July 2, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Big Boost Proposed for DIU Budget

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 lawmakers eye a 70% funding boost for the Pentagon’s commercial innovation hub, reports C4ISRNET. House lawmakers proposed a surge in funding for the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit following the unexpected resignation of its leader, Mike Brown, reportedly over concerns about a lack of support for the office’s mission to transition commercial technology for military use. The House Armed Services Committee on Monday released its version of the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill, which recommends $113.4 million for DIU. That’s about $46 million more than what the Defense Department requested.

Miami police want to buy Floridians’ guns — and send them to Ukraine, reports The Washington Post [paywall]. Miami police are seeking to get weapons off the streets — and into the hands of Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russia. That was the stated goal of the “Guns 4 Ukraine” buyback program that the city’s police department held Saturday. Police were offering $50 for handguns, $100 for shotguns, and $150 for “high-powered” rifles such as AK-47s or AR-15s. People lined up in cars and on motorcycles outside Miami City Hall, where law enforcement officers waited to collect and inspect their firearms. “No questions asked!” the Miami Police Department posted on Twitter.

Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD, is trying out an AI-based gun detection system designed to stop active shooters before they can hurt anyone, reports Task & Purpose. The Drone-Robot Enabled Active Shooter Deterrence, made by ZeroEyes and operated with the robotics security firm Asylon, expands the capacity of the base’s existing security cameras, including identifying the presences of guns; releasing robot dogs and drones to intercept or disorient the shooter with non-lethal strobes and high-pitched sirens until first responders can arrive; and providing real time intelligence of the threat. A ZeroEyes press release includes a video of how the system works as operated by Asylon robotic security operators, who appear to work from their own operations center.

US President Joe Biden is considering scrapping tariffs on a range of Chinese goods to curb inflation, but no decision is likely before next week’s Group of Seven summit, reports Reuters.

The Kremlin press secretary says Geneva Conventions would not apply to two Americans feared captured in Ukraine, reports Defense News. Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Monday the Americans were considered “soldiers of fortune” who were not enlisted in the Ukrainian army — which means, he said, that Russia does not believe they are protected under the Geneva Conventions, a series of agreements on, among other things, international standards for the treatment of people captured during war. Peskov’s comments come days after Russian media released video, picked up here by CBS, appearing to show the two men, 39-year-old Alexander Drueke and 27-year-old Andy Huynh.

There have been in recent weeks sightings of various efforts to boost the number of contract soldiers in the Russian military, reports Task & Purpose. Russia’s military consists of a mix of national conscripts and contract soldiers, and per law, only contractors can be sent out to fight in wars. Job listings appear on the Russian military’s website as well as other websites around Russia and recruiters have gone door to door.

Men, morale, munitions: Russia’s Ukraine war faces a long slog, reports Military Times. As Russia’s initially botched and broad offensive turns its focus to the eastern Donbas region, the war has entered a new and seemingly more enduring phase. While Russia has kept quiet about its war casualties, Ukrainian authorities say up to 200 of their soldiers are dying each day. Experts say both sides are taking heavy losses. The United States last week upped the ante with its largest pledge of aid for Ukrainian forces yet — an additional $1 billion in military assistance aimed to help repel or reverse Russian advances. Experts note that such aid deliveries haven’t kept pace with needs, raising questions about how sustainable the war effort will be — and how defense industries on both sides can continue to feed it.

 

 

Yesterday, June 21, the summer solstice marked the longest day of 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere, reports Space.com. The sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky at the summer solstice, delivering the maximum daylight hours of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and minimum daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. This and more reported in Space.com’s Night Sky calendar, overseen by Chris Vaughan, amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software.

Automakers are making a furious last-ditch effort to convince Congress to approve an extension of electric vehicle incentives before Republicans, who are largely opposed to doling out EV subsidies, could potentially take over both houses of Congress next year, reports Reuters. Without those incentives, particularly an extension of a $7,500 EV purchase tax credit, the US auto industry says it will fall behind on the Biden administration’s goal of 50% EV sales by 2030.

Elon Musk, CEO of electric car maker, Tesla, said a 10% cut in salaried staff at the electric car maker will happen over three months, as the world’s richest man predicted a US recession was more likely than not, reports Reuters.

Former Tesla employees have filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging the company failed to adhere to federal laws requiring a 60-day notification period for mass layoffs, reports Reuters. According to the lawsuit, more than 500 employees were terminated at Tesla’s gigafactory plant in Sparks, NV.

