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The Defense Commissary Agency announced recently that it has launched a “Virtual Commissary” for online shopping.

“We’re excited about DECA’s first adventure into the world of Internet shopping,” Patrick B. Nixon, chief executive officer and acting director, stated in a news release Tuesday.

The service is starting off with gift baskets but plans to expand the line of products it offers, the news release stated.

Through a secure connection, eligible shoppers must enter personal information to verify their enrollment in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS.

The system is similar to that used by military exchanges to allow access to online shopping.

Department of Defense civilians stationed overseas, who are eligible for commissary shopping, may not be able to use the online option until the Defense Manpower Data Center finishes adding them to the DEERS database in late November,the news release stated.

“This type of shopping started with other industries and expanded to include grocery stores. Now DECA has expanded into offering another option for Internet shopping,” said Totolua Ripley, Yokosuka Naval Base’s commissary director.

“I look at it as a supplement to shopping in the actual stores; it’s another venue,” Ripley said Tuesday. “It’s a benefit for those in the States who might want to send a gift item to friends and family overseas and vice versa.”

Online commissary shoppers type in payment and shipping information before being redirected to the manufacturer’s site where a total product and shipping cost is tallied, the news release added.

Customers can pay with any credit card accepted in commissaries. Customer information is not archived by DECA, officials said.

The new online store is located at commissaries.com.

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