Mythbusters: Are these changes going to slow down the EBS rollout?
No. We are aware of the significant effort underway to roll out the new Enterprise Business Solution. The transformation team is working closely with IT to ensure any pilots run smoothly alongside the EBS transition and do not disrupt progress that has been made.
Mythbuster: Are we piloting privatization?
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 2017 NDAA and is not planned for DeCA at this time.
Mythbuster: Is DeCA merging with the exchanges?
No. This phase of transformation focuses exclusively on DeCA's operations. DeCA leadership continues to explore different levels of cooperation with the exchanges. To the extent DOD plans to implement any options in the future, we are committed to ensuring you are well-informed and equipped with information to understand any potential impacts.
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.
Mythbuster: Does this mean DeCA's status is changing as an appropriated fund entity?
No. At this time, DeCA will not be making changes to funding structure and its APF designation. The FY17 NDAA mentions DeCA may look into becoming a NAF entity at some point in the future, but DeCA's current labor and acquisition management models will remain in place during this phase of transformation. We expect no direct impacts to store operations at this stage. If this status changes, we will ensure you are timely and well informed about any potential impacts.
Mythbusters: Does this effort change DeCA's overall mission?
No. DeCA's mission has always been to offer the right products at the right prices as a critical benefit to our patrons. This transformation effort does not change DeCA's mission. However, it does provide flexibility in how we deliver the benefit and positions the agency to be more cost-effective, efficient and better able to protect the benefit for future generations of patrons.