May 19, 2024

Del Toro: Innovate Faster to Solve Navy’s Problems

Innovate
Jonathan Kwolek, a US Naval Research Lab research physicist, places a light-delivery system around a vacuum chamber to align the optics within the light-delivery system in order to optimize the atomic beam in the NRL Atom Interferometry Lab. The apparatus will generate a cold, continuous atomic beam which will be delivered into the larger vacuum chamber, which could lead to long-range inertial guidance improvements across the fleet. (US Navy photo by Jonathan Steffen)

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NavSec Carlos Del Toro unveiled the new Naval Science and Technology strategy at last week’s Sea-Air-Space 2024 maritime exposition in National Harbor, reports MarineLink. Navy leaders are calling it a “call to service” for scientists and engineers from across the country to help the military solve its problems. The Naval S&T strategy aims to strengthen collaboration with industry, academia, and partners and allies, to cultivate scientific research and accelerate delivery of technological innovation to the Navy and Marine Corps. “S&T is a means, and maritime dominance is the ends,” Del Toro said. Here are Del Toro’s remarks delivered at the symposium.

The Navy’s Project Overmatch is reaching out to industry for new tech it can fast-track to the fleet, reports Breaking Defense. The service isn’t looking to buy new hardware it has to wedge into warships already packed with gear, it is emphasizing software, said RADM Douglas Small of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. “Fielding software on existing hardware is the fastest way to move,” he said. “That has been our mantra: just focus on software.”

The Navy opened the Naval Aviation School for Additive Manufacturing last month in Danville, VA, in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, reports GovCIO Media & Research. Officials have praised the opening as a step toward further adopting additive manufacturing – a technology the Navy hopes will speed delivery times on strategic development programs and keep platforms and systems operating in combat.

Still underway are the plans to establish a Naval Air Warfare Rapid Capabilities Office, reports Inside Defense. The office is designed to fulfill naval and joint military operational requirements by identifying and rapidly developing “a new naval aviation weapons and airborne electronic warfare capabilities, innovative applications for existing naval aviation weapons and airborne electronic warfare capabilities, and other innovative solutions to enhance the effectiveness of naval aviation weapons and airborne electronic warfare capabilities,” according to language in the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.

A Marine Corps F-35B taking off from a South Korea air base last week collided with a bird forcing the pilot to land, reports Marine Corps Times, damaging the aircraft. No injuries were reported.

The US Army has ordered more safety training as helicopter crashes spike, reports Army Times. There have been a dozen mishaps that have resulted in 10 fatalities in the first six months of the fiscal year; the service had 10 mishaps and 14 fatalities for all of fiscal 2023.

The number of US and NATO troops stationed in Eastern Europe could increase in coming years as Russian threats continue to grow, reports Military Times. Roughly 100,000 US servicemembers are stationed throughout Europe today, including about 20,000 who were sent to countries like Poland and Romania in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

GEN Christopher Cavoli, head of US European Command, said that the Russian military is bigger today than when the Russia-Ukraine war started, reports The Hill. Russia’s army has grown by 15% since before the invasion of Ukraine, raising the alarm that Russian forces are reconstituting “far faster” than initial estimates suggested. Cavoli was speaking before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week.

The USS George Washington is set to leave for South America in the coming months, reports Navy Times, marking the aircraft carrier’s first deployment in nearly a decade. The Southern Seas 2024 deployment is the first for the carrier since it underwent its mid-life refueling and complex overhaul maintenance starting in 2017.

The guided missile cruiser USS Antietam has moved from Yokosuka, Japan, to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, reports Navy Times. The change is part of a “planned rotation of forces” in the region. The cruiser is swapping spots with the destroyer McCampbell, which returned to Yokosuka in March.

Maryland’s congressional delegation has introduced legislation that would require the federal government to cover the costs of rebuilding the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, reports Maryland Matters.

The US Small Business Administration has opened another disaster recovery center for those impacted by the Key Bridge collapse, reports CBS News. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) made a disaster declaration enabling small business owners to apply for federal disaster loans.

