WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 01, 2013) – Despite a government shutdown, military commissaries overseas and all Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities will continue operation.
Military commissaries in the United States, however, will not be open during the government shutdown, said the director of the Defense Commissary Agency.
During the government shutdown, 38 commissaries in Europe, one store in Puerto Rico, and 29 stores in the Pacific, including Guam, will remain open. Keeping the facilities open is a safety and security measure to serve U.S. troops and their families stationed overseas.
“We are acutely aware of the hardships placed on all our customers if we cannot deliver their commissary benefit,” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO. “However, because of their geographic location, our service members and their families overseas have a more critical dependence on commissaries, and we are prepared to continue that support.”
Stateside commissaries, including Alaska and Hawaii, will be open for a full business day on Oct. 1 to reduce the amount of on-hand perishables before beginning a systematic closure process to account for unsold products and secure facilities.
Jeu recommends that customers stay tuned to their local news outlets for information about any impact to services on their installations.
The military Exchange will be largely unaffected by the shutdown as it is a non-appropriated instrumentality. Nearly 97 percent of its funding is generated by sales and less than three percent of its budget comes from tax dollar support.
“Some transactions may be delayed, such as the purchase of firearms, which require background checks or other federal government actions. But, for the most part, it will be business as usual at the Exchange,” said Col. Tom Ockenfels, the Exchange’s chief of staff. “The Exchange will do everything we have to do to continue to support the Soldiers, Airmen, retirees and their families, both home and abroad.”