On July 11th, Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) introduced a modified amendment to Section 632 on the Military Patron Act (HR 2810). The amendment mandates that the DoD will submit a “cost-benefit analysis” on commissaries in order to reduce the costs of operating the commissaries and exchanges by 2 billion dollars over the next four years, while not raising costs for patrons.
Commissaries and Exchanges provide food and other necessary house hold items that are needed on a day to day basis for service members, their family and veterans. Commissaries started back in 1825 when Army soldiers could purchase household items from an on-post store at the cost of the item. Since then, this tradition has lived on – helping our service members provide for themselves and their families.
Commissaries still provide at cost products to our service members today, which is still a much needed provision. An Army private with a family of four makes less than $2000 a month. To make those dollars work for them, they rely on services like the Commissaries and Exchanges to provide for their family.
Although the amendment calls for a review of the services and asks for the DoD to make recommendation, the DoD has historically called for dismantling whole institutions as they have done with Military Medical Treatment Facilities and the Base Realignment and Closure Acts. JWV calls on members of Congress to make sure that our Commissaries and Exchanges remain open to our veterans, service members and their families.
“JWV deplores the lack of support for our service members as demonstrated by the wrangling over Commissary and Exchange operations. Despite the assertions that we need and must have a strong military we see measures that harm our service members and their families. Do we again want to see junior enlisted service members applying for food stamps and other government aid for their families,” said National Commander Carl Singer.