Removal of containers onboard the cargo ship Dali and wreckage clearing continues at site of Key Bridge collapse, reports the Army Corps of Engineers. As of last Thursday, approximately 38 containers had been removed.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, said hackers linked to the Russian government stole correspondence between a number of US federal agencies and Microsoft in a recent hack, reports Politico.

CISA has directed multiple federal agencies to scrub their Microsoft accounts for signs of compromise after Russia-linked hackers potentially accessed agency passwords and other sensitive log-in details, reports Federal News Network.

AT&T said that personal information of millions of its customers has been linked leaked online, reports CyberScoop. The company is informing 51 million people that their data was shared publicly in March.

Many federal agencies — from the Social Security Administration to the Interior Department to the Education Department — are facing the pressure to reduce telework, reports Federal News Network. Over the course of the past few months, the number of agencies pushing for more federal employees to return to the office by negotiating the new requirements with union representatives has accelerated.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has ordered state workers back into the office, reports Politico. Workers will need to be in the office two days a week starting in June.

Troops would see larger monthly housing stipends, more child care and health care access, and targeted pay boosts for junior enlisted personnel under a military quality-of-life improvement plan unveiled by a special panel of House Armed Services Committee members last week, reports Military Times. The cost to put the plan in action most likely will cost tens of billions of dollars in coming years, complicating its passage.

The new Veterans Affairs Servicing Purchase program will allow Veterans Affairs to purchase defaulted VA loans from outside mortgage servicers, then modify the terms to allow financially strapped veterans to avoid losing the properties, reports Military Times. The program is expected to launch May 31.

A group of five airmen are volunteering to repair a World War II B-29 Superfortress at the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, KS, reports We Are the Mighty. The team is repairing and manufacturing cables that previously deemed Doc unflyable. Doc is one of only two Superfortresses flying today, so keeping her going is more than just a job; it’s personal, the airmen said.

(US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam photo)

CBS News reports that a “HELP” sign on tiny Pacific island led the US Coast Guard and US Navy to rescue three mariners stranded for more than a week. The sailors were found on Pikelot Atoll after being stuck in the Micronesian archipelago.

The Army said it is partnering with the United Football League, an alternative to the National Football League, as the service looks to beef up its recruitment efforts, reports Military Times. The UFL was formed from a merger of the United States Football League and the XFL. Its games kicked off last month.

A new documentary, now available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV+, explores veterans’ involvement in the violent extremist movement in America, reports Navy Times. “Against All Enemies” is produced by war journalist Sebastian Junger and Navy veteran Ken Harbaugh and explains the link between veterans and violent extremist groups and explores what their participation could mean for the future of democracy in the United States.

Contracts:

CJW Contractors Inc., Herndon, Virginia (N4008524D0030); Addon Services LLC, Alexandria, Virginia (N4008524D0031); Bay Electric Co., Inc., Newport News, Virginia (N4008524D0032); Encon Desbuild JV3 LLC, Hyattsville, Maryland (N4008524D0033); Mark Turner Construction, Glen Allen, Virginia (N4008524D0034); MIG WMJ JV1 LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia (N4008524D0035); Ocean Construction Services, Virginia Beach, Virginia (N4008524D0036); SAW Eastern JV, Virginia Beach, Virginia (N4008524D0037); and Virtexco Corp., Norfolk, Virginia (N4008524D0038), are awarded a combined $450,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award constructions contract for general construction in the Hampton Roads area of operations (AO). The work to be performed provides for a wide range of design-build and design-bid-build projects that include, but are not limited to, new construction, demolition, repair, alteration, and renovation of buildings, systems and infrastructure and may include civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and communication systems. CJW Contractors Inc., are awarded $10,856,044 for the initial task order for submarine logistics support facilities. The remaining eight contractors are awarded $5,000 each (minimum contract per awardee) at contract award. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and four option years for all nine contracts combined is $450,000,000. Work will be primarily performed in the Hampton Roads AO, however, work may be required in other areas of the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic AO, if necessary. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion of April 2029. Fiscal 2020 military construction (MILCON) funds in the amount of $10,856,044 are obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2024 operation and maintenance, (Navy) in the amount of $40,000 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operation and maintenance, (Navy) and MILCON funds. This contract was competitively procured via the www.SAM.gov website with 22 proposals received. These nine contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic CORE, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Carahsoft Technology, Corp., Reston, Virginia, is awarded a five-year multiple award, firm fixed-price Department of Defense (DOD) Enterprise Software Initiative blanket purchase agreement (BPA) using the General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule. The overall estimated value of this agreement is $261,190,000. This BPA reduces costs and increases efficiency for DOD ordering activities that have a requirement for Forescout network access control products and incidental services. The Coast Guard is also authorized to use this agreement under the provisions of 14 US Code Section 3 and Section 145; 10 US Code Section 2571; and 31 US Code Section 1535. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated via delivery orders. Future requirements will be procured in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 8.405-3(c)(1). This requirement was competitively procured via the GSA Electronic-Buy website, whereby five quotes were received, and one was selected for award. Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-24-A-0003).

Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, Dallas, Texas (N62473-21-D-1202); B.L. Harbert International LLC, Birmingham, Alabama (N62473-21-D-1203); Clark Construction Group – California LP, Irvine, California (N62473-21-D-1204); ECC Infrastructure LLC, Burlingame, California (N62473-21-D-1205); Harper Construction Co. Inc., San Diego, California (N62473-21-D-1206); Heffler Contracting Group, El Cajon, California (N62473-21-D-1207); Korte Construction Co., doing business as The Korte Co., St. Louis, Missouri (N62473-21-D-1208); M.A. Mortenson Co., doing business as M.A. Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis, Minnesota (N62473-21-D-1209); R. A. Burch Construction Co. Inc., Ramona, California (N62473-21-D-1210); RQ Construction LLC, Carlsbad, California (N62473-21-D-1211); Sundt Construction Inc., Tempe, Arizona (N62473-21-D-1212); Walsh Federal LLC, Chicago, Illinois (N62473-21-D-1213); Webcor Construction LP, doing business as Webcor Builders, Alameda, California (N62473-21-D-1214); and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, Maryland (N62473-21-D-1215), were awarded a combined $98,000,000 to increase the maximum value of a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award construction contract for new construction, renovation, and repair of commercial and institutional facilities at various locations in the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of operations (AO). The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, airport buildings, office and administrative buildings, communications facilities, vehicle maintenance facilities, armories, parking garages, barracks facilities, prison facilities, fire stations, religious buildings, hotels, dining facilities, hospital and medical facilities, warehouse facilities, school facilities, and/or retail facilities. The contract consists of a base period of two years and one three-year option period. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and option period, combined is not to exceed $2,598,000,000. No funds were obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Work will be performed at various government installations within the NAVFAC Southwest AO including, but not limited to, California (87%), Arizona (5%), Nevada (3%), Utah (2%), Colorado (2%), and New Mexico (1%), and is expected to be completed by November 2025. This contract was competitively procured via the sam.gov website, with 28 offers received. NAVFAC Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Feb. 22, 2024.)

Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $55,277,507 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the provision of Southeast Alaska Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) operations support services. This contract will provide logistics, maintenance, operations, and program management assistance services in support of Navy and Marine signature silencing programs for naval ships and undersea systems at SEAFAC for the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD). Work will be performed in Ketchikan, Alaska (90%); Poulsbo, Washington (7%); Long Beach, Mississippi (1%); Lynnwood, Washington (1%); and other locations (1%), and is expected to be completed in April 2030 Fiscal 2024 Working Capital Funds in the amount of $6,410,000 will be obligated at time of contract award. This contract was competitively procured with one offer received via the System for Award Management. NSWCCD, West Bethesda, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N0016724D0020). (Awarded April 11, 2024)

Syneren Technologies Corp., Arlington, Virginia, is awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (HQ0034-23-F-0152) valued at $11,932,019 to provide support to operate the Defense Technology Security Administration Information Technology Enterprise and its users. Fiscal 2023 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $6,050,872 are being obligated at the time of award. The total, if all options are exercised, is $31,149,422. The contractor shall be required to provide the following support services: basic services, program management, service and enterprise information technology management, training, and enhanced information technology surge capabilities. Services are intended to achieve maximum cost effectiveness, high customer satisfaction, and compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations. The work will be performed at the Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia. The estimated contract completion date is April 16, 2025. Washington Headquarters Services, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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