Sunday, November 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

AAFES makes ‘business case’ for veterans shopping
 online

By
From page B10 | August 24, 2014 |

Allowing 18.8 million honorably discharged veterans to shop online through military exchange services, which also operate brick-and-mortar department stores and concessions on base, could boost store profits enough to pump more than $100 million back into base quality-of-life programs.

That’s part of the “business case” made by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to the Department of Defense’s Executive Resale Board this month, where Navy officials still raised concerns over the idea.

Thomas C. Shull, AAFES chief executive officer, proposed to Defense officials several months ago that veterans be allowed to shop online through exchange service websites and, in that way, gain the same discounts on thousands of department-store items that on-base shoppers enjoy.

AAFES already is working with an outside contractor to modernize and expand its website for online shopping of current patrons, which include active duty, Reserve and Guard members, military retirees and families.

Senior policy officials who oversee Navy and Marine Corps exchange services, however, have challenged the idea, fearing “benefit creep” for veterans beyond online shopping into other military support programs. They also believe hurdles to implementing online shopping for all veterans will be higher than AAFES predicts, particularly in finding a foolproof way to verify veteran status and the character of their discharges.

Defense officials, meanwhile, have signaled they want unanimous support of service branches before they will embrace such a dramatic expansion of discount shopping, even if only online. The Executive Resale Board, which resolves disagreements between elements of the military resale system, recently asked Shull to present a business case for opening online shopping to any veteran with an honorable discharge.

Board members representing every service are reviewing that report with comments due back Aug. 29. The board’s next scheduled meeting, however, isn’t until Nov. 4.

Shull told us earlier he hoped to have his plan approved by Veterans 
Day – Nov. 11 – and have the benefit available to all qualified veterans a year later.

“Each month, veterans are denied the opportunity to shop online through armed services exchanges costs the (Department of Defense) $8 million to

$14 million in earnings and (base Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs) $5 million to $9 million in dividends,” says the AAFES report.

Here are other points it makes in favor of a veterans online shopping benefit:

Benefit deserved: Many service members forced to leave the military in the next 12 to 18 months in a force drawdown will have deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan but won’t have a chance to serve full, 20-year careers, the report notes. The offer of online discount shopping through exchanges “is a modest way to show appreciation.”

Also, offering veterans online discounts would “encourage ongoing involvement in the military community and sends a clear message to future recruits that our nation values and appreciates every individual’s service.”

Lean times: Because of the drawdown and falling exchange patronage, store profits and exchange “dividends” to support morale, welfare and recreational activities on base “will decrease materially.” Service members and families will feel the impact on support programs.

From 2011 to 2013, AAFES total sales fell 
10.1 percent. If AAFES had not taken aggressive steps to cut overhead, earnings would have fallen sharply along with dividends to quality-of-life programs. Though AAFES expects to come close to its target of $300 million in revenues in 2014, erosion of the customer base continues and could reduce store earnings to less than 
$100 million by 2017.

“Unlike commercial enterprises,” bases exchanges “can sell only within a finite and shrinking customer base,” the report says. Exchanges need to expand patronage to veterans and AAFES is well prepared to do so.

Veterans would shop: Given the value that military retirees place on exchange shopping, spending an average of $668 there annually, the 
90 percent of nonretiree veterans who can’t shop on base could be expected to take advantage of shopping discounts, even if available only online.

The report projects total exchange sales increasing across of wide range of possibilities, from a low of $226 million annually to a high of $1.13 billion. This would generate $60 million to $108 million annually in added dividends to support MWR and quality-of-life programs without any increase in taxpayer support of base stores, according to AAFES’ analysis.

The report discusses possible pros and cons of online shopping for veterans and finds only one “true” con – inaction by the department.

“Any delay in addressing this critical population only weakens the entire military community,” the report boldly states. It adds some movie-reel rhetoric that “speed and cooperation are of the essence.”

Meanwhile AAFES is more than doubling its selection of goods sold online to include about half of all items sold in larger exchanges, up from 20 percent today. It also promises to speed processing and shipment of orders and to expand call center operations so shoppers see a vast improvement.

Veterans should learn by November whether the business case AAFES made was strong enough to win the unanimous support of services and, therefore, of Defense officials. AAFES believes expanding online shopping to veterans would require only a change in regulation, not law.


Tricare test coverage

The Defense Health Agency has published online its list of genetic or laboratory-designed tests Tricare now covers under a three-year demonstration that will end on July 18, 2017, if not extended.

Beneficiaries who had to pay for any of these 35 tests since coverage first was denied back to Jan. 1, 2013, might be eligible for reimbursement.

Visit http://www.tricare.mil/ldt for more information.


Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120, email milupdate@aol.com or tweet @Military_Update.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12, 11 Comments

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 6 Comments

 
 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6, 1 Comment

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics