Congress wants more oversight into commissary-exchange fusion

Matt Saintsing
May 15, 2018 - 11:25 am

Photo by Julie Mitchell/Army and Air Force Exchange Service

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As the Defense Department debates collapsing commissaries and retail exchanges into a single system, Congress wants to make sure it makes business sense.

An amendment introduced by retired Air Force brigadier general Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department to consider fusing the Defense Commissary Agency, Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), Navy Exchange Service Command and the Marine Corps Exchange.

The annual defense spending bill was advanced out of the House Armed Serviced Committee last week, and will now go to a vote before the House floor.

In a statement to Connecting Vets, Bacon said the amendment aims to streamline Exchanges and Commissaries on military installations while preserving the central service members and their families depend on.

“Congress has an obligation to accomplish this deliberately with the Department of Defense and Military Services to ensure this is a consultative and inclusive process of reform, while eliminating waste and unnecessary costs,” said Bacon.

“I look forward to working with the Department to certify that this possible consolidation is done the right way and that these benefits are maintained.”

The amendment requires the Defense Department to submit a report to Congress by Jan. 1, 2019 that provides a financial picture and business plans for the merger of these on-base services. But it excludes the Pentagon from using any taxpayer dollars to combine the retail exchanges.