House NDAA Would Require New Case Study on Commissary-Exchange Consolidation

House NDAA Would Require New Case Study on Commissary-Exchange Consolidation
The exchange and commissary at Fort Belvoir, Va. (Kevin Robinson/Defense Commissary Agency)

The House version of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) puts the brakes on DoD’s fast movement toward consolidating the back-office operations of the commissary and exchange systems.

 

The House provision would require DoD to conduct a new business case analysis (BCA) incorporating the recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its latest report. The provision also would require additional comments from the military services to be made available alongside DoD’s final recommendation on reform efforts to better inform the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on all consolidation perspectives. DoD would not be able to move forward on reform efforts without congressional approval after reviewing a renewed BCA.

 

[RELATED: MOAA Endorses Bill to Expand Education and Career Opportunities for Military Spouses]

 

The April GAO report highlighted several flaws with the current BCA, resulting in the underestimation of costs of potential consolidation and overestimation of potential cost savings. The GAO findings raised already heightened concerns among military service organizations and patrons of the commissary and exchange system surrounding the cost and other impacts consolidation may have on the defense resale system. MOAA continues its work to ensure Congress is fully and accurately informed on the potential financial impacts of consolidation, and how they compare with other joint reform efforts.

 

What’s Next?

While the House version of the NDAA includes this important provision, the Senate version does not ask for a new BCA. MOAA is actively engaged with the Senate, urging adoption of the House provision during the NDAA conference process. We plan to highlight this concern formally in our annual letter to the conferees.

 

While MOAA doesn’t oppose reform of the defense resale system, we want to ensure a valid BCA informs the decision, other joint reform efforts are considered, and funds used to shape reform do not come at the detriment of military family support programs.

 

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About the Author

Eryn Wagnon
Eryn Wagnon

Eryn Wagnon came to MOAA in May 2018 as a military spouse fellow sponsored by the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program. She joined the MOAA staff permanently in July 2018 as director, military family policy and spouse programs.