Military Advantage

Group Fights to Save Commissaries


"The military resale system (commissary and exchange) is a 150-year-old benefit that provides millions of dollars in annual savings to military personnel and the federal government" -- Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits

According to the Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits, a group advocating for the preservation and patronage of commissaries and exchanges, military families save an average of $6,500 a year by using military commissaries and exchanges. For many households that $6,500 is just enough to help them avoid having to go on public assistance. In addition, commissaries and exchanges help to financially stabilize and strengthen military households by employing spouses, retirees, and dependents.

“Military families have been enduring great sacrifice for more than a decade. They are the ‘other 1 percent’ – that small fraction of Americans who shouldered the responsibility to create more global security after September 11, 2001,” said Patrick Nixon, President of the Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits. “Taking $6,500 out of the pockets of everyU.S.military household would be an unacceptable affront to these families who have given so much for this nation. It would also be a poor strategic and financial decision. The military shopping benefit – and the entire military resale system – is an efficient and effective example of government working properly.”

The Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits points out the actual return on investment for American taxpayers from DeCA operations is of $9 for every dollar of subsidy. Unlike other military quality of life programs, which have doubled or tripled in cost over the past five years, the DeCA subsidy has remained constant since 2000. The commissary and exchange program’s also keep cost of living allowance (COLA) rates down, which saves the DoD in COLA payments to members.

The coalition is concerned that some in congress support an effort to reduce the DoD budget by eliminating the DeCA subsidy and combining the exchange and commissary systems. The loss of the DeCA subsidy would result in increased food prices for commissary patrons. The coalition fears the impact would harm military families, especially at a time when other economic hardships are intensifying for many military households.

Nixon said the best course of action for military families is to continue to demonstrate the importance of the military resale system by patronizing commissaries and exchanges. In addition, all Americans can show support for the ‘other 1 percent’ by joining the Coalition at

“Every military family and veteran is our partner in this important undertaking,” added Nixon.  “And our partners can do their part by patronizing commissaries and exchanges. By doing so they are literally preserving their savings. Together we are all protecting the military resale benefit.”

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