February 4, 2023

’23 Brings Pay Hike to Federal Workers

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Morning Coffee logoeconomic community. The opinions expressed here do not reflect opinions of the Leader’s owners or staff.

The new year held an average 4.6% pay hike for the federal workforce, largest pay increase for federal civilian workers since 2002, when the George W. Bush administration provided the same percentage increase, reports GovExec. The raise President Joe Biden signed last week provides a 4.1% across-the-board raise to basic pay, as well as an average 0.5% increase in locality pay.

Also approved this year was the biggest military pay raise in two decades, and the 2024 pay raise could be even higher, reports Military Times. The 2023  military pay raise matches the civilian pay hike at 4.6% starting in January. It’s the largest military hike since 2003. For junior enlisted troops, it means about $1,300 more in 2023 take-home pay; $2,500 more for senior enlisted and junior officers; and more than $4,500 for an O-4 with 12 years of service.

Lockheed Martin halted acceptance of flights and deliveries of new F-35s, reports Defense News, amid an investigation into the cause of an F-35B mishap on a Texas runway last month. The halt reduced the 2022 contractually required delivery of F-35s from 148 to 141. Also in the final days of 2022, DoD finalized a contract with Lockheed for up to $30 billion to deliver up to 398 F-35s for US and international customers over the program’s next three lots.

The Navy is buying two stealth unmanned aerial systems – originally developed for the Air Force – that could operate with a manned fighter, as the service pursues the manned-unmanned teaming concept officials say is central to the future of naval aviation. The service issued a $15.5 million contract to Kratos for the XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aerial system, reports USNI News.

The Navy expects to stand up its first-ever unmanned surface fleet by the end of summer, reports Navy Times. The Navy’s drone arm, Task Force 59, was formed in late 2021 and has been testing and developing multiple types of drone platforms in the Middle Eastern waters of the US 5th Fleet.

The large unmanned undersea vehicle program looks dead in the water, reports Breaking Defense. The FY23 defense spending bill backed the service’s choice to discontinue funding and urged the service “to prioritize advancements in autonomy, endurance, and multi-mission payload capability now available” in private industry.

The Space Force launched an experimental weather satellite this week, to improve its on-orbit weather forecasting capabilities, reports C4ISRNET. The satellite flew on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the company’s Transporter-6 mission, which carried 114 payloads to orbit from government and commercial customers. Built by Orion Space Solutions in Louisville, CO, the satellite will support the Space Force’s Electro-Optical/Infrared Weather Systems program, demonstrating emerging space weather imaging technology.

 

 

The National Science Foundation leads a program to bring minority-serving educational institutions into the artificial intelligence field, reports NextGov. Joining NSF in the ExpandAI program are the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

When lawmakers formally convene the 118th Congress, they’ll do so with 97 veterans representing 36 states, the most members with military experience since 2015, reports Military Times. The new session is set to begin with five more veterans than the last Congress, only the fourth time in the last 50 years there has been any increase at all in the total veterans elected. The start of the 118th session is delayed as the Republicans struggle to elect the leader of the House, the position second in succession to the presidency after the vice president.

The massive $1.7 trillion congressional omnibus spending bill contains billions of dollars of initiatives in Hawaii and the Pacific, as the US seeks to compete with China for influence in the region, according to Stars and Stripes. Funded projects include $87.9M new Marines barracks; $103M upgrade to missile storage facilities; $1B more to address a leaking fuel facility 100 feet above a critical aquifer; $111M for a new company operations facility on Schofield Barracks; and $29M for the planned Army National Guard Readiness Center in Kapolei.

USNI reports the Navy has signed a new Environmental Protection Agency consent order directing the Navy to defuel and close the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility and protect the drinking water around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, according to the EPA document. The consent order does not lay out any new details from the Navy’s proposed plan for defueling Red Hill. Instead, it lays out items, such as inspections and reports, that the Navy will need to deliver.

A federal judge told 3M it may not use “bad faith manipulation” to avoid its responsibility in a slew of cases against the multinational conglomerate for its allegedly defective earplugs, reports Military Times. In a sharply worded order issued December 22, 2022, US District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, the Pensacola, FL-based judge where the nearly 250,000 lawsuits against 3M are being overseen, said the company deserved the “harshest penalty” for its effort to shift liability for hearing damage suffered by veterans to a subsidiary.

