Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

No Plans In The Works To Close Base Commissaries, Says Top Military Official

The rumor mill has been circulating the same piece of information for months - that the Department of Defense plans to close all stateside base commissaries. However, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey is denying the Pentagon has such plans in the works.

Many media outlets reported recently that the Department of Defense asked the Defense Commissary Agency to develop a contingency plan that would close all of its stateside commissaries as a cost-saving measure in tough budget times.

Indeed, just last week, an unnamed military official told that the Pentagon is floating a plan to cut $1 billion from the commissary agency's budget over the next three years. The source said of the cuts...

"If DeCA's budget is cut to such a magnitude, it would ultimately require DeCA to close stores or change the way it delivers the commissary benefit.

"But those options would mean military families would have to pay more for their groceries, significantly reducing the non-pay compensation benefit provided through the commissaries."

American Legion national president Daniel Dellinger reacted strongly to the article, according to the Washington Post. Such cuts would reduce the number of commissaries from 250 to 24, argued Dellinger:

“Commissaries are extremely important to young military families who are just trying to make ends meet. The costs in both fiscal and human terms would be far higher than the temporary savings realized. It’s a bad idea, plain and simple.”

Just days after the Washington Post story ran, the American Forces Press Service reported Dempsey's denial that commissaries would be shutting their doors:

The Joint Staff did not ask the Defense Commissary Agency to come up with a contingency plan to close 100 percent of U.S. commissaries, senior military officials said.

Officials did ask the Defense Commissary Agency for a range of options, including how the system would operate with reduced or no taxpayer subsidies, the chairman said, noting that military exchanges work on this system and that the same potential exists with commissaries.

In the most recent year, the Defense Commissary Agency received $1.5 billion in subsidies.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.