June 19, 2024

Debt Ceiling Standoff: What’s at Stake for the Military?

Debt Ceiling

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.

Communities with a large military presence risk an economic firestorm if the US defaults on its debt, reports CNN. A default would mean the government won’t be able to meet all of its financial obligations. About a sixth of government spending goes toward national defense, a quarter of which is to pay military personnel, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Military communities around the country are especially vulnerable, said John Mayo, a professor of economics at Georgetown University. “These are middle-class families that have a high paycheck-to-paycheck living ratio. They don’t have a lot of extra income, don’t have a lot of savings, and if the payments to those families are delayed, they’ll have to make really horrible choices,” Mayo said.

Defense Department leaders sounded the alarm earlier this month warning that financial complications would have severe consequences for the military and other federal agencies, Navy Times reported after DefSec Lloyd Austin testified before a US Senate appropriations committee.

Debt ceiling negotiations, centering on spending and policy issues, were put on hold over the weekend between US President Joe Biden and House Speaker Keven McCarthy, reports The Washington Post. The two leaders were expected to speak over the phone on Sunday as the president was returning from the Group of Seven Summit in Japan.

NPR answers some frequently asked questions about the debt ceiling and the fight over it.

Biden, while in Japan for the G7 Summit, said that the United States will support efforts to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, reports The Hill. Ukraine has wanted to receive Western fighter jets such as the American F-16 since the invasion by Russian began. Russia warned Western leaders against supplying the jets, reports UPI.

On Sunday, Biden also announced another round of military assistance for Ukraine while meeting with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky at the G7, reports The Hill. The $375 million package will include ammunition, artillery and armored vehicles.

The US Navy said it will revamp its manning requirements, living conditions, and mental health access for sailors assigned to aircraft carriers undergoing maintenance in the shipyards, reports Navy Times. The reforms come after a separate investigation into the rash of suicides among sailors assigned to the carrier USS George Washington revealed how the challenging work environment at a Newport News, VA, shipyard had negatively affected their quality of life. The service said it failed its own personnel on an individual and systemic basis, reports The Virginian Pilot.

A Navy investigation has found that the suicides last year of four sailors from the same command were not directly connected, reports Navy Times. The limited-duty sailors were assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center in Virginia. They were dealing with “family, financial, medical, and career-related factors,” according to the service.

The US Marine Corps recently received the first of eight MQ-9 Reapers at NAS Pax River, reports Military Embedded Systems. The drone will be used by Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU)-1 in Yuma for operational missions overseas. The acquisition supports the expansion of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) component of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) family of systems.

The news about the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is somewhat encouraging, reports Bay Journal. It has recovered a bit from last year’s tally, but not enough to dispel worries about the future of the fishery. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources released its annual wintertime survey last week. The report found an estimated 323 million crabs Baywide, up more than 40% from last year’s record-low 227 million crabs.

The summer rockfish season has opened, and local fishermen are reporting an abundance of keeper fish, reports The Southern Maryland Chronicle.

The National Association of Realtors said that single women are outpacing single men as homebuyers, continuing a trend that started way back in 1981, reports ABC 7WXYZ. Read NAR’s “Highlights From the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers” here.

US Army Redstone Test Center commander COL Joseph Alexander visited NAS Pax River in April to fly with the US Naval Test Wing Atlantic aviators and gain first-hand insights into naval aviation and the capabilities of naval aviators, reports The Southern Maryland Chronicle.

Turkey’s 2023 Anatolian Eagle exercise provided a chance to look at the operations of the country’s last F-4 Phantom IIs, among other aircraft, reports The Drive. The Phantoms are in the twilight of their careers, but active in this year’s exercise. AE 2023 involved training alongside partner nations — this year Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom — to reduce the loss of inexperienced fighter pilots and their aircraft in potential real-world combat missions, as well as keeping up crews’ and radar operators’ readiness.

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration will conduct low-altitude helicopter flights over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex and nearby area between May 23-27 in preparation for this year’s Indianapolis 500 weekend, reports NBC 13WTHR.

Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman charged with leaking classified documents, had been warned about his handling of or viewing classified information, reports Military Times. Prosecutors told the judge hearing the case that Teixeira continued leaking documents even after he was admonished on two separate occasions last year over “concerning actions” he took related to the information. On Friday, the judge ordered that Teixeira remain in jail until trial, reports The Hill.

LT COL Jon-Paul Depreo, former commander of the 46th Engineer Battalion at Fort Polk, LA, has been charged with one count of abusive sexual contact, one count of maltreating a subordinate, and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, reports Army Times. Depreo was fired as commander in January for “a loss of trust and confidence in his judgment and ability to command.” He had been relieved of duty after a holiday ball.

COL Michael Shreves was relieved as commander of the 27th Special Operations Group at Cannon Air Force Base, NM, last week, reports Task & Purpose, due to a loss of confidence.

COL Jason Lacroix, commander of the Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot, CO, was suspended earlier this month pending an internal investigation, reports Army Times. Details as to why the investigation is taking place were not immediately available.

Colin Kahl, who has served for two years as the Pentagon’s policy chief in the Biden administration, said he will resign after a NATO Summit in July, reports Defense News. He will return to his position as a professor at Stanford University.

The US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bombers will be back in the air this week, following five months of safety inspections, reports Military Times. The Federal Aviation Administration recently grounded all Boeing B-17E, F, and G models of the Flying Fortress aircraft.

The US Army now awards recruiting ribbons to soldiers who encourage others to enlist, reports Military.com. At least 58 soldiers were promoted and 104 were given the new ribbon as part of the Soldier Referral Program.

NASA has chosen Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to develop the lander for its Artemis V mission that will send astronauts back to the moon, reports The Hill.

National Treasure won the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore, reports The Washington Post. Kentucky Derby winner Mage’s hope for the Triple Crown was ruined as the horse came in second. It was an emotional day for trainer Bob Baffert, National Treasure’s trainer, who saw another of his horses suffer a leg injury and then euthanized during a race earlier in the day, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Contracts:

Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wisconsin, is awarded a $526,293,001 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract N00024-20-C-2300 to exercise an option for detail design and construction of one Constellation class guided-missile frigate, FFG 65. Work will be performed in Marinette, Wisconsin (51%); Camden, New Jersey (17%); Chicago, Illinois (7%); Green Bay, Wisconsin (4%); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (3%); Hauppauge, New York (3%); Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (3%); Cincinnati, Ohio (3%); Kaukauna, Wisconsin (2%); Charlotte, North Carolina (2%); Bethesda, Maryland (2%); Millersville, Maryland (2%); and Atlanta, Georgia (1%), and is expected to be completed by December 2028. Fiscal 2023 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $526,293,001 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Research Innovations Inc., Arlington, Virginia, will be awarded a $54,000,000 firm-fixed-price, firm-fixed-level of effort, and cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity basic contract. This contract provides for capabilities required to achieve the technical and programmatic goals of the Command and Control of the Information Environment program. This includes but is not limited to new development and sustainment of software to provide the Joint Force with an artificial intelligence enabled, machine learning, scalable enterprise command and control, situational awareness, and data analytics capability to support globally integrated operations across the Department of Defense. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, and worldwide performance across the Department of Defense in government facilities and contractor facilities. The work is expected to be completed by May 19, 2027. This contract is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2023 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,000,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas (FA8307-23-D-B005).

Austal USA LLC, Mobile, Alabama, is awarded a $113,906,029 fixed-price incentive (firm target) and firm-fixed-price contract for detail design of the Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship T-AGOS 25 Class. The contract includes options for detail design and construction of up to seven T-AGOS 25 class ships, special studies, engineering and industrial, provisional items orders, post-delivery mission system installation period, and data rights buy-out, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $3,195,396,097. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama (42%); Houma, Louisiana (13%); Camden, New Jersey (13%); Shelton, Connecticut (6%); Cincinnati, Ohio (5%); Grove City, Pennsylvania (3%); Semmes, Alabama (3%); Chesapeake, Virginia (2%); Milford, Delaware (2%); New Orleans, Louisiana (1%); and various locations across the US, each less than 1% (10%), and is expected to be completed by November 2024. If all options are exercised, work will continue through June 2034. Fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $113,906,029 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the SAM.gov website, with two offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N00024-23-C-2203).

Coastal Mechanics Company Inc., Houston, Texas (N0017823D4310); Astro Machine Works Inc., Ephrata, Pennsylvania (N0017823D4311); Globe Tech LLC, Plymouth, Michigan (N0017823D4312); M&S Machining Inc., Winchester, Kentucky (N0017823D4313); SAVIT Corp. Rockaway, New Jersey (N0017823D4314); Sunbelt Design and Development Inc., San Antonio, Texas (N0017823D4315); Total Machine LLC, King George, Virginia (N0017823D4316); and Waltonen Engineering Inc., Warren, Michigan (N0017823D4317), were awarded a combined $50,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for the rapid manufacture, assembly, inspection and delivery of machined prototypes and assemblies. Each awardee will be awarded $500 (minimum contract guarantee per awardee) at contract award. Work will be performed in Houston, Texas; Ephrata, Pennsylvania; Plymouth, Michigan; Winchester, Kentucky; Rockaway, New Jersey; San Antonio, Texas; King George, Virginia; and Warren, Michigan. Work is expected to be completed by May 2028. A combined total of $4,000 in fiscal 2023 working capital funds will be obligated at the time of award. All other funding will be made available at the delivery order level as contracting actions occur. This contract was competitively procured via the system for award management website, SAM.gov, with eight complete offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded May 17, 2023)

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, Washington, DC, is awarded a $61,560,778 firm-fixed-price contract for Department of Defense (DOD) Safe Helpline (SHL) services. DOD SHL services is a confidential worldwide service that provides anonymous, live, one-on-one crisis intervention, support, information, and resources to members of the DOD community who have been affected by sexual assault, in support of the department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. Services include a telephone helpline, online helpline, website, text-for-information service, mobile self-care app, anonymous online peer support, and resource database for transitioning service members, publicly searchable responder database, follow-up support and self-paced educational courses. Work will be performed at the contractors’ facility and the government site located in Alexandria, Virginia, with an expected completion date of May 26, 2028. Fiscal 2023 operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $7,586,277 were obligated at the time award. Defense Human Resources Activity Operations, Enterprise Acquisition Directorate, Alexandria, Virginia, is the contracting activity (H9821023C0011).

CACI, Inc. – Federal, Chantilly, Virginia, is being awarded a labor-hour contract option with a maximum value of $13,698,215 for Comptroller Mission Systems Support for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). This modification exercises Option Year 3 with a period of performance of June 16, 2023, through June 15, 2023. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $76,481,294 from $62,783,079. Work will be performed in Chantilly, Virginia, with an expected completion date of June 15, 2024. Fiscal 2023 Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) defense-wide operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $13,698,215 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Contract Services Directorate, Columbus, Ohio, is the contracting activity (HQ0423-20-F-0099).

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