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Transformation FAQ

Question Answer

What exactly is changing under the 2017 NDAA?

  • The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides DeCA the opportunity to make some specific changes to its operations that will sustain patron savings, improve their shopping experience, and reduce the agency's operating costs to ensure the commissary benefit is sustained for generations to come.
  • Congress defined success as maintaining savings for military families, ensuring customer satisfaction and ensuring continued high quality.
  • The elements of the transformation effort are:
    • First, success for DeCA is making sure its patrons save money on their groceries. For active and retired military personnel, the commissary is an important part of their benefits package. The first thing DeCA has done is: update how it measures patron savings. The new savings calculation is rigorous and sets an accurate baseline.
    • Second, Congress gave the commissary system authority to use business best practices when setting prices and negotiating costs with suppliers. These are known as "variable pricing authority" and "category performance improvement."
    • Third, commissary patrons told DeCA they wanted store-brand (private label) options. DeCA is launching a commissary brand to expand choices for its patrons and increase their opportunities to save on same quality products as name brand.


Question Answer

Is DeCA merging with the military exchanges? Myth!

No – this phase of work focuses exclusively on DeCA's operations. DeCA leadership continues to explore different levels of cooperation with the military exchanges. To the extent the Defense Department plans to implement any of those options in future, DeCA is committed to ensuring that employees are well-informed and equipped with information to understand any potential impacts.

Question Answer

Are we piloting privatization? Myth!

No – upcoming pilot programs will not be exploring potential privatization (i.e., a private sector company taking over DeCA operations). Privatization was not a part of the changes proposed in the 2016 NDAA and is not planned for DeCA at this time.

Question Answer

Does this effort change DeCA's overall mission? Myth!

No – DeCA's mission has always been to offer the right products at the right prices as a critical benefit to its patrons. This effort does not change DeCA's mission - however, it does offer more flexibility in how DeCA delivers that benefit, and positions the agency to be more cost-effective, efficient and better able to protect the benefit for future generations of patrons.

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