May 17, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

DoD Seeks Hand in EU Arms Development

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Pentagon leaders are asking Congress for new authorities to facilitate cooperative defense programs with the European Union. Officials on both sides of the Atlantic say this will complement traditional NATO processes, according to Defense News. The goal is to lay the domestic groundwork for Washington to have a hand in the European Union’s emerging weapons development efforts. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has shown that America’s military prowess remains the backbone of transatlantic deterrence, as governments orchestrate military and humanitarian aid for Kyiv.

US intelligence officials warn that Russia plans on a prolonged war in Ukraine with large territorial ambitions, but achieving its long-term aims will likely require the mobilization of more troops, reports Stars and Stripes (Paywall). Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin “faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities. The next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory.”

Al Jazeera reports Russia was behind a massive cyberattack against a satellite internet network that took thousands of modems offline at the onset of the war in Ukraine, according to reports from the US, Britain, Canada, and the European Union. The digital assault against Viasat’s KA-SAT network took place in late February, as Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives overwhelming passed a nearly $40 billion aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday night as the war in Ukraine nears three months old, reports UPI. The lawmakers voted 368-57 in favor of the bill with all those against it being from the Republican Party.

Russia has launched about a dozen hypersonic missiles during its war on Ukraine and is running out of precision guided munitions in general, reports Defense One. Efforts to replace them are hindered by sanctions and export controls imposed since the February invasion. The result has been more dumb bombs falling in the 200 to 300 sorties a week Russia has been conducting.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in a bid to mature its scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon program, is seeking $60 million in its fiscal 2023 budget for the next phase of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept, reports Defense News.

Homicide and suicide deaths from guns jumped 35% in 2020, CDC reports. The number of homicides involving guns in the United States rose by more than one-third in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 2019, data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed, according to UPI.

 

 

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has said that he was “extremely concerned” about Iran’s lack of cooperation regarding its nuclear activity as EU envoy Enrique Mora is set to visit Tehran to save the stalled nuclear deal talks, reports Al Jazeera. The International Atomic Energy Agency is “trying to clarify a number of still open matters with Iran,” agency head Rafael Grossi told a European Parliament committee on Tuesday.

The US Navy sent its second ship in as many weeks through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday as tensions with China flared up again in the seas of eastern Asia. The US 7th Fleet said the USS Port Royal, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, sailed near Taiwan “in accordance with international law,” reports Al Jazeera. Chinese People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command said that it shadowed the US cruiser on Tuesday, according to state media, and accused the US of showing support for “Taiwan independence secessionist forces.”

“The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” says a 7th Fleet release, reported by USNI. The release calls it a routine transit and says, “Port Royal’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

A House bill backs the Marines’ 31 amphibious ship requirement, over the Navy’s budget which sets a 25-ship level, reports USNI News. Two members in Congress issued a House bill that would cement their level at 31. Put forth by House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee chair Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and ranking member Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), the bill pushes back against the Navy’s budget request that would end the San Antonio-class amphibious warship line and bring the total number of amphibs down to 25.

Meet the Royal Navy’s amenities ship, HMS Menestheus, the warship converted into a floating brewery for allied troops during World War II. Task & Purpose reports on the amenities ship designed to offer a respite for soldiers and sailors fighting in the Pacific. It included a floating dance hall, movie theater, canteen, and a brewery producing 250 barrels of English-style ale per week.

A Virgin Orbit launch this summer from Cornwall will mark the first time the National Reconnaissance Office has arranged to loft a payload from the United Kingdom — indeed, the first time any satellite has lifted off from UK soil, reports Breaking Defense. Space.com reports that the collaboration of the government military organizations working together on two mini-satellites will launch among nine international rideshares from Spaceport Cornwall (in coastal southwestern England) as soon as summertime.

Cyber assistance ranks high on the National Guard requested services, says GEN Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. These skills are in demand across the National Guard’s international State Sponsorship Program, including Ukraine. Cybersecurity assistance is “one of the most frequently requested things that we’re seeing right now,” he said, thanks to nearly 4,000 cyber professionals, many of whom acquired their skills as civilians, reports FCW.

The littoral combat ship’s latest problem: class-wide structural defects leading to hull cracks. Half of littoral combat fleet suffers the defects, leading to hull cracks on several vessels and limiting the speed and sea conditions they can withstand. The Navy has not previously disclosed the cracks in the Independence-class version of the LCS or the class-wide repercussions of the defects, nor has it identified which ships suffer from the issues, reports Navy Times.

The Senate confirms RADM Ann Phillips to lead the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation, reports gCaptain. The Senate voted 75-22 to confirm, making her the first woman to hold the position. The DOT’s Maritime Administration is responsible for the nation’s waterborne transportation system to “foster, promote and develop the maritime industry of the United States to meet the nation’s economic and security needs.” The agency has around 800 employees.

A Navy sailor in the Naval Special Warfare community died May 9 due to injuries encountered following a helicopter landing accident during joint training near Norfolk, VA, reports Navy Times. The sailor was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.

Defense officials would be required to grant honorable dismissals to nearly all troops who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and grant waivers to troops with “natural immunity” to the virus under new legislation introduced by Republican senators, reports Military Times.

More than 100 Michigan National Guard members from a Muskegon County-based unit are being deployed to the Middle East, reports M Live. The exact location of the unit’s deployment was not released. The unit will be operating under Operation Spartan Shield, according to US Army CAPT Kevin Robinson, commander of the unit. The “soldiers will be constructing parking lots, hangars, housing and other necessary military construction while in theater,” Robinson said.

Contracts:

Cardinal Health 200 LLC, Waukegan, Illinois, has been awarded a maximum $2,250,000,000 modification (P00046) exercising the second 30-month option period of a 30-month base contract (SPE2DV-17-D0001) with three 30-month option periods for worldwide ordering and distribution of consumable, commercial, brand name and generic medical surgical supplies. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington, with a Dec. 5, 2024, ordering period end date. Using customers are Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2022 through 2025 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Owens and Minor Distribution Inc., Mechanicsville, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $1,125,000,000 modification (P00033) exercising the second 30-month option period of a 30-month base contract (SPE2DV-17-D0002) with three 30-month option periods for worldwide ordering and distribution of consumable, commercial, brand name and generic medical surgical supplies. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington, with a Dec. 5, 2024, ordering period end date. Using customers are Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2022 through 2025 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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