Support our mission

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service delivered more than $272 million in dividend support to the military’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs in fiscal 2007, an increase of about 17 percent over the previous year, the retailer said.

In the past decade, AAFES has contributed $2.4 billion to quality-of-life improvements, according to Judd Anstey, a spokesman at its Dallas headquarters. Youth services, Armed Forces Recreation Centers, arts and crafts, bowling centers, clubs, restaurants and golf courses are among the entities that benefit.

Anstey said the dollars troops and their families spend at the exchange lead to a "healthy return on investment" that directly boosts base services without additional burden to American taxpayers.

Last year, AAFES paid a per capita dividend of $276.20 for every soldier and airman, he added.

Since the organization also operates at Marine Corps and Navy installations, it returned funds to Marines and sailors as well.

"AAFES is mandated by the Department of Defense to provide quality goods and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings to support (MWR) programs," Anstey said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

"AAFES dividends bolster activities that support the DOD mission by satisfying basic physiological and psychological needs of troops and their families while providing the community support systems that make military installations temporary hometowns for a mobile population."

AAFES took in $8.7 billion worldwide in revenue during fiscal 2007, according to Anstey. Minus operating costs and payroll, earnings totaled $441.7 million.

Historically, two-thirds of AAFES earnings are paid to MWR programs, he added.

Anstey said he did not know what percentage is being spent on cranking up downrange programs in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"How (and where) AAFES dividends are spent are left to the discretion of the services," he said.

Earnings also are used to build new stores or renovate existing facilities without expense to the federal government, AAFES said in a news release. Funding comes entirely from sales.

In 2007, AAFES completed $344 million in capital improvements at 57 installations across the globe, Anstey said.

It provided more than 951,000 active-duty sponsors and family members with 496 new or renovated retail, dining and services facilities.

AAFES earnings — and the MWR dividend that emerges — are driven by maintaining customer value, managing inventory size, streamlined logistics and "holding ourselves accountable for delivering results," he said.

A healthy return on your investment

AAFES provided a dividend of $272.7 million to military MWR programs in fiscal 2007.

The breakdown:

$164.9 million to the Army$91.4 million to the Air Force$15.8 million to the Marine Corps$600,000 to the NavyStars and Stripes

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