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Navy suspends spending on command coins

May. 20, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Navy won't pay for coins
The Navy has cut spending on command challenge coins. (Alan Lessig/Staff)
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First, massive budget cuts waylaid fleet weeks, Blue Angels shows and 4th Fleet deployments.

First, massive budget cuts waylaid fleet weeks, Blue Angels shows and 4th Fleet deployments.

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First, massive budget cuts waylaid fleet weeks, Blue Angels shows and 4th Fleet deployments.

Now, as the brass scours for ways large and small to make up for a $10 billion shortfall, the cuts have hit a seemingly trifling expense: command coins.

The Navy’s No. 2 officer ordered all commanders May 16 to cease buying the coins with appropriated money.

And it’s not just “challenge coins,” ceremonial tokens slapped on bar tops to determine who buys the next round — the order extends to ball caps, plaques and any other items that are presented to sailors or guests.

“In the current fiscal environment, we have significantly reduced our rate of expenditure of appropriated funds to preserve mission essential operations,” Adm. Mark Ferguson, the vice chief of naval operations, said in the May 16 message suspending this spending. Coins and souvenirs already bought can be handed out, the message says.

Officers can still seek approval to buy these items with official representation money, used to host receptions and present gifts. Or they can pay out of their own pocket.

Coins and presentation items are purchased at a command level, said a Navy spokeswoman, who was not able to estimate how much this will save.

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