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Thread: It's official: Military exchanges plan to offer online access to veterans by Nov. 11

  1. #1
    CTHS Supportor Horizontal Hunter's Avatar
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    It's official: Military exchanges plan to offer online access to veterans by Nov. 11

    I thought I would pass this along for the veterans.

    Bob

    The military exchanges have the green light to open their online doors to veterans by Nov. 11, an idea initially proposed by a top exchange official nearly three years ago.

    Defense Department officials notified the congressional oversight committees Jan. 11 of their intent to open up the military exchange online shopping benefit to all honorably discharged veterans. On Jan. 18, a memorandum went out with guidance for the military departments to implement the program by Nov. 11.

    Congress had 30 days from the notification to lodge any protests, but "to date, the department has not received any concerns from the committees,” said Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a DoD spokesman, on Wednesday.



    DoD will address any future congressional concerns, but "no further guidance to the military departments is necessary for them to begin preparation to implement this online exchange benefit," Caggins said.

    The new shopping privileges will apply only to online shopping, not to brick-and-mortar stores. Newly eligible veterans -- DoD estimates there are 15 million of them -- wouldn't be able to buy uniforms, alcohol or tobacco products.

    While plans call for a Veterans Day launch, officials can approve an earlier start date if they deem it appropriate, according to the Jan. 18 memo. Preparations include ordering and stocking the increased inventory, and other operational requirements.

    The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES, and Navy Exchange Service Command, or NEXCOM, have online shopping websites, but authorized shoppers can buy from either site, regardless of branch of service.

    The Army's top enlisted soldier already has offered his support for the program.

    “It’s an outstanding ability to provide services to those who have served," Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Military Times. "It’s in line with our Soldier for Life program. We believe that once you’ve served, you’re always a member of the Army team. We should recognize and value that service for your entire life.

    “So we’ve benefited our veterans for serving, giving them an online shopping benefit where they can buy products and goods from all over the United States, and simultaneously support the military directly,” he added. “It helps with the morale, welfare and recreation programs, and we don’t have to spend tax dollars to do that.”

    HOW IT WILL WORK

    As they do with other authorized customers, the exchanges will use data provided by the Defense Manpower Data Center to verify veteran eligibility for online shopping privileges. Veterans whose records are incomplete or don't appear in the Veterans Affairs Department database will need to register through VA, according to a letter to congressional committees with oversight over DoD and VA issues by Peter Levine, former acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

    The exchange services will provide registration information on their online sites, and the AAFES call center will help veterans navigate the process.

    Veterans with honorable discharges will be authorized to shop online at any of the military exchange sites regardless of service branch, but they won't be able to receive a DoD identification card through the program, or gain access to DoD installations and other DoD property where exchanges are located.


    There are no plans to extend the benefit to these veterans' dependents because "it would be cost prohibitive to collect and track these individuals in the database used for verification of eligibility,” Levine wrote in the letter.


    AAFES will invest about $1.8 million a year to cover costs associated with the expansion of their online platform, according to Levine’s letter. If 0.3 percent of the newly eligible veteran group – or about 45,000 veterans – shop online, that cost is expected to be recouped.


    AAFES CEO Tom Shull formally proposed the idea of expanding the benefit to honorably discharged veterans to DoD on May 14, 2014, noting that it would provide a modest benefit to those who had served but left the military short of retirement. Defense officials determined that it could be accomplished administratively, without a change in law.

    http://www.militarytimes.com/article...rans-by-nov-11




    Last edited by Horizontal Hunter; 07-16-2017 at 06:46 PM.
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  2. #2
    CTHS Supportor Horizontal Hunter's Avatar
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    Veterans can register now for a chance at early access to Online military exchange shopping

    All honorably discharged veterans interested in shopping online at the military exchanges can begin their verification process immediately, exchange officials said, and some may be able to shop prior to the program's full launch.


    Some veterans who register at VetVerify.org will be invited to be beta testers, with the ability to shop online earlier than the planned Nov. 11 launch date. Officials said the sooner veterans register on the site, the better their chances of being chosen as a beta tester.

    The exchange websites offer tax-free shopping, as well as discounted pricing. Actual online pricing can be seen only by those who are authorized to shop at the websites: shopmyexchange.com; shopcgx.com; mymcx.com; and mynavyexchange.com.


    VetVerify.org uses information from the Defense Department's Defense Manpower Data Center to verify a veteran’s status; veterans will receive notification of their acceptance as online shoppers or, if their records are incomplete, will receive guidance on the steps they can take to update those records.


    Doing this process ahead of time will allow veterans to start shopping Nov. 11, or earlier if they are among the "beta testers" chosen to try out the system in advance of the launch.

    This new benefit, which would increase the online shopping base by an estimated 13 million veterans, applies only to shopping online at the military exchanges, not at the physical buildings on military installations. Until now, online military exchange shopping was available only to active-duty, reserve and Guard members, retirees, 100 percent disabled veterans and their dependent family members, and certain others.


    “It’s an honor to now provide this service and benefit to our well-deserving veterans. Once a Marine, always a Marine,” said Cindy Whitman Lacy, Marine Corps Exchange Director of Business and Support Services at Headquarters Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, in a statement today announcing the verifying website.


    “This initiative is one of many ways to keep our community connected.”


    Army and Air Force Exchange Service CEO Tom Shull formally proposed the idea of expanding the benefit to honorably discharged veterans on May 14, 2014, noting that it would provide a modest benefit to those who had served but left the military short of retirement.

    “The exchanges began working to recognize the service of millions of veterans without exchange privileges while generating additional financial support for critical budget-constrained quality-of-life programs,” Shull said, in a statement. “We are proud to stand with our sister exchanges as we welcome our veterans home to their military family and protect and preserve hard-earned military benefits.”


    The exchanges currently provide more than $300 million a year from their profits to support military quality of life programs. The veterans online shopping benefit is expected to increase that monetary support. In a Jan. 18 DoD memo, officials noted that AAFES will invest about $1.8 million a year to cover costs associated with the expansion of the online platform. If 0.3 percent of the newly eligible veteran group, or about 45,000 veterans, shop online, that cost is expected to be recouped.


    “We are excited to be welcoming our shipmates back to the NEX,” said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, CEO of Navy Exchange Service Command, in a statement. “Inviting veterans to shop online is just another way for us to honor them for their patriotism and service to our country.”


    http://www.militarytimes.com/article...hange-shopping
    Last edited by Horizontal Hunter; 07-16-2017 at 06:47 PM.
    Vegetarian: vejiˈte(ə)rēən/noun: old Indian word for lousy hunter.
    Excalibur Exocet, GT Laser II, 2" Bhoning Blazers 125g NAP Spitfire

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info HH!. Not sure how much I'll buy online from the exchange but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness to us vets behind implementing this.

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