Norfolk, Va. – The Defense Commissary Agency has been asked by Defense Department officials to develop a plan to close all U.S. commissaries.
The plan would close about three-fourths of all commissaries, according to a new report in the Military Times.
The request was reportedly made at a meeting to plan for the fiscal 2015 DoD budget request that is due out on February.
The agency receives nearly $1.4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies and has reduced its annual funding by $700 million over the last 20 years, according to Director Joseph Jeu.
That DeCA has been asked to prepare such a draft plan does not mean commissaries would close anytime soon. Even if such a plan was included in the defense budget request for fiscal 2015 — almost a year away — it would have to be approved by Congress, where many lawmakers would oppose it.
The Military Coalition, comprised of more than 30 military and veterans advocacy groups sharing a common agenda, also would fiercely oppose such a plan.
Still, the fact that defense officials want DeCA to draft a plan for how it potentially would carry out such a move is another sign of the heavy budget pressures weighing on the Pentagon as a result of sequestration.
DeCA has 178 commissaries in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. Almost 70 stores operate overseas. Operating costs for the overseas stores account for 35 percent of DeCA’s budget and 16 percent of total worldwide sales.