Rumors that the Defense Department will be getting rid of the commissaries have been flying all over the internet since a November report from one Senator’s office labeled them as one more thing the military could do away with to save some coin.
The rumors, of course, are not true. Closing the commissaries would take an act of Congress (not just a report from one member of Congress) stripping their funding and shutting their doors.
But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some validity to the fear that such a move may, eventually, come to fruition.
This isn’t the first time such a proposal has been made. Around this time last year one congressional committee voted to give the money they usually spend on commissaries to another fund to take care of sick veterans. Instead they planned to have AAFES, which runs the Army and Air Force PX and BX systems, take over the operation.
That move was undone by a later vote, but in the meantime there was plenty of chance to debate whether or not unfunding the commissary was even a good idea. Some said “yes.” Most said, “no.” The “yes” folks pointed to a Congressional Budget Office report that said that doing so would save over $1 billion a year. The “no” people said that the higher costs to users – especially to those living oversees – would be debilitating.
In the end we all ignored the whole thing and moved on with our lives.
But now that the fiscal cliff is creeping closer and closer to becoming a reality – and we know that regardless budget cuts will happen – the commissary closures are starting to sound a good deal more likely. The recently released annual commissary report card touts, as it usually does, what DeCA sees as its invaluable nature to the lives of military families. And a commissary support organization continues to highlight the savings military families receive.
What do you think? Could you live without the commissary?