Image copyright Stars and Stripes
By Tom Philpott
Copyright Stars and Stripes
Behind the plan to slash taxpayer support of commissaries is a concept Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his senior advisors have embraced that base grocery stores should operate as a business and not a benefit.
This shift is candidly revealed in budget documents released Tuesday and in a legislative packet for implementing the funding cuts drafted by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA).
The documents make clear that individual stateside commissaries will survive only if they produce enough revenue to cover operating costs.
Hagel gave a softer summation to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
“We are not shutting down any commissaries. We recommend gradually phasing out some subsidies but only for domestic commissaries that are not in remote locations,” the defense chief said. Because stateside stores “will continue to operate tax-and-rent free, they will still be able to provide people with a very good deal.”