- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pentagon officials have given military commissaries the green light to begin selling beer and wine on U.S. bases across the globe.

Earlier this month, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie authored a memorandum allowing the alcohol sales at base commissaries, Military Times first reported. Sales will commence over the next three months at the small, on-base convenience stores, according to the memo.

Prior to when this memo was drafted, all alcohol sales — beer, wine and liquor — were handled exclusively by the base exchanges.

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This month’s policy change is one of several implemented by the Pentagon over the last few years, focusing on the sale of alcohol and tobacco on military installations.

In 2016, then Defense Secretary Ashton Carter approved a policy change, raising the price of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco sold on U.S. military installations, in an attempt to wean service members from tobacco use.

The new tobacco policy increased prices on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco sold at U.S. military commissaries and post exchanges to match the price of tobacco products sold off base, which are subject to state and local taxes.

Tobacco products sold on U.S. bases are tax-free, prior to the price hike initiative.

At the time, Defense Department officials anticipated the policy to save the Pentagon roughly $1.6 billion in lost productivity and health care costs to treat tobacco-related illnesses.

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