A group of politicians and military leaders toured Altus Air Force Base on Friday to discuss possible privatization of military commissaries.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) landed at the City of Altus Regional Airport on Friday and was greeted by local dignitaries, Oklahoma state Sen. Mike Schulz (R-District 38), Oklahoma state Rep. Charles Ortega (R-District 52), Altus Mayor Jack Smiley and other community members.
According to Inhofe, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) seeks to privatize the Department of Defense commissaries in the National Defense Authorization Act, a move that Inhofe opposes.
“There are too many unknowns as to whether privatization could directly impact military members’ ability to provide for their families as well as the potential for it to affect retention,” Inhofe said Friday. “Unfortunately, despite the fact that the assessment has not been completed, this year’s NDAA includes language that would privatize up to five commissaries on major bases. Our commissaries are the most utilized service by our nation’s military members and their families and when they surveyed last year, 95 percent of service members were accessing the commissaries in order to purchase household goods to achieve needed savings in their family budgets.”
When Inhofe arrived at the base commissary he was greeted by Air Force Col. Todd A. Hohne, commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, and the commissary staff. Inhofe toured the commissary and spoke with retired and active duty families who utilize the commissary services on a regular basis.
“I shop at the commissary at least once a week, if not more, for my family’s groceries and household needs,” said military dependent Robyn Travis, a mother of two young children.
According to Inhofe, he authored an amendment to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, with the support of 24 senators and more than 40 organizations, that protected commissaries from being privatized until the matter could be studied to determine benefits and costs of privatization.
Reach Mary O. Esparza , 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.