December 7, 2023

Are Carriers Too Costly? F-35s Too Vulnerable?

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.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) questions the need for aircraft carriers considering their $12 billion price tags, USNI News reports, and warns that advances in competitors’ air defense systems make the F-35 more vulnerable than originally expected. One way around that new threat is to invest in “smaller, more survivable platforms, unmanned,” he said.

In leaving Afghanistan, the US is reshuffling its global power relations, says The Wall Street Journal. After Afghanistan’s US-backed government collapsed on Aug. 15, Beijing couldn’t contain its glee at what it described as the humiliation of its main global rival. Yet Washington has said a big reason for its withdrawal is to focus more resources on China.

Calls and texts to the Veterans Crisis Line have increased significantly amid the end of US operations in Afghanistan, reports Military Times. Calls to the crisis line jumped about 7% over the last three weeks compared to August 2020;  online chats with crisis line staff are up almost 40%; and texts to the emergency service are up about 98%. Veterans Affairs officials say that’s good news.

Having humbled the world’s most powerful military, the victorious Taliban focus on governing after US withdrawal, reports AP News. Taliban now face the challenge of governing a nation of 38 million people that relies heavily on international aid, and imposing some form of Islamic rule on a population that is far more educated and cosmopolitan than it was when the group last governed Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

In his last call prior to Taliban seizing control of the country, Biden pressed his Afghanistan counterpart Ashraf Ghani to “change perception,” reports Reuters. The leaders discussed military aid, political strategy, and messaging tactics, but a transcript indicates neither  appeared aware of or prepared for the immediate danger of the entire country falling to insurgents.

US military says troops disabled 170 vehicles, aircraft, and weapons systems before abandoning them at Kabul airport, reports Stars and Stripes. About 70 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, 27 Humvees, and 73 aircraft were “demilitarized” by the US at Hamid Karzai International Airport before they left Kabul for the last time, said Marine GEN Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command.

More Fat Leonard fallout: Retired CWO Robert Gorsuch, 54, of Mississippi admits taking $45K in bribes and pleads guilty in Feds’ investigation. USNI reports. Gorsuch could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced, although under the plea agreement he’s agreed to pay an undetermined amount in restitution.

New Orleans is under an 8 pm until 6 am curfew amid the blackout left in the wake of Hurricane Ida, as large parts of Louisiana and Mississippi remain without power, reports BBC. Police said there had been “several” incidents of looting in the city. Energy companies are working to restore power but residents are being warned it could take weeks in some areas.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen says 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, hitting an end-of-summer target the bloc set for itself in January, reports

CDC asks the unvaccinated not to travel this Labor Day weekend and says even vaccinated need to weigh the risk, reports CNN Health. The US is surpassing an average of 160,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant and many students returning to the classroom for a new academic year, the rise is concerning officials and health experts.

The Pentagon denies it left military dogs behind in Afghanistan, reports, or that it had abandoned dogs in cages. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a tweet that US troops did not leave dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport when its last flights took off Monday afternoon, East Coast time.

President Joe Biden defends the Afghanistan exit, saying, “We’ve been a nation too long at war,” reports Military Times. “The real choice was between leaving or escalating, and I was not going to extend this forever war,” Biden said in his fifth national address on Afghanistan in the last 10 days.

A MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter embarked on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln crashed into the Pacific Ocean Tuesday afternoon, reports Navy Times. As of roughly 10 pm Pacific Standard Time, the San Diego-based US 3rd Fleet posted on its Facebook page that one crew member had been rescued while rescue efforts continued for five other crew members

A Navy TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter crashed on Aug. 19 in Florida, injuring the instructor pilot and student aviator, reports Military Times. Both “are currently stable and still receiving care.”

The Space Force would get its own contingent of part-time troops under a measure from Colorado US Reps. Jason Crow and Doug Lamborn to create a Space National Guard, reports Stars and Stripes, by moving satellite troops now working in Army or Air Force National Guard billets to under the Space Force.


Hourigan Construction Corp., Virginia Beach, Virginia, is awarded a firm-fixed-price task order (N4008521F6280) at $25,576,452 under a multiple award construction contract for design-bid-build of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Training Facility, Naval Station Norfolk. The task order also contains one unexercised option and two planned modifications which, if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $27,910,697. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by June 2023. This project constructs an operation training building for the Airborne Command Control Logistics Weapons School and fleet E-2D Advanced Hawkeye squadrons. The building will include two E-2D high-bay weapon system trainers and two E-2D distributed readiness trainers, instructor areas, brief/debrief rooms, and support spaces. Building must be constructed to the information security requirements. Building construction will include a pile foundation, exterior doors adequate to allow installation and maintenance of high-bay trainers. The building will also include classified and non-secured internet routing networks, and electronic security systems. Fiscal 2021 military construction (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $25,576,452 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N40085-19-D-9068).

Service Source Inc., Oakton, Virginia, was awarded an $8,588,362 firm-fixed-price contract to provide dining facility attendants. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022. US Army 418th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Carson, Colorado, is the contracting activity (W911RZ-21-D-0001).

Midnight Sun-Centennial Kirratchiaq JV LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded a $19,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for providing Simplified Acquisition of Base Civil Engineer Requirements (SABER) support for Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE), Virginia. This contract provides all labor, tools, equipment, transportation, materials, supervision, and all other necessary supplies and services required to perform a broad range of design, minor and new construction, facility repair, and maintenance on real property for JBLE. Work will be performed at JBLE, Virginia; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Sandston, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2026. This single-award contract is the result of a competitive Section 8(a) set-aside for small business in which nine offers were received. Fiscal years 2021 through 2025 3400 operations and maintenance funds will be used to fund individual task orders awarded under this contract. No funds will be obligated at time of this base year award. The 633rd Contracting Squadron, JBLE, Virginia, is the contracting activity (FA480021D0008).

Innovative Technology Solutions JV LLC, Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded a $14,066,179 firm-fixed-price task order for Technical Advisory and Professional Services (TAPS). This contract provides for program management support, technical support, analytical support, administrative support, acquisition support and operational support to the Mission Partner Capabilities Office (MPCO). The location of performance is Fairfax, Virginia, and work is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2022. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, one solicitation mailed and six offers were received. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $13,926,179 will be obligated at time of award. Secretary of the Air Force Concepts, Development and Management Office, Fairfax, Virginia, is the contracting activity (FA7146-21-F-B006).

The Systems Engineering Group Inc., Columbia, Maryland, is being awarded a noncompetitive cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The total value of this contract is $26,543,396. Under this new contract, the contractor will provide threat systems engineering with specialized products suitable to meet specific fidelity, runtime, and memory requirements that include: computer aided design (CAD); high fidelity (six degrees-of-freedom) kinematic models, specifications, and trajectory data; three-dimensional scattering center radio frequency models, specifications, and signature data; debris simulation models, specifications, and debris/signature data. The work will be performed in Columbia, Maryland; and Huntsville, Alabama. The period of performance is from Sept. 1, 2021, to Aug. 31, 2026. One offer was solicited and one offer was received. Fiscal 2021 research and development funds in the amount of $565,465.60 are being obligated on this award. The Missile Defense Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (HQ0854-21-C-0002).

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