment — August 2014

The Mission Continues ...

With all the hand-wringing over policy and budgets these days, it’s easy to forget that when it comes to delivering the benefit, the mission must continue.

Downrange, although media focus has shifted to other hot spots around the world, and operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula take less space in daily papers and nightly newscasts than they did a few years ago, that doesn’t mean that they are any less relevant to national security, or that AAFES and NEXCOM activities in harm’s way are no longer important to servicemembers.

At the same time, the fiscal pressure grows more insistent upon ever leaner exchange organizations and a reliable dividend stream, no matter how rough the current retail environment — military and civilian both — may be. But exchange personnel are not the least bit deterred. If the work of field exchanges and the job of properly provisioning and merchandising the tactical category is any gauge, exchange staff and supplier partners are as dedicated to making sure servicemembers are as well taken care of as they ever were, and that they have the best equipment in stock, no matter where their mission takes them.

Changing of the Guard ...

Summer is nearing its end, and with the changing of the seasons and the approaching end of the government fiscal year, comes a changing of the guard.

This time, there are so many new and familiar faces in new and unfamiliar positions that there are almost too many to mention. Capt. Robert L. Whitehouse, USCG, recently took the helm as the new commanding officer of the Coast Guard Community Services Command (CGCSC); at the VCS, Ray Tober has been in the director’s chair for just a few months; for Marine Corps NAF Business and Support Services, David Turner marches his Division onward as interim director as John G. Nettles Sr. replaces him as deputy director, Support.

Traci Russ is DeCA’s new sales director, with Gordon Jones as her deputy; Randy Chandler takes over Operations and Policy in the same Sales, Marketing and Policy Group; and Del Myrick will lead Business Development.

At AAFES, meanwhile, Mike Howard has been named president; and Leigh Roop and Karen Stack join Renee Figge, Mike Immer, Ana Middleton and Philip Stevens in the C-Suite structure, along with many more senior personnel changes.

Only at NEXCOM is this year’s course “steady as she goes,” with no major changes in the executive offices.

Providing oversight from the Pentagon in Personnel and Readiness are freshly confirmed Under Secretary Jessica Wright (although she’s been doing the job for many months already), and Principal Deputy Dr. Laura Junor, and acting Assistant Secretary for Readiness and Force Management Stephanie Barna.

We bid them all sage counsel, fortitude, wisdom and insight as the year unfolds. Big decisions await, and military servicemembers, veterans, retirees and their families are counting on them.

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