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Proposed Military Cuts Could Hit Alaska's Commissaries

Published On: Feb 25 2014 06:30:00 PM AKST

Some of the military discounts from the Commissary could be going away due to a proposal to cut $1B from the department of defense subsidy budget. 

Reporter: Corey Allen-Young / Photojournalist: Dan Carpenter (KTUU-TV)


With Alaska already bracing for fewer soldiers serving in the Last Frontier, the latest round of proposed military budget cuts threatens to reduce some of the benefits they and their families depend on.

One of the biggest benefits for soldiers and their families, the commissary provides grocery discounts on bases worldwide, including here in Alaska.

Kaity Green and her Air Force family know all about the commissary and its savings. 

"Probably all of our groceries come from the commissary," Green said. "The prices are just better compared to off base for what we make, we are not a high ranking family so we count on the lower prices." 

Green says if the cuts do happen, her family would have to cut back in other areas to make up for the groceries. That could mean applying for programs like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Nutrition program to help out.  

Green's feelings were echoed on Channel 2's Facebook page

"It's ironic how the government expects you to follow the rules, but they break their own promise to support the military families," Frances Baney said.

"Seriously, go to the commissary on payday,” Simona Gerdts said. “It's like Black Friday at Walmart.”

Gerdts also says commissaries are a madhouse on pay day because families often are at the bare minimum of groceries by the last day of the month!"

"If I had to shop off-base for all groceries to feed my family, there would be a lot of ramen noodles in our future," she said.

Renee Marcov doesn't agree.

"You can get better deals at retail stores anyway, especially if you live in states that have no sales tax," she said.

On Monday Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the proposed cuts won't shut down the commissaries.

But when you ask Green, the idea of sacrificing more is going to be tough to handle.

"It's not fair because my husband is serving along with so many other people, and its one of those things we have just counted on," she said. 

The Defense Commissary Agency issued the following statement from the Department of Defense:

"We are not shutting down any commissaries; while we are cutting business subsidies for some commissaries, the vast majority should still be able to operate competitively and provide a good deal to service members and retirees."

Under the proposal commissaries in overseas and remote locations will continue to receive subsidies. 

But officials say Alaska is not considered overseas.