April 12, 2024

Army Practices Combat Alongside Robots

robotic dogs

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 US Army is experimenting with human-machine warfare with an overwhelming group of air- and ground-based machine fighters, including a four-legged dog robot, who fought alongside troops in a combat simulation this month at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin CA, reports Army Times. Military Times posted a YouTube video of a portion of the combat simulation.

The Marine Corps’ second in command expects a “big year” for the service’s efforts at using aerial drones and maritime platforms to solve logistical challenges in the Pacific, reports Marine Corps Times. Assistant Commandant GEN Christopher Mahoney on Tuesday listed various logistics and other programs undergoing testing in 2024.

Six people are presumed dead after a 984-foot cargo ship hit a pillar of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning, causing its collapse. CNN reports the collapse has indefinitely halted the flow of ships in and out of Baltimore. Dozens of containers with hazardous materials remain on the ship, but they pose no threat to the public, according to the US Coast Guard.

CNBC reports logistics companies up and down the East Coast began urgent relays with clients Tuesday on the status of their imports and exports after the Port of Baltimore shut down. Containers originally routed to Baltimore will need to be discharged at other Eastern Seaboard ports, impacting the ports of New York/New Jersey, Norfolk, and the Southeast as well as engaging trucking and rail.

A DoD study of 2016-2021 rural hospitals and health facilities closures concluding there was no impact on service members, vets, or their families. But as closures continue the problem has drawn the attention of senior military leadership, who now consider the medical access difficulties in rural areas are impacting readiness, reports Military.com.

The year-old Pentagon policy to pay travel expenses for service members who need reproductive health care not offered by the military was used 12 times from June through December 2023. The cost totaled $44,791 out of the Pentagon’s $800 billion budget covering more than 2 million troops, reports Military.com. It is unclear the number of abortions involved, the most controversial aspect of the policy.

The top executive at embattled plane-maker Boeing, CEO Dave Calhoun, will step down this year amid a broader shakeup of the company’s top leadership, capping a tumultuous five-plus years that has shaken faith in one of America’s most storied manufacturers, reports Defense News. Boeing is the fifth-largest company in the world based on defense revenue, with the Top 100 list noting 46% of its total revenue in 2022 came from defense activities.

After a lengthy dispute with the Pentagon, Boeing has secured a production contract for the US Navy’s final new-build F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. FlightGlobal.com reports the deal covers five single-seat F/A-18E and 12 two-seat F/A-18F fighters. Delivery of the new fighters is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2026, according to the Navy, with the final handover no later than spring 2027.

Six months behind schedule, lawmakers in Washington have agreed to a spending plan for the US military that includes new P-8 maritime patrol jets from Boeing, more Combat Rescue Helicopters from Sikorsky, and over $2 billion for a sixth-generation fighter program, says FlightGlobal.com.

The Air Force is still not flying Osprey aircraft in Japan despite getting the green light on March 14 to lift a flight hold imposed after a deadly Nov. 29 crash off the country’s southern coast, reports Military.com. The Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Okinawa, returned to flight status. The aircraft flown by the Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force was grounded after the November Air Force Osprey crash off the coast of Yakushima Island that left eight airmen dead, the latest of a number of lethal mishaps. NAVAIR and the V-22 Joint Program Office, in early March, announced that they had discovered a new and not fully understood mechanical failure and have implemented a work-around.

A UK court has ruled that Julian Assange should have the chance to appeal an order to extradite him to the US, reports AP News. The High Court in London ruled on Tuesday that the WikiLeaks founder must have the right to challenge the British government’s June 2022 extradition order, unless the United States provides within three weeks assurances that he would receive a fair trial and would not face the death penalty.

After spending more than 20 years fighting in the wars in the Middle East, US special operators are pivoting to other environments. With the potential for a conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific looming ever larger in the background, the US special operations community is focusing more and more on jungle operations, reports Military.com.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday canceled a high-stakes delegation to Washington after the US declined to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Hill reports Netanyahu’s office issued a statement calling the US abstention “a clear departure from the consistent position of the United States at the Security Council since the beginning of the war.”

US defense leaders did meet with Israel’s minister of defense on Tuesday as the US warns against a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, but rising tensions between the two allies put any progress in question, according to Military.com.

Congressional leaders did not include funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program in its final six spending bills, reports Route-Fifty.com. About 23 million low-income households appear to be on the threshold of losing a $30-a-month subsidy for internet service after congressional leaders failed to include funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program in the final six appropriations bills.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has selected Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) as a new Republican to head the China panel after its current leader, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) abruptly announced on Friday his departure from Congress. Johnson had selected him to fill the vacancy atop the House’s Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, reports Defense News.

