I have no doubt that your reporting on Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens vision regarding inclusion of the military commissary at Dobbins Air Reserve Base is accurate. However, the description of what a commissary is and how it is funded was in error.
Most importantly, the commissaries are certainly NOT subsidized by the federal government and have not been for more than 35 years. All military commissaries at every base in every country are 100 percent operated without any congressionally authorized or appropriated taxpayer funds.
Commissaries are open to all active duty and retired military members and their "immediate families" only; Reserve members when on active duty only; and selected National Guard members when holding positions similar to active duty assignments.
Commissaries do not charge "taxes" as we know them (like sales tax) but they charge each member a fee. That fee is what runs the commissary services.
Note that commissaries accept Food Stamps and have for some time relevant to the fact that many active-duty members qualify for food stamps due to their low pay. And they still go to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The military commissary system is operated by the Department of Defense as an agency separate from Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marines. The new Dobbins commissary proposal began planning stages after BRAC 05 selected Forts Gillem and McPherson to close in order to support the large military retired community in the Atlanta area.
Even though not supported by federal funding, congressional oversight committees review annual plans and lend approvals to construction programs. The siting and dimensions of the commissary will be determined by the commissary service in coordination with the Dobbins ARB base engineer and wing commander.
Because the Dobbins Exchange is not a modern facility and it is not sized for the inclusion of Gillem and McPherson military communities, and since modern shopping center master planning suggests savings through consolidated parking and utilities, the new commissary and potentially new exchange will most probably be located in a common central location on the base. Since the museums are open to the public and the commissary and exchange are restricted - and also for security reasons - their location in conjunction with the museums is inadvisable, less secure and most likely unattainable.
The city, county, and Marietta Museum of History/Aviation Museum are just too far behind the power curve in planning and way behind the upfront funding need.
Col. Jack Gillis