A headline broke yesterday that concerned many military families, including my own. SpouseBuzz reported that the roughly 180 commissary locations within the U.S. would be facing closure. The article, “Plan to Close Stateside Commissaries Coming Soon,” explained that in the wake of necessary budgets cuts the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) would be putting together a plan to close all stores stateside. With some military families living on tight budgets, which makes the 30% savings a true asset, would the Department of Defense (DOD) really strip away the benefit?
Sources inside the DOD say no. It was confirmed to Military Spouse Magazine that there are no closures coming to the commissary. While all programs are being reviewed because of a need to cut costs, the commissary is not shutting its doors. In fact, according to a DeCA press release, the agency is working to become “a 21st century benefit.” In 2012, they added the Commissary Rewards Program, similar to other national food market chains, which allows shoppers to save additional monies. More recently, they announced a new scanning system would be rolled out to allow cashiers to scan military ID cards.
While rumors of commissary closures have existed for some time, it is important for military families to voice which programs they do value to ensure they stay put. There is no doubt that the community will see some changes in the future because the Department of Defense has to meet the spending caps associated with the 2011 Budget Control Act. And for now, the changes we will be seeing at the local commissaries appear to be positive ones.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. 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 amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country. http://www.commissaries.com/