Bianchi remains at helm of commissary operations
The Department of Defense announced today that retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi will continue leading the Defense Commissary Agency as a special assistant for commissary operations.
Virginia Penrod, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA), will concurrently serve as the DeCA director and CEO. Bianchi will report to her office. Both actions are effective July 1.
Since Oct. 24, Bianchi has served as DeCA's interim director and CEO as well as CEO of the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM). Personnel policies did not permit an extension beyond the 240 days Bianchi had already served as interim director. In the position as Special Assistant for Commissary Operations, Bianchi can continue leading the day-to-day management and control of DeCA's business operations, while also continuing his NEXCOM responsibilities.
"The Department is currently in a reform environment and the military resale systems are under review," Penrod said. "Until such a time as the future of the military resale systems is clear, DoD leadership strongly supports the appointment of Rear Admiral Bianchi as the Special Assistant for Commissary Operations.
"Over the last eight months, Rear Admiral Bianchi has done an amazing job of initiating changes in DeCA's programs and processes," Penrod said. "The current Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Robert Wilkie, asked him if he would be willing to continue serving at DeCA. As an ardent supporter and believer in the importance of these key quality of life benefits, Rear Admiral Bianchi has agreed to stay on."
Penrod said it's important that the Department maintain the momentum achieved by Bianchi's tenure as DeCA's interim director at a time when the agency continues to evolve as it looks to improve the patron shopping experience by integrating commercial business practices such as variable pricing and private label brands.
"I am honored and excited to continue the work I've begun within our commissaries to help make an appreciable difference in the quality of life of our service members and their families," Bianchi said. "Our mission is first and foremost to provide the products our patrons want at significant savings. That is the benefit they've earned!"