DoD, Coast Guard civilians can shop in store

at Fort Drum Exchange beginning May 1


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 29, 2021)After a change in Department of Defense policy, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is opening its doors to DoD and Coast Guard civilian employees at Fort Drum, starting May 1. The DoD announced the policy change April 29.  Access to will start later this year.

Opening exchange access to DoD and Coast Guard civilian employees working on installations will improve dividends to quality-of-life programs, leverage the military exchanges’ buying power and strengthen the Exchange benefit for Soldiers, airmen and Guardians — past, present and future.

“Shopping the Exchange brings convenience to civilians working on installations,” said Tom Shull, Exchange director / CEO. “They can stop by the Exchange for essentials on breaks or to and from work instead of shopping outside of the gate — and 100 percent of Exchange earnings go right back to the military community.”

Tax-free shopping is authorized for active DoD and Coast Guard Appropriated Fund and Nonappropriated Fund civilian employees in the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions. Retired DoD and Coast Guard civilian employees will have access to online Exchange shopping later this year. Roughly 575,000 civilian stateside employees will gain the benefit.  

“Exchange stores have the capacity and merchandise quantities to handle the expanded shopping base,” Shull said. “The Exchange is honored to welcome civilians while strengthening the hard-earned benefit for Soldiers, airmen and Guardians.”

The Exchange, the DoD’s largest retailer and the 61st largest retailer in the United States, has served warfighters since 1895. The Exchange offers tax-free shopping and military-exclusive pricing. Exchange earnings support Soldiers, airmen, Guardians and their families.  

Roughly 60 percent of earnings support quality-of-life programs on military installations worldwide. In the last 10 years, the Exchange has contributed $2.2 billion to Child, Youth and School Services; Armed Forces Recreation Centers; and other programs to support troops and their families. All remaining earnings are reinvested in enhancing the customer shopping experience.

The privilege expansion marks the third time since 2017 that the Exchange’s shopping base has grown. In January 2020, all veterans with service-connected disabilities were welcomed back to the installation to shop in person. On Veterans Day 2017, all honorably discharged veterans were welcomed home to shop tax free at


(Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs)