May 16, 2022

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Crocodile Briefly Shuts Airfield

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.

A crocodile sunning on the Boca Chica Key airfield forced NAS Key West to call in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to move the reptile beyond the fence line, so planes could take off and land, reports Miami Herald. NAS resident wildlife biologist Rosa Gonzales snapped the croc’s photo with a Super Hornet fighter jet in the background.

The Navy plans to cancel a high-profile unmanned undersea drone research program following missteps during the design and procurement phases, reports Breaking Defense. “Misalignment of Snakehead [Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle] design and procurement efforts with submarine hosting interfaces resulted in limited availability of host platforms to conduct Snakehead operations,” according to a Navy budget highlights book. The service estimates it will save roughly $186 million during FY23 and $517 million over the next five years by canceling the program.

The Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $1 billion for anti-missile and cybersecurity programs that are not part of President Joe Biden’s budget request, bringing to more than $21 billion the so-called unfunded priorities the armed services and military commands are seeking for fiscal 2023. The Missile Defense Agency’s $748 million request to Congress and US Cyber Command’s $236 million request, reports Roll Call, are the latest of a bevy of unfunded lists provided to Congress in recent weeks.

Biden convened top US military leaders Wednesday in an annual White House gathering that takes on special significance as the war in Ukraine enters a risky new phase and the United States plans more military aid, reports Reuters. The formal West Wing meeting included DefSec Lloyd Austin, JCS chair GEN Mark Milley, and senior military leaders. The annual meeting includes a dinner in the president’s residence with leaders’ spouses afterward.

Russia rejects cease-fire for civilian evacuation amid Eastern Orthodox Holy Week, reports Fox News.

First-ever defense talks between US, EU prepare to meet later this month amid Ukraine war, reports Military Times. The event is meant to open an additional trans-Atlantic channel on security matters and complement similar communications already happening via NATO, officials have said. Having such a forum specifically for the trade-minded European Union would energize the bloc’s defense ambitions and signal Washington’s link to the continent on yet another level.

US intelligence satellite launches from California, reports C4ISRNET. The NROL-85 satellite lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base aboard a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It was the first mission by the NRO to reuse a SpaceX rocket booster. The Falcon’s first stage flew back and landed at the seaside base northwest of Los Angeles. The NRO only described the NROL-85 satellite as a “critical national security payload.”

Russia’s sunken warship is a warning to all navies, reports gCaptain.

Military sites honoring Confederates can’t be renamed without further action from Congress, reports Military Times. As part of legislative proposals sent to Capitol Hill this month connected to the fiscal 2023 budget request, DoD officials said they need new action by lawmakers to finalize the work of the Pentagon’s Confederate renaming commission, which was mandated by Congress two years ago. reports a towing company in Virginia Beach, VA, illegally auctioned, sold, or trashed the vehicles and personal belongings of at least seven US service members, including two cars owned by a Navy SEAL deployed overseas, according to a lawsuit filed April 15 by the Justice Department.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group conducted operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Philippine Sea and East China Sea on Monday, reports Navy Times. The carrier strike group teamed up with Japanese destroyers Inazuma and Kongo to complete air warfare training and other exercises aimed at boosting integrated maritime operations and combat readiness.

Mexico has disbanded a select anti-narcotics unit that for a quarter of a century worked hand-in-hand with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to tackle organized crime, two sources said, in a major blow to bilateral security cooperation, reports Reuters. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government formally notified the DEA in April last year that the unit had been shut down but did not release the information publicly at the time.

Fewer Marines in the Corps, but more pay for those who stay, reports Marine Corps Times. The Corps’ end strength reduction continues at an annual pace as the service shrinks its personnel footprint to both pay for new war-fighting technology and grow a more seasoned, experienced force. “The reduction of active Marine Corps end strength is part of larger reform initiatives aimed at internally generating resources through divestitures, policy reforms, and business process improvements to reinvest in modernization and increase lethality,” according to budget documents.

Air Force Times reports on how astronaut Charlie Duke brought the Air Force to the moon. In 1972, Air Force test pilot LT COL Charlie Duke celebrated the service’s 25th birthday nearly alone and far from home in unfamiliar territory. Duke, an Apollo 16 astronaut, was sending his regards from the moon. He placed a specially engraved coin on the dusty ground, large and silver and embossed with the Air Force seal, along with other mementos that reminded him of America. A freshly remastered set of Apollo 16 images illustrates the tale 50 years later.

Navy IDs two of three USS George Washington sailors who died in the past 10 days, reports Navy Times, though few details have been released about what led to their deaths. Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman were found dead at an off-base locations in Hampton, VA, near where the George Washington is undergoing its mid-life refueling and overhaul work.

Who is Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, the federal judge who blocked Biden’s travel mask mandate? CNN reports.

Army chooses Sig Sauer to build its Next Generation Squad Weapon, reports Army Times. The weapon takes 6.8 mm cartridges and will come in both rifle and automatic rifle variants. They won a 10-year contract with an initial delivery order worth $20.4 million. Their design has similar configurations and ergonomics to existing rifle platforms. The company will now provide both the individual rifle, light machine gun and handgun, having won the handgun contract in 2017.

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