Abortion pills can now be offered at retail pharmacies, FDA says. The New York Times reports, Mifepristone, the first of two drugs in medication abortions, previously had to be dispensed only by clinics, doctors, or a few mail-order pharmacies. Now, if local drugstores or chains like CVS agree to certain rules, they can provide it.

The Centers for Disease Control want new ways to determine the effectiveness of seasonal respiratory vaccines (like COVID-19) and think the answer could be found in electronic health record data, reports FCW. The agency issued its FY3 Broad Agency Announcement last week, calling for vendors to provide white papers outlining solutions that address 37 research topics, looking for ways to use real-time data to track how effective the virus strains used in vaccines are.

The USS Cythera, is still missing off North Carolina, 80 years later. The Navy’s Underwater Archaeology Branch would like to see the ship located, reports Stars and Stripes, but the many challenges include figuring out where to start looking. A German U-boat sank the Cythera, on May 2, 1942, plucked two crewmen out of the Atlantic, and took them to a POW camp in Prussia. What became of the ship and 69 other sailors still puzzles historians. “We would be interested in discussing or coordinating with any group planning to search for the wreck,” the archaeology branch told McClatchy News.

Contracts:

Inverness Technologies Inc., Annandale, Virginia, was awarded a $20,876,549 firm-fixed-price contract for support services for the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with an estimated completion date of June 3, 2023. Fiscal 2010 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $11,137,492 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Field Directorate Office, Fort Knox, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W9124D-23-C-0011).

BAE Systems – San Diego Ship Repair, San Diego, California (N00024-18-D-4325); Vigor Marine LLC, Portland, Oregon (N00024-18-D-4326); General Dynamics – National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO), San Diego, California (N00024-18-D-4327); Marine Group Boat Works LLC, Chula Vista, California (N00024-18-D-4328); Pacific Ship Repair and Fabrication Inc., San Diego, California (N00024-18-D-4329); East Coast Repair and Fabrication, Norfolk, Virginia (N00024-18-D-4330); Austal USA LLC, Mobile, Alabama (N00024-21-D-4443); Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., Portsmouth, Virginia (N00024-21-D-4444); and Continental Marine of San Diego LLC, San Diego, California (N00024-21-D-4445), are awarded a combined $389,000,000 in firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modifications to the previously awarded multiple award contract for maintenance, modernization and repair requirements for littoral combat ships homeported in San Diego, California. Work will be performed on the West Coast of the continental U.S. (95%); and outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS) (5%). Of the work performed OCONUS, the country included is Singapore. Work is expected to be completed by October 2023. No funding will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Fleet JV LLC, Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $278,178,452 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract provides contractor support services for life cycle logistics, engineering, technical and production services for various type/model/series aircraft necessary to execute the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers mission in support of the Naval Aviation Enterprise. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida (47.81%); Cherry Point, North Carolina (30.83%); San Diego, California (5.16%); various locations within the continental US (16.15%); and various locations outside the continental US (.05%) and is expected to be completed in January 2026. No funds will be obligated at the time of award; funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal with one offer received. The Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N6852023D0001).

Life Cycle Engineering Inc., Charleston, South Carolina (N00024-18-D-4331); Colonna’s Shipyard West LLC, San Diego, California (N00024-18-D-4332); Continental Tide Defense Systems Inc., Reading, Pennsylvania (N00024-18-D-4335); Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., San Diego, California (N00024-18-D-4336); Southcoast Welding and Manufacturing LLC, Chula Vista, California (N00024-18-D-4337); and Q.E.D. Systems Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (N00024-18-D-4338), are awarded a combined $30,000,000 in firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modifications to the previously awarded multiple award contract for maintenance, modernization and repair requirements for littoral combat ships homeported in San Diego, California. Work will be performed on the West Coast of the continental US (95%) and outside the continental US (OCONUS) (5%). Of the work performed OCONUS, the country included is Singapore. Work is expected to be completed by October 2023. No funding will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

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