I have heard all the arguments. Why do we need the commissary? It’s just another grocery store. The funding it requires is better suited for other military operations. With so many options for groceries, we don’t need another. There are six other grocery stores right outside the gate (or more). The military is not in the grocery business. It makes no sense that DoD would sell groceries.
It’s not just about groceries.
The commissary system provide much more than groceries. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country. DeCA’s mission is to deliver that vital benefit of the military pay system that sells grocery items at significant savings while enhancing quality of life and readiness. The emphasis is on enhancing quality of life and readiness.
How do we do this?
Many young service families, particularly those stationed in high cost-of-living urban areas, simply could not make ends meet without the price savings provided by commissaries. Those savings amount to about double the appropriated cost of running the system. In other words, preserving this level of compensation in direct dollar payments to military personnel would cost the government twice the current fund appropriation.
More than that…
The commissary is a home away from home. Our military families are deployed all over the world, thousands of miles from their home towns and base. Moreover, that can be expected to move again every couple of years. The one constant in their lives is the sense of community that comes from families coming together. They do this at the commissary, BX and MWR events. The commissary system is much more than a grocery store. It is a home away from home for our military families.