April 12, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

737 MAX Returning to Service

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.

Boeing intends to deliver most of the stored backlog of the 737 MAXs by 2023. Aviation Week reports deliveries resumed Dec. 8, 2020, after a 22-month hiatus linked to the model’s global grounding. In February, 130 737 MAXs recorded at least one flight, many non-revenue flights as part of return-to-service activities.

In a letter to DefSec Lloyd Austin, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) urges the Pentagon to pick up the pace of removing Turkey from the supply chain of the F-35 fighter after the US kicked the NATO ally out of the program over its purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia.

The Pentagon was ready for an extended Suez Canal blockage, reports USNI News. Passage through the Suez is routine for East Coast carrier strike groups entering US 5th Fleet and CENTCOM. DoD officials would not discuss details on how container ship Ever Given’s canal blockage impacted US operations in the region.

A shortage of military working dogs has become a national security risk, reports Fox News. “Although working dogs are not an official part of the current defense industrial base, the low domestic production capacity of working dogs threatens some of the government’s capabilities to provide national security,” researchers wrote in the report out of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. “Of the dogs within the current workforce, approximately 90% were bred overseas.”

New COVID-19 cases surge 12% in the past week as a fourth wave of infections looms, reports The Hill. The latest seven-day average of new cases ballooned to 63,000 for the first time in weeks, according to data compiled by The Washington Post, driven mainly by spiking rates in states like Michigan, Vermont, and North Dakota.

Richard Torres-Estrada, the new chief of diversity and inclusion for Special Operations Command, is under investigation for controversial social media posts, including one that compared former President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, reports Military.com.

An online sting revealed clues to missing ammunition and explosives from a California Marine base, reports Marine.com. At least five Marines with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, stationed on Camp Pendleton, CA, allegedly stole thousands of rounds of ammo and some explosives. One of the Marines attempted to sell online and was caught in a sting by federal agents. Marine Sgt. Gunnar Naughton, 28, with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, had an Article 32 hearing on March 19 in connection to the missing ammunition, the Marine Corps confirmed.

VA reform plans are at risk with White House slow to fill top leadership posts, reports Military Times. More than two months since he took office, President Joe Biden still hasn’t named nominees for most of the VA leadership posts or given a timeline for when those appointments might occur. VA Secretary Denis McDonough insists the delay does not jeopardize planned reforms and improvements.

The Australia-based Austal has broken ground on a steel production line in Mobile, AL, to position it for future competitions, as the Navy winds down its aluminum-hulled shipbuilding programs and plans on larger numbers of smaller ships, reports Defense News. The company makes the Navy’s expeditionary fast transport and the Independence-class littoral combat ship.

 

Lawmakers again ramp up efforts to bring benefits for National Guard troops in line with their active-duty peers, reports Military Times.

Industry experts’ concern about the SolarWinds cybersecurity breaches continue to escalate as new details come to light, according to an (ISC)2 survey of 303 cybersecurity professionals. SolarWinds reported to SEC that up to 18,000 customers installed updates compromised with malicious code. Just how many were affected is still unknown.

The nonprofit National Cybersecurity Center kicked off a new initiative to offer training sessions on cyber hygiene and IT security to elected officials in state governments and their staff members, reports StateScoop. The training series is backed in part by Google, which recently expanded its election-security products — such as physical multi-factor authentication keys — to state and local election administrators, after offering them to campaigns and candidates last year.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) says social media habits hold clues to extremists in the military, reports The Hill. “I have seen over the last probably two decades this growing radicalization of a portion within the military. And I think part of it, too, comes with social media consumption,” the retired Army lieutenant colonel said at The Hill’s Future of Defense Summit.

The approaching Aug. 1 sun-setting of a “rounding-out” GI Bill rule could cost veterans thousands of dollars a semester, reports Military.com. Currently, a GI Bill student can round out a college schedule with non-required classes to bring their course load to a full-term schedule once per program. This allows students to continue to receive full-time benefits, such as a larger housing allowance. Congress is poised to act if the agency doesn’t reverse course before a critical deadline this summer.

Trials begin in Florida for veterans in massive lawsuit over 3M’s military-issued earplugs, reports Stars and Stripes. The lawsuit involves more than 229,000 veterans with hearing problems that they claim are linked to faulty earplugs issued by the military. The multi-district litigation claims the companies that made the earplugs — 3M and its predecessor Aearo — knew from testing coordinated with the military that they did not fit properly into an ear canal and could loosen in a way that was imperceptible to the wearer.

A third commander in 11 months is taking charge of the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base, UT, reports Military.com. LT COL Aaron Rivers, the group’s deputy commander, is replacing COL Chris Boring, who was fired March 4 amid an Office of Special Investigations inquiry.

DOD and HHS remain mum on how many migrant children they will house on military bases, reports Washington Examiner. As migrants have surged across the border in the opening months of the Biden administration, Customs and Border Protection temporary facilities have become overwhelmed, and migrant children are being transferred to alternate facilities.

Unaccompanied children arriving at the US-Mexico border could be housed at two bases in Texas, Military Times reported last week. Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss have been tapped to accommodate them.

A Fort Hood brigade commander is under investigation after allegations of toxic leadership and violating coronavirus quarantine rules, even as hundreds of his troops contracted the illness soon after his unit’s arrival in Germany for a nine-month mission. COL Michael Schoenfeldt led the 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, until he departed Germany for Texas in February because of unspecified health reasons, reports Stars and Stripes. Officials for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command offered few examples to Congress earlier this month regarding improvements to their operations more than three months after a report focused on Fort Hood found CID  understaffed, under-resourced, and unable to pursue some cases properly.

Contracts:

Smartronix Inc., Hollywood, Maryland, is awarded a $24,941,306 cost-plus-fixed-fee order (N0042119F0422) against a previously issued a General Services Administration Alliant 2, government-wide acquisition contract (47QTCK18D0007). This order exercises an option that provides enterprise-wide information technology and cyber security (IT/CS) services to the Naval Air Warfare Center, Naval Air Systems Command, its respective customers, and other Department of the Navy components with the people, processes, facilities, technologies, skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to support the development, planning, execution, monitoring, and life cycle support of IT/CS programs and associated activities. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and is expected to be completed in March 2022. Fiscal 2021 working capital (Navy) funds in the amount of $8,232,893 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $71,141,017 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification to previously awarded contract N00024-17-C-6259 to exercise options for Navy equipment, long-lead material, and spares. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia (65%); Clearwater, Florida (32%); Syracuse, New York (2%); and Marion, Florida (1%), and is expected to be completed by July 2026. Fiscal 2021 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $38,656,699 (54%); and fiscal 2021 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $32,484,318 (46%) will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Agile Defense Inc., Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a $15,825,698 modification (P00059) to previously awarded task order HR0011-15-F-0002 for unclassified information technology services. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the task order from $211,027,983 to $226,853,681. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an expected completion date of July 2021. Fiscal 2021 research and development funds in the amount of $7,324,021 are being obligated at time of award. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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