Bad news for commissaries is good news for veterans!

Jonathan Kaupanger
June 25, 2018 - 2:25 pm



Bad news for the DoD just might turn into good news for veterans.  Sales at the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) has dropped about 20 percent over the last five years.  To help boost those numbers, DeCA wants to open its doors to more people, so Congress has been asked to open shopping to all veterans, not just retirees.

It’s doubtful that lawmakers will get the change made this year.  Changes started in May, when DoD opened shopping privileges to civilian commissary employees for the first time.

This year the DOD came up with a way to allow Purple Heart recipients, vets with service-connected disabilities, former POW’s as well as their caregivers to shop. 

There are two bills working their ways through Capitol Hill.  The main difference in the two bills is that the House version would also open base morale, welfare and recreation facilities to veterans. 

The DoD’s most recent proposal includes a type of user fee, between one and five percent, in order for non-core groups to use the commissary.  Even with this, the overall savings is typically 23.7 percent over civilian stores. 

Another change by DeCA is on pricing structure.  They’ve identified about 100 frequently bought items and have a new pricing program on these items that is expected to bring prices more in line with what shoppers find in civilian stores.

In the past, Commissaries have sold items at cost, plus a five percent surcharge.  Taxpayer’s have kicked in about $1.3 billion each year to help keep prices down for the military. 

Other changes meant to help bring in customers include expanding hours, keeping shelves stocked and expanding the selection of natural and organic items.  The Click2Go program will be expanded this summer as well.  With this you can order at the commissary’s online portal, then show up curbside to pick up your items.

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