Political parties and personalities are not as interesting as what stays the same no matter who is elected to office.

I’ve never been one to say that military benefits are inadequate. Just stick with whatever was offered when people signed up to stay on for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and we’re good.


Traditional Commissary Benefit

Unfortunately, the commissary has gone downhill in recent years. They still hire good people, but the shelves are not consistently stocked. Some of the products that were routinely available have been completely phased out.

The commissary has introduced their own store brand, which in some cases works out fine. In other cases, is the store brand an inferior replacement for an item that has been eliminated from the inventory? Not against store brands, but some items we have been able to get at the commissary over & again are no longer stocked. Not sure if this is because of store brands and limited shelf space, or really what the reason is. The folks who run the commissary system seem to be more about taking a promotional approach and less about delivering bad news or admitting that things are different and not better as time goes on.

June 1, 2018 Stars and Stripes

DECA chief hears you: Commissary shelves will be better stocked

“There seems to be a total lack of concern on the part of the commissary management to keep shelves stocked.”

Many commissary patrons echoed this complaint in reacting to our recent news column on base stores, and it’s not news to the interim director of the Defense Commissary Agency, retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert Bianchi.”


What has changed?

DoD wants to sharply cut commissary budget as overall defense budget increases

“For a number of years, some within the Defense Department have floated proposals to reduce the commissary budget.”

Blogged about it here:

Killing the Commissaries


My take:

The plan is to save money by defunding the commissaries. Less people will want to shop there after the transition, then we’ll have the numbers to show that it makes no sense to continue to support funding for the commissaries.


Cries of Desperation

Commissary sales are down. To increase sales, people who formerly did not qualify to shop there will now become eligible:

Commissary employees to get shopping benefits

No need to volunteer to go to far away places and maybe never come back again. If you work at the facility-you now qualify for this traditional benefit.


Once an incentive to stay for 20, now maybe an incentive to qualify for a 0 percent disability:

Department of Defense Expanding Access to Military Commissaries, Exchanges and Recreation Facilities

Who is eligible?

“…veterans with VA- documented service-connected disability ratings of 0-90 percent…”

What is a zero-percent disability rating?

Claims agents are standing by:

“So what about zero-percent ratings? A veteran may be rated at zero percent, which means that a service-connected condition exists, but that it does not affect his or her ability to function.”

San Diego area military bases to open gates to thousands more veterans in 2020

“Starting New Year’s Day, more than 3 million veterans nationwide, including tens of thousands of local veterans, will be able to shop at exchanges and commissaries on military bases and utilize their recreation facilities.”

Until now only active duty military, retirees, Medal of Honor recipients and veterans who were 100 percent disabled could shop on base…”

“The change is expected to boost sales at base grocery stores, shops and restaurants, which have suffered years of declines…”



Commissary funding has been cut. The benefit has been reduced and people are less inclined to shop on base for this reason.

We can’t have poor sales numbers. We will not put the benefit back to the way it was when people signed up to stay on for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will open up eligibility and get more people to show up to shop on base.

The folks who lied about progress in Afghanistan and those who promote giant flag rituals at sporting events are running the show. Look for more in the way of marketing spin. The traditional benefit isn’t coming back.



Insert language into recruiting literature and enlistment documents stating that rules concerning benefits may change at any time & that no definite benefit package will be provided in exchange for 20 years of unrestricted worldwide service. No grandfather clause will apply. Have unit leaders refer to this disclaimer when promoting retention drives, giving re-enlistment speeches, etc.

Did these guys sign up for benefits?

No. They stayed for multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and kept reenlisting until they had 20 years in for benefits.

They could have left the armed forces to stabilize their lives Re: children in school, home ownership, a chance at decent local jobs for a two income household, family separation, getting shot at, etc.

They stayed in based on what they thought was an honest understanding of the benefits they were earning.

For budget savings:

Phase out ongoing undeclared/unwon wars overseas.

The Department of Defense track record for winning undeclared wars goes back to 1949.

Whatever happened to the formal congressional declaration of war?

This would be the time to hear from elected leaders and top generals on all the issues that have doomed the Department of Defense track record for winning wars since DOD was established in 1949.


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A message sent by DeCA to The Troops that is no longer seen at the commissary.

Not seeing any “this offer expires on” date here.