The Pentagon's continuing efforts to cut costs associated with military spending have put many different possible sources of revenue in the spotlight. From cost of living adjustments to base closings, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is looking at any and all ways to recoup money from the Armed Forces' budget.

According to Stars and Stripes, commissaries are the latest focus of the Pentagon's efforts to tighten the military's purse strings. Despite earlier promises that the base outlets would remain safe from cuts and closures, Pentagon officials are now discussing eliminating and drawing back on commissaries at bases across the country.

Cutting down on commissaries
When the Pentagon submitted its 2015 fiscal year budget in early March, critics pored over its contents to find what branches of the military would be hit the hardest. Now, it appears that the current $1.4 million earmarked for subsidies to commissaries that are used to keep costs low for servicemembers would be decreased over a three-year period to only $400 million. Due to the loss of the subsidies, the current 30 percent level of savings enjoyed by military personnel would decrease to around 10 percent.

These cuts would not affect commissaries located at foreign bases, as Pentagon officials believe the cost of living for those soldiers is high enough to warrant the lower prices. 

"We are not shutting down any commissaries. We recommend gradually phasing out some subsidies but only for domestic commissaries that are not in remote locations," Hagel told a group of senators in early March, as quoted by Stars and Stripes.

Hagel may have spoken too soon, however, as Frederick Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, told members of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel that closing commissaries is not out of the question just yet.

"It's a possibility [but] I don't know what the probability is," Vollrath told the committee Mar. 26.

Additional cuts to health care
The budget cuts and possible closures of commissaries at bases across the country are not the only changes servicemembers may have to stomach, as The Washington Post reported that the new budget would also increase fees associated with the military's Tricare health care coverage program.

Hagel said that the benefits and coverage of the Tricare program would not be affected, but that the enrollment and maintenance fees would be increased to cover gaps in the budget.