Armed Forces News

Administration plans to merge the Army and Air Force Exchange Service with the Navy Exchange Service and the Marine Corps exchange system, to cap shopper savings at an average of 30 percent and to test variable pricing is raising eyebrows in the Navy and Marine Corps. “I still have to be convinced” that consolidation is a good idea, said Rear Adm. William Maguire, commander of the Navy Exchange Service Command, at a House subcommittee hearing on March 3. Retired Brig. Gen. Michael P. Downs, the Marine’s director of personnel and family readiness division, asked how profits that support base MWR activities such as bowling allies, libraries and gyms will be distributed after an exchange system merger. He said every draft plan he has seen shows the Marine Corps’ share falling from 10 to 30 percent. “That’s devastating,” he said.