November 29, 2023

Could Balloons Track Hypersonic Weapons?

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 military’s newest weapon against China and Russia is hot air, reports Politico. The Pentagon is working on a new plan to rise above competition from China and Russia using balloons. The high-altitude inflatables, flying at between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, would be added to the Pentagon’s extensive surveillance network and could eventually be used to track hypersonic weapons. Over the past two years, the Pentagon has spent about $3.8 million on balloon projects, and plans to spend $27.1 million in fiscal 2023 to continue work on multiple efforts, according to budget documents.

Distrust remains after the Navy’s report on tainted drinking water in Hawaii, reports Navy Times. About 6,000 Navy, Army, and Air Force families were affected when fuel stored on base leaked into drinking water. Many families have returned to their military housing after spending months in Honolulu hotels, but they continue taking safety measures including taking short, five-minute showers. They don’t drink their tap water or cook with it. A Navy investigation blamed the fuel leak and the water crisis that followed on shoddy management and human error. Some Hawaii residents, including Native Hawaiians, officials, and military families said the report doesn’t help restore trust in the Navy.

Maryland and Virginia reduced quotas this week on commercial and recreational Chesapeake crab harvests in response to a worrisome drop in the crab population, reports Bay Journal. In Maryland, stricter catch limits went into effect July 1 and include a reduction from two to only one bushel per boat for recreational crabbers and first-ever commercial limits on the number of male crabs harvested in August and September. Virginia will impose new restrictions on commercial harvests from October 1 to the end of the season on November 30. Both states also imposed new commercial harvesting limits based upon the month and type of gear.

New details emerge about the 2020 Bonhomme Richard fire, ahead of the surprise censure of a three-star, now-retired VADM Rich Brown, reports Defense News. The initial response to the July 2020 fire that destroyed the multibillion-dollar amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard was uncoordinated and hampered by confusion as to which admiral should cobble together Navy and civilian firefighters, according to new information from Brown, head of Naval Surface Forces at the time of the fire.

Vendors prep for new cyber rules of the road, reports FCW. Federal policy shifts tightening cybersecurity requirements on government contractors have Congress poised to impose new standards throughout the private sector. The DoD is implementing a unified cybersecurity standard for contractors, and there are burgeoning regulatory efforts directed throughout the private sector and at how companies secure consumer data and privacy.



The world’s largest particle collider is about to start smashing protons together at unprecedented energy levels in its quest to reveal more secrets about how the universe works, reports Ten years ago, the Large Hadron Collider discovered the Higgs boson, which confirmed the existence of the Higgs field, which gives mass to all elemental particles. The European Organization for Nuclear Research announced it was set Tuesday to run around the clock for nearly four years at a record energy of 13.6 trillion electronvolts. It will send two beams of protons — particles in the nucleus of an atom — in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light around a 17-mile ring buried 100 meters under the Swiss-French border.

None of the US Air Force’s linguists spoke Ukrainian when Russia invaded, reports Defense News. So, the Air Force “surged to meet emerging requirements,” said service spokeswoman Laura McAndrews and through the personnel system identified troops with family ties to the country and already spoke it, while others with an appetite for languages set out to learn. Airmen who study Russian could help out in a pinch as well, since the two share similar alphabets, grammar and vocabulary.

The Marine Corps is working with National Guard units in New England to defend against an enemy disruption of power and water supplies, reports The National Interest. The cyberwarfare exercise is called Cyber Yankee. “The Marine Corps’ role in this is to simulate an attacker so that the defense can clearly evaluate how they are doing,” said LCPL Miles Young, a data systems administrator for Defensive Cyberspace Operations-Internal Defensive Measures Company B, 6th Communication Battalion.

Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, the last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient has died and will lie in honor at US Capitol, reports Defense News. Williams, who died last week at 98, was a legend in his native West Virginia for his heroics under fire over several crucial hours at the battle for Iwo Jima. In 2018, the Huntington, WV, medical center was renamed in his honor, and the Navy commissioned a mobile base sea vessel in his name in 2020. reports that Japan lodged a protest with China on Monday over a Chinese naval vessel sailing near disputed islands, a Japanese official said, as reports emerged of Russia also sending its own navy ship to the area. The islets in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku by Tokyo and the Diaoyu by Beijing, are at the center of a long-running dispute between Japan and China.

The Army has opened the design competition and prototype phase to replace its Bradley vehicles, reports Defense News, releasing a request for proposals July 1 on the government contracting website

Acupuncture could reduce tension headaches by half, reports The Washington Post. Research published in the journal Neurology involved 218 people who had experienced tension headaches for an average of 22 days a month for 11 years. Tension headaches, which are the most common type, are sometimes described as feeling pressure as if you had a tight band around your head. They are considered chronic if they regularly occur at least 15 days a month.

A federal judge has ruled in favor of drug distributors in a West Virginia opioid case, reports UPI. The ruling comes in a case brought by Huntington City and Cabell County accusing AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson of being a public nuisance by creating an opioid epidemic through the sale and distribution of the prescription drug. “The opioid crisis has taken a considerable toll on the citizens of Cabell County and the City of Huntington. And while there is a natural tendency to assign blame in such cases, they must be decided not based on sympathy, but on the facts and the law,” Judge David Faber wrote in the 184-page ruling. “(T)he court finds that judgement should be entered in defendants’ favor.”

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, slowed by a foot injury and contest interuptions, captured his 15th Fourth of July hot dog eating contest title by eating 63 franks and buns, reports ESPN, at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. In a decisive chowdown comeback, women’s record holder Miki Sudo downed 40 wieners and buns to win the women’s title after skipping last year’s frank fest because she was pregnant.


Parsons Government Services Inc., Centreville, Virginia, has been awarded an $8,734,645, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00058) to the previously awarded Satellite Operations Rototyping and Integration contract FA8806-19-C-0003 for support and delivery, network, infrastructure, hardware, and architecture solutions. The contract modification provides for cross-domain solutions, design, integration, and rapid delivery team services. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2023. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $400,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $246,978,525. Space Systems Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California, is the contracting activity (FA8806-19-C-0003).

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $185,922,484 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-6117 to exercise an option for engineering design and development. 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 September 2023. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $17,829,479 (97%); and fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $535,657 (3%) will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Amentum Services Inc., Germantown, Maryland, was awarded a $40,332,895 modification (P00166) to contract W58RGZ-17-C-0011 for contractor logistics support for government-owned fixed-wing fleets. Work will be performed in Germantown, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of July 5, 2023. Fiscal 2022 operation and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $40,332,895 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

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