Ukrainian front-line troops say they are experiencing connection problems with the vital Starlink internet service, owned by Elon Musk and used to run Kyiv’s fleet of attack drones, while also reporting an increase in Russian use of the devices, despite this being prohibited by US sanctions, reports CNN.

The US warning to Russia that “extremists” had “imminent plans” for an attack, such as occurred Friday at a concert hall on Moscow’s edge, were made publicly and privately under a US tenet called the “duty to warn,” which obliges US intelligence officials to share knowledge of a dire threat if conditions allow regardless if targets are allies, adversaries, or in between. The US says it has evidence backing up the Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility, according to AP News.

The Pentagon’s acting policy chief, Sasha Baker, will leave her post this spring opening a new gap in an office struggling to fill its top seats for almost a year. Colin Kahl, who the Senate narrowly confirmed to the position in 2021, left last summer. Since then, Baker has temporarily held the role, as will her replacement Amanda Dory, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. White House nominee for the job in July 2023, Derek Chollet, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in late September, facing difficult questions about his role in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The committee has not voted on his nomination.

Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Elijah Riddle, 30, died on March 16 after being found unresponsive in the berthing area of the destroyer Halsey while the ship was underway in the Indian Ocean, according to US 7th Fleet, reports Military Times. The Navy has not provided the cause of Riddle’s death, but 7th Fleet said that “a Special Psychiatric Rapid Intervention Team (SPRINT) has been deployed to the ship and grief and counseling services are being provided to our Sailors.” Riddle is at least the second sailor to die aboard a deployed Navy warship in recent weeks.

Commander of the maintenance group at Holloman Air Force Base, NM, COL Danzel Albertsen, was relieved of command by the 49th Wing commander “to ensure proper command climate and appropriate leadership of our Airmen,” according to a Holloman news release quoted in local media, reports Task & Purpose. Albertsen had been in charge of the 49th Maintenance Group since June 2022. He was relieved by COL Justin Spears, commander of the 49th Wing, on March 25.

Military.com wants to know, what’s one thing you wish civilians understood about military life? Submit your answer here.

Contracts:

Technology Security Associates, California, Maryland, is awarded a $13,661,338 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide program management, financial, engineering, logistics, administrative, security, and technical support services for the AV-8B Harrier Weapons System for the governments of Spain and Italy in support of the T/AV-8B Harrier Joint Program Office. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland (30%); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (30%); Cherry Point, North Carolina (30%); and California, Maryland (10%), and is expected to be completed in April 2029. International Agreement (non-Foreign Military Sales) funds in the amount of $13,661,338 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-4(a)(2). Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N0001924C0039).

InDyne, Inc., Lexington Park, Maryland, has been awarded a contract modification (P00044) valued at $84,219,627 to previously awarded contract FA2518-22-C0001, for Solid State Phased Array Radar Systems and Long‐Range Discrimination Radar support. The modification exercises Option Year 6 of the contract, bringing the total face value of the contract to $386,499,707. Work will be performed at various locations continental U.S. and outside the continental US and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2025. Fiscal 2024 operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $84,219,627 are being obligated at the time of award. The contracting activity is the Space Force Space Acquisition and Integration Office, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

Calibre Systems Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $15,262,905 firm-fixed-price contract to support annual programming and budget development and update information used for ad hoc cost analyses. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 29, 2029. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W91CRB-24-D-0018).

Wyle Services LLC, Fulton, Maryland, has been awarded a cost plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P0007) of $9,581,225 to previously awarded contract (FA8650-21-C-6277) to finalize research in operation vision, aerospace physiology, and cognitive neurology. Performance will take place at the contractor’s facility. The work is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2026. Fiscal 2023 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be obligated in the amount of $4,232,544 at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $21,159,609. The contracting activity is the Air Force Research Laboratory Wright Research Site, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Federal Prison Industries, doing business as UNICOR, Washington, DC, has been awarded a maximum $16,513,875 modification (P00002) exercising the first one‐year option period of a one‐year base contract (SPE1C1‐23‐D‐0017) with three one‐year option periods for extreme cold/wet weather jackets. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Kentucky, with a March 27, 2025, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2024 through 2025 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

LexisNexis Special Services Inc., Washington, DC, has been awarded a $10,213,019 firm-fixed-price task order (HS0021-24-F-0006) issued against General Services Administration multiple award schedule contract GS-00F-178DA, for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition in which one offer was received. This task order provides DCSA’s adjudication and vetting services with extensive public record information and the LexisNexis ProMonitor Alert Service subscription. No on-site work is required, and the estimated completion date is March 27, 2026 (inclusive of options). Fiscal 2024 DCSA defense working capital funds in the amount of $9,860,712 were obligated at the time of award. This is not a multiyear contract. DCSA Contracting and Procurement Office, Quantico, Virginia is the contracting activity.

Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0002); A.T. Kearney Public Sector and Defense Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0003); Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0004); Boston Consulting Group Federal Corp., Washington, D.C. (SP4704-24-A-0005); Definitive Logic Corp., Arlington, Virginia (SP4704-23-A-0006); Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0007); Ernst & Young LLP, New York, New York (SP4704-24-A-0008); Guidehouse Inc., McLean, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0009); KPMG LLP, McLean, Virginia (SP4704-24-A-0010); and McKinsey & Co. Inc., Washington, DC (SP4704-24-A-0011), are sharing an estimated $92,546,955 firm-fixed-price blanket purchase agreement under solicitation SP4704-23-Q-0721 for strategic transformation and enterprise project support services. This was a competitive acquisition with 14 responses received. These are five‐year contracts with no option periods. Location of performance is Virginia, with a March 31, 2029, performance completion date. Using customer is Defense Logistics Agency. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2024 through 2029 defense working capital funds and various other funding. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Contracting Services Office, Richmond, Virginia.

General Dynamics NASSCO–Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, was awarded a $311,193,234 firm-fixed-price contract action for maintenance, modernization, and repair of the USS Bataan (LHD 5) fiscal 2024 docking selected restricted availability. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $343,695,311. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by May 2026. Fiscal 2024 other procurement, Navy funds in the amount of $236,493,070 (76%); and fiscal 2024 operations and maintenance, Navy funds in the amount of $74,700,164 (24%), will be obligated at the time of award, with $74,700,164 expiring at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using full and open competition via the System for Award website, with two offers received. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N0002424C4418). (Awarded March 21, 2024).

National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington, DC, is awarded a $35,000,000 firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering (A-E) contract for A-E services in support of Department of Defense criteria management of the Whole Building Design Guide throughout the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic area of operations (AO). Work will be performed in the NAVFAC Atlantic AO, but may also include work worldwide, and is expected to be completed by March 2029. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and four option years, is $35,000,000. Fiscal 2024 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,000 will be obligated at time of award for the minimum guarantee and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a sole source procurement under Federal Acquisition Regulations 6.302-5, authorized or required by statute. NAVFAC Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-24-D-0015).

HII Fleet Support Group LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia, was awarded a $12,100,646 cost-plus-fixed-fee award contract (N62793-24-F-1001) providing engineering services, planning USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) refueling complex overhaul (RCOH), maintenance and operator training, technical and repair support to ships force during the RCOH for the maintenance, operation, repair, training and testing of the following equipment in accordance with Section C of the basic contract: aircraft elevators, weapons elevators, deck edge doors, hangar bay divisional doors and vertical package conveyors and associated handling equipment/systems. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by December 2024. Fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $12,100,646 was obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, US Navy, Newport News, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded March 21, 2024)

Petromax Refining Co., Houston, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0467, $553,956,872); Phillips 66 Co., Houston, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0468, $537,204,487); Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0471, $313,265,241); Placid Refining Co. LLC, Port Allen, Louisiana (SPE602-24-D-0469, $246,912,575); Sunoco LLC, Dallas, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0470, $204,164,226); Lazarus Energy Holdings LLC, Houston, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0465, $172,523,466); Carbon Asset Developer Associates LLC, Alamo, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0461, $157,151,823); VetJet Fuels LLC, Dallas, Texas(SPE602-24-D-0472, $157,083,553); Husky Marketing & Supply Co., Dublin, Ohio, (SPE602-24-D-0464, $130,790,931); Alon USA LP, Brentwood, Tennessee (SPE602-24-D-0459, $105,685,589); Calumet Shreveport Fuels LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana (SPE602-24-D-0462, $94,363,454); Marathon Petroleum Co. LP, Findlay, Ohio, (SPE602-24-D-0466, $70,007,192); Hermes Consolidated LLC, doing business as Wyoming Refining Co., Rapid City, South Dakota (SPE602-24-D-0473, $35,536,088); Epic Aviation LLC, Salem, Oregon (SPE602-24-D-0463, $26,120,009); and Associated Energy Group, Houston, Texas (SPE602-24-D-0460, $10,185,517), have each been awarded a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract under solicitation SPE602-23-R-0708 for various types of fuel. This was a competitive acquisition with 29 offers received. These are one-year contracts with 30-day carryovers. Locations of performance are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming, with an April 30, 2025, performance completion date. Using customer is Defense Logistics Agency. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2024 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Awarded 26 March 2024)

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