Online Shopping Proposed for More Veterans

Washington Report

(June 24, 2014) All veterans who served honorably would save money by shopping online at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service if an idea proposed by the exchange director is approved. The Defense Department, which must give the go-ahead on the benefit expansion, is weighing it, according to a report from The Associated Press.

The idea came from Tom Shull, the director of the exchange service, who said 20 million veterans would be added to the roster of those available for shopping at the exchange website. It would not include access to the exchange stores on bases.

Currently, online shopping is allowed only for those still serving and those who served 20 years or longer. Shull would like to begin the expanded benefit on Veterans Day 2015. It would increase online sales from about $200 million to $1 billion by 2019, he said.

Shoppers usually save about 25 percent or more by shopping on the website. The AP used Levi's jeans for children as an example, saying they cost $15 to $20 a pair on the exchange website, but $28 or more in a department store.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, likes the idea and said, "Many, many veterans have not served a full 20 years, but have nonetheless contributed immensely to the defense of our nation. That service ought to be recognized more fully."