By Debbie Gregory.
Some 16 million honorably discharged military veterans will soon be able to make purchases from online military exchanges, under a recently announced Department of Defense policy change.
Slated to begin appropriately November 11, Veterans Day, the move is a way to improve the quality of life for veterans and their families, as well as strengthening the exchanges through the Department of Defense’s increased online presence, competitive prices and selections, and bargaining power with vendors when millions of additional customers are added.
Although veterans will not be able to buy uniforms, alcohol or tobacco products, the rest of the Exchange Services’ inventory, including clothing, appliances, jewelry, etc. will be available. The Exchange also carries high-end name branded merchandise
Brick-and-mortar military exchanges on bases or posts are already open to many veterans who live near them, as well as their dependents and surviving spouses. But the new policy will benefit those who don’t live near a base or who may not have the means to get to the base store.
Months of preparation are needed to make e-shopping portals more robust and to allow the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) time to create software for verifying veterans’ status using Department of Veterans Affairs records.
“As a nation, we are grateful for the contributions of our service members. Offering this lifetime online benefit is one small, tangible way the nation can say ‘Thank you’ to those who served with honor,” said Peter Levine, acting under-secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
The commissary shopping benefit isn’t involved, so there won’t be any dilution to that benefit, or any increase in crowding or product availability.