Exchange Task Force Launches Web Site
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2004 The group charged with putting together a detailed plan to integrate the three military exchange services into one organization has launched a Web site.
The Unified Exchange Task Force, formed in May, is using the new site to inform exchange beneficiaries on what is happening to their important benefit, explained retired Air Force Maj. Gen. C.J. Wax, task force director and former commander of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. "This Web site provides a one-stop source of information and a place where beneficiaries can get their questions answered," he pointed out.
According to a news release, the site will provide continuous updates about the task force's work on the proposed military-exchange integration.
Web site visitors will be able to access progress reports, presentations and other data. Service members and retirees will be able to track proposed changes in the way exchanges do business and the potential impact on them. The site will offer a list of frequently asked questions, and visitors also can submit questions and comments.
Currently, three exchanges operate: the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Navy Exchange and the Marine Corps Exchange. Together, they top $10 billion in total worldwide annual revenue, selling everything from clothing to electronics, said the release.
If Congress would approve any exchange merger, it would still be "some years" down the road before the actual move, said Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, in an interview last year. At the time, he called the move to look at consolidation as "something that makes sense to me, and it makes sense to a lot of other people as well."
The objectives of the task force's process are "to sustain and enhance the current exchange benefit to customers, continue to provide dividends to the services' (morale, welfare and recreation) programs, and maintain transparency to customers," the release said. For 2004, work teams will examine exchange management and develop an implementation plan based on "industry best practices and synergy opportunities."
When it completes its work, the task force will turn over its findings to the deputy secretary of defense.