Congress wants to double the rare earth mineral fund to free defense supply chain from China, reports Defense News. The Senate’s Armed Services Committee advanced last week its FY23 defense bill with $1 billion earmarked for the National Defense Stockpile to “acquire strategic and critical minerals currently in shortfall,” more than doubling the current stockpile’s value.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the market for a broad range of critical materials essential to US munitions and other defense industry products, spurring hundreds of millions in Pentagon spending to shore up supplies, reports Defense News.

Shipping companies are transforming rust buckets into gold mines in a modern-day alchemy that could fuel already rampant inflation for years to come, reports Reuters. The disruption to world trade caused by pandemic lockdowns and a shortage of new cargo vessels has pushed freight rates for ageing container ships to record highs. Cashing in on the boom, shipping firms are locking in long-term leases lasting three to four years, which means consumers could carry on paying the price for the surge in costs until hundreds of new ships on order come into service.

A House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee rejected the Biden administration’s proposal to close a Savanna, GA, military pilot training center, reports Defense News. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) called the decision a big step toward keeping open the Combat Readiness Training Center, which is run by the Air National Guard and conducts air-to-air combat training missions for reservist and active-duty fighter pilots.

The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill would upgrade instead of retiring the oldest F-22s, reports Air Force Magazine. The Air Force’s plans to divest its oldest 33 F-22 Raptor fighters met with a sharp rebuke. The committee moved instead to mandate the Air Force maintain the full Raptor fleet and upgrade the older planes to the newest configuration.

Marines still have big plans for seabasing ships even as two head for mothballs, reports Marine Corp Times. A sweeping slate of proposed ship retirements that would take nine littoral combat ships offline also would end the career of two unconventional seabasing vessels that have less than a decade in service. But Marine Corps seabasing is far from a failed concept, current and former Marine officials said, and similar ships remaining in service are poised to take on new missions ― including support of unmanned surface vessels ― in the near future.

VIDEO: Christening of Destroyer John Basilone, reports USNI. The ship’s namesake, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he led his heavy machine gun sections in defense of a critical position and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. Basilone later returned to action at the Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1944, where he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield. He was killed in action later that day and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his unwavering devotion and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice,” reads a statement from the Navy.

The USS Paul Ignatius completes its home port shift in Mayport, FL, following its inaugural patrol to 6th Fleet, reports Navy Times, and is now based in Rota, Spain. “The ship’s arrival to Rota is one of several scheduled homeport shifts to occur in support of the US Navy’s long-range plan to gradually rotate the Rota-based destroyers,” the Navy said in a statement. “The arrival also coincides with the arrival of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79, which will provide rotary-wing mission capabilities to the FDNF-E destroyers.”

Israel is to dissolve parliament and call its fifth election in three years, reports UPI. Israel’s weakened coalition government announced Monday that it would dissolve parliament and call new elections, setting the stage for the possible return to power of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or another period of prolonged political gridlock. The election will be Israel’s fifth in three years, and it will put the polarizing Netanyahu, who has been the opposition leader for the past year, back at the center of the political universe. “I think the winds have changed. I feel it,” Netanyahu declared.

Contracts:

RH Contracting Inc., Atlantic, Virginia (N40080-18-D-0026); Signature Renovations LLC, Capitol Heights, Maryland (N40080-18-D-0027); Honu’Apo LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii (N40080-18-D-0028); Battle Creek Construction LLC, La Plata, Maryland (N40080-18-D-0029); and ACTS-Meltech JV1, LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia (N40080-18-D-0030), were awarded a combined $19,800,000 firm-fixed-priced multiple award contract for new construction, repair, alteration, and related demolition for facilities within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington area of operations. The work to be performed provides for repairs, new construction, and alterations to shore facilities, and utilities at Navy and Marine Corps facilities. Additionally, work may also include but are not limited to, engaging in installing and serving mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating, air-condition, building’s equipment and other specialized trades. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $99,000,000. Work will be performed in Washington, DC (40%); Virginia (40%); and Maryland (20%). The term for this option is from June 2022 to June 2023. No task orders are being issued at this time. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operation and maintenance (Navy); operation and maintenance (Marine Corps); working capital (Navy) funds; and military construction funds. NAVFAC Washington, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 17, 2022)

ECS Federal LLC, Fairfax, Virginia, was awarded a $63,281,595 modification (P00007) to contract W911QX-21-C-0022 to design and develop novel approaches to artificial intelligence algorithms. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2024. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation, defense-wide funds in the amount of $15,000,000 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

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