January 27, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

2nd DefSec Waiver Faces Struggle

Waiver DefSec

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Lawmakers heard from two experts this week warning another waiver to a recently retired general to serve as defense secretary weakens American norms, reports Military.com. Several Democratic senators say they will vote against granting a waiver for GEN Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden’s DefSec nominee.

Even acting as private citizens, active-duty military members face DoD restrictions and military justice for participation in partisan political activities. As private citizens, active-duty military personnel can vote; join a political party or club; or donate to political organizations, reports Military.com. But they can’t fund-raise, solicit votes, or take part in a variety of other activities of a politically partisan nature. DoD Directive 1344.10 breaks it down. The military determines whether violations are tried by a military or civilian court.

National Guard troops securing the Capitol for Inauguration Day will be armed, reports The New York Times. Up to 15,000 troops will be deployed. Troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and Virginia and the DC Guard troops they have joined are receiving nods and thumbs-up from passersby, reports Military Times.

The Army is determining which National Guard troops deploying to the inauguration require additional security checks “to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.” Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) requested the review because of “grave concerns about reports that active-duty and reserve military members were involved in the insurrection” at the Capitol, reports Army Times.

Military Times reports DoD’s top uniformed officials tell service members to “embody the values and ideals of the Nation” in a force-wide memo stating “any attempt to prevent a peaceful transition of power will have consequences” and explaining the legal process that has occurred and which will result in President-elect Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.

The FBI has so far opened nearly 160 cases into involvements in last week’s siege at the US Capitol, reports Military.com. Some of the felonies the Justice Department is considering have prison terms of up to 20 years.

One of the men arrested after last week’s violent attack on the US Capitol was kicked out of the Navy two years into his enlistment for refusing to take a required vaccine, reports Military.com.

 

 

Twice in the past four years, the national security community warned that hacks through IT suppliers posed grave threats to defense and intelligence agencies. Last month, those warnings proved prescient after suspected Russian hackers infiltrated federal agencies through a contractor’s software, reports C4ISRnet.

Defense contractors BAE Systems and Raytheon have joined Northrop Grumman, Leidos, and a growing number of companies announcing a pause on political donations to members of Congress following violent riots at the US Capitol last week, reports The Hill.

A proposal to give military exchange shopping privileges to more than a half million Department of Defense civilians has been dropped, according to defense officials. No reason has been given, reports Military Times.

COVID-19 is now killing faster than at any point in 2020, reports CNN. The US reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday with more than 4,320 fatalities attributed to the virus. It is the second time this month — and since the pandemic’s start — that the US reported more than 4,000 COVID deaths in a single day. Over the past week, the US has averaged more than 3,300 deaths every day, a jump of more than 217% from mid-November.

Federal officials will require all international travelers flying to the US to show proof they have tested negative for the coronavirus, effective Jan. 26, reports The Washington Post. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials announced the requirement Tuesday.

As Japan expands a state of emergency to three more of its largest cities, the US military in Japan reported 66 new coronavirus infections as of Tuesday, reports Stars and Stripes. Yokosuka Naval Base, 35 miles south of Tokyo, said 41 people had tested positive for the coronavirus since Friday, according to a Facebook post. The naval base is monitoring 127 individuals with the virus.

The descendants of WWII’s first Medal of Honor recipient, 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Nininger, are requesting the federal government remove the soldier’s name from all public buildings and installations, a move protesting more than 70 years of failed attempts to bring his remains home from the Philippines, reports Stars and Stripes.

And for the person who has everything, the Cargo Sock is here, or actually, it’s not. But Military Times reports that the ruse of a sock able to replace pockets and a backpack might be a winner. Especially if it keeps its special flip-flop conversion feature.

A small, 2-year-old nonprofit think tank has taken a step that most advocacy organizations never dare try: It has sued the US State Department to derail a $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, reports Defense News.

The Army will review thousands of discharge records of veterans affected by military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other behavioral health conditions following a class-action lawsuit, reports Stars and Stripes.

Contracts:

International Business Machines Corp., Bethesda, Maryland, was awarded a $17,758,596 modification (P00094) to contract W52P1J-17-C-0008 for services and solutions to support and maintain the General Fund Enterprise Business System Financial System Army-wide. Work will be performed in Bethesda, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 15, 2022. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Army) funds; and 2020 and 2021 research, development, test and evaluation (Army) funds in the amount of $17,758,596 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

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