Pentagon looking at controversial plan to close all stateside commissaries

As a cost-saving measure, the Pentagon is taking a look at closing all stateside commissaries in 2015.

The proposal was part of recent preparations for the fiscal 2015 Department of Defense budget request that’s due out in February, and a sign of the budget pressures weighing on the Pentagon because of sequestration, the Military Times reported.

Pentagon spokeswoman Joy Crabaugh said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “has made it clear on numerous occasions that all cost-cutting efforts need to be on the table,” according to the Times.

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The commissaries are grocery stores that offer food and other necessities at a discount to members of the military, their families and veterans, and are seen as a valued part of the total compensation package.

Commissaries are “one of the most valued benefits,” Steve Rossetti, director of government affairs for the American Logistics Association, told the Times. “For what this costs the department, they get a huge return,” not only in terms of the benefit itself but in other factors such as jobs for military spouses.

There are 178 commissaries in the United States — and 70 overseas — which receive a total of $1.4 billion in government funds, according to Fox News.

Closing these facilities would have an immediate effect on the families of those serving and brings to mind the actions of the Obama administration during the recent government shut down in that it ensures the full effect of sequestration is felt by the American people.

President Obama has made it clear that he opposes the cuts brought on by sequestration –  it was his proposal — and the pain that will be felt by closing the commissaries mimics the impact of closing open air museums during the shutdown, but in a much more personal manner.

The silver lining in all of this is that even if the plan was included in the defense budget request for fiscal 2015, it would have to be approved by Congress — if one dares to view Congress as a silver lining.

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About Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review. He can be reached at tom@bizpacreview.com

  • EliseR

    The military has been looking at closing stateside commissaries for years. They are not cost-effective to build and run in the US where service members can shop on the economy at places like Costco, Walmart, and other grocery stores that office competitive pricing. The benefits to military families can and should be offset by an increase in pay and/or benefits to make up for the difference in the cost of buying food in regular grocery stores.

    • David Frazier

      Yeah lets force the military to buy from off base then we can use the money savedto send to Muslim countries.

  • Todd Zeigler

    elise, respectfully, your all wet. the comment you made about cosco and walmart is bs. been there done that and if it wasnt for the commissaries my family would have been on food stamps

    • EliseR

      Todd, my family uses the commissary too. the military is not just talking about shutting down the stateside commissaries. There would be increased benefits to offset the costs of buying groceries on the economy. Things like discounts for military at local stores and/or increased allowances. this would be more beneficial for retires who may not live near a commissary, and would save commissary operating costs. It would also put more money into the local economy.

      • Pamela K. Cahoon Laub

        Do you mean you really trust the government to do that? You are in a vast MINORITY. You do love to troll or are you being paid to be an BHO shill?

        • EliseR

          Plans to close commissaries have been discussed since at least the 1990s. Way before sequestration or Hagel or Obama. Congress never agrees because they don’t want to risk being seen as anti military. Believe me, don’t believe me, I don’t care, but there is no need for personal attacks.

          • Christine Johnson

            Obama is Anti Military. Have you not seen that he took money for the Blue Angels and shut them down, He took away one o the hot meals to the Men and women in Afghanistan.
            OBAMA IS DECIMATING TROOP MORALE

          • EliseR

            The Blue Angels schedule was cancelled due to Sequestration. Sequestration was passed by a bipartisan vote. Sequestration cuts required the military (not Obama) to prioritize its spending. What is more important to you, a military that is trained and ready to defend the country, or an air show?

            Here are the facts on the hot breakfast being curtailed to SOME units in Afghanistan:

            From The American Forces Press Service

            There is no truth to the Internet myth that Washington budget cuts have
            taken away breakfast for service members in Afghanistan, Defense
            Department officials said.

            Americans serving in Afghanistan can have up to four meals a day:
            breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight meal, if one is needed.

            The Internet myth’s genesis came from a few forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province that are closing or being turned over to Afghan security forces. Instead of a hot, prepared breakfast, service members at those bases receive packaged meals known as “meals, ready-to-eat,” or MREs. This streamlines the logistics for these closing bases, officials explained.

            The original email that sparked the controversy vastly overstated the
            extent of the “MRE for breakfast” policy. The original email also said the reason for the policy was because of DOD [Department of Defense] budget cuts. This is not true, defense officials said. The vast majority of service members in Afghanistan are receiving a hot breakfast, officials emphasized.

      • Christine Johnson

        So what about the Retiree’s. The one’s that earned these benefits. Yes the Commissary is one of the biggest of these, besides Medical. Allot of Retiree’s would starve if not for the Commissary’s. Get a freaking clue.

        • EliseR

          Plans being discussed are to include a “commissary allotment” in retiree payments; increasing retiree payments to account for the loss of savings at the commissaries; and/or working with grocery stores to give military discounts, equivalent to the savings offered by commissaries, for which the grocery stores would then be reimbursed by the military. Besides getting rid of the operating costs of the commissaries, this would benefit many retirees who do not live near a commissary. Remember, you pay a 5% surcharge on everything you buy at a commissary to help offset the operating costs.

          • David Frazier

            You seem to think it’s a good idea. Guess you dont remember how health care for life turned into tricare and then when my medicare started I had to pay $1200 a year just to keep my tricare. The gov will stick it to military and retirees any way they can.

  • Christine Johnson

    BS This is one of our Benefits. How much are they gonna take from the Military. Enough is Enough. Ya all put your mouth to good uses. Please contact your Congressmen, Senators etc. Tell them to stop taking everything away form our Military and Leave the Commissary’s alone.

  • Arden Hale

    Yes, of all the groups in the nation to anger, professional soldiers are an interesting choice.

  • lianis

    WHO EVER IS READING THIS POST COMMENTS, I HOPE YOU TAKE THIS SERIES. I JUST DONT UNDERSTAND WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT PICKING ON OUR MILITARY BASES?

    WE AS THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS HAVE FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY AND MANY OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN HAVE RISK THERE LIFES, JUST FOR OUR COUNTRY TO BE THE COUNTRY THAT IT IS RIGHT NOW.

    THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE, IF THEY WANT TO SAVE TRILLIONS OF DOLLAR,WHY NOT REMOVING WARFARE AND MAKE PEOPLE WORK ON THERE OWN TWO FEET…………………AND THEN THERE THOSE THAT COMES FROM OTHER COUNTRY AND THEY ARE COLLECTING OUR TAX PAYER MONEY….. THAT IS HORRIBLE.

     

    IF ANYONE HAS THE BALLS TO STAND UP FOR US AND NOT CLOSE DOWN THE COMMISSARIES PLEASE DO SO.

    IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SAVE TRILLIONS PLEASE REMOVE THE SUBSIDY THAT PEOPLE ARE COLLECTING ILLEGALLY OR HIDDING THERE HUSBAND.. just FOR THEM TO RECEIVED THAT MONTHLY CHECK FROM WAREFARE…..THIS COUNTRY IS TO NICE…AND HERE WE ARE BUSTING OUR A*S…… AND OUR MEN AND WOMEN FIGHTING FOR THERE LIFES..