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Department of Defense Food Procurement: Background and Status

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Publication Date: August 2008

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22190

Topic: Military and defense (Military spending)


Military food items, known also as subsistence items, are procured under the general auspices of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), an agency of the Department of Defense (DOD) which provides worldwide logistics support for the United States (U.S.) military services. In FY2004, DLA had sales of $3.7 billion for food services, operational rations, and fresh produce. In an effort to reduce costs, adopt commercial practices, and gain technological advantages, the DOD Food Policy Council directed the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) to establish a common food management system. Under DLA, DSCP is the inventory control point for food, clothing, textiles, medicines, medical equipment, general and industrial supplies and services for the military, their eligible dependents, and other non-DOD customers worldwide; under DSCP, the Subsistence Directorate serves as the operational manager for all food operations. This report will describe the origin, authority, policy, and military food acquisition process. This report will be updated as necessary.