July 14, 2020

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Experts Still Fear Second Peak of COVID-19

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 trend of new coronavirus cases is still increasing in 19 states, reports CNN Health, 24 are trending downward, and seven states’ trends are holding steady. A rise in cases has pushed Arizona to tell its hospitals to activate emergency plans. Nationally more than 1.9 million people have been infected by the virus and more than 112,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. ProPublica has a national map and state by state metrics of the coronavirus trends.

A CDC study finds a lower COVID-19 infection rate for TR sailors who wore face coverings and social distanced, reports Navy Times. A test group of sailors assigned to the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt reported lower infection rates among those who wore face masks, avoided common areas when possible and practiced social distancing, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is winning widespread, bipartisan praise for all that has gone right with the Payroll Protection Program, reports The Washington Post. Rubio enlisted Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and other senators from both sides of the aisle to create the program. No legislation of this type existed previously. Now, in the wake of Friday’s surprisingly positive jobs report, the PPP is being widely hailed as one of the most successful pieces of the congressional response to the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus.

Despite the PPP helping small businesses remain afloat, US retailers are expected to shutter 20,000 to 25,000 stores this year, reports The Washington Post, as much as 60% of closures occurring in malls. That’s a sharp increase from the 15,000 forecast earlier this year for retail, which was in turmoil before the pandemic.

The US Senate confirms new Air Force chief of staff in a historic, unanimous vote, reports Defense News. Gen. Charles Q. Brown will become the first black service member to lead an American military branch He is currently the commander of Pacific Air Forces and will replace Gen. Dave Goldfein as the Air Force’s top general, reports  Air Force Times.

Trust in the VA is at an all-time high, reports Military.com. The level of trust veterans have in the medical care they receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, averaging nearly 90% for the first time since the department began soliciting feedback in late 2017. Outpatient surveys  show veterans’ trust in care increased 5% during the past three years, from an 84.9% satisfaction rate in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 89% through the end of March 2020.

 

 

More than 8,500 active duty airmen volunteered to transfer into the Space Force, reports Air Force Times. About 6,000  will be selected to transfer, according to the Space Force. The service is now reviewing transfer applications and comparing them to the specific career fields and ranks to see which volunteers would fit.

Watchdog: More work to do to improve military housing, reports Military Times. “If Department of Defense management does not address previous recommendations that were made to improve military housing, the DoD will continue to expose military families to health and safety hazards at installations around the world,” auditors stated in the DoD Office of Inspector General audit report.

Two retired Navy officials plead guilty in “Fat Leonard” bribery prosecution, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retired Capt. David Williams Haas and retired Chief Petty Officer Brooks Alonzo Parks were indicted separately on the same day in 2018, accused of accepting the now-familiar bribes of lavish hotel rooms, high-roller parties, and pricey booze from Malaysian contractor Leonard Glenn Francis. In return, the service members helped route Navy ships to Southeast Asia ports controlled by Francis.

Airborne laser weapon on track for 2022 demonstration, reports C4ISRENET. The 60-kilowatt high energy laser will be mounted on an AC-130J Ghostrider, a massively armed workhorse for the Air Force. The laser weapon will be a cherry on top to the gunship, which already boasts a 30mm side-firing chain gun, a 105mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin laser guided missiles, wing-mounted GBU-39/B GPS-guided, and GBU-39B/B laser-guided Small Diameter Bombs.

Key Senate panel approves 3% pay raise for troops next year, reports Military Times. The mark matches the expected pay boost prescribed under federal statute and, if approved, would represent the first time in a decade that troops have seen consecutive years with salary boosts of at least 3%. This past January, military pay increased by 3.1%.

WalletHub finds both Virginia and Maryland made the top 10 hardest hit by unemployment claims last week, ranking 8th and 10th, respectively. The full report and rankings are here.

A new House plan would extend Tricare coverage for dependents to age 26 without additional costs in an effort to help military families deal with the financial effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports Military Times. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), expected to introduce the legislative proposal, said the issue is one of basic fairness for troops and their loved ones.

Image from command page for Chancellorsville, a ship named after a Confederate victory in the Civil War. (Navy)

Chief of Naval Ops ADM Mike Gilday says no more Confederate battle flags in public spaces and work areas, reports Navy Times. No plans have been announced regarding warship Chancellorsville, commissioned in 1989 and named after a Confederate victory during the Civil War. It is believed to be the sole Navy ship on active duty named in honor of the Confederacy, says Navy Times.

 Contracts:

Seres-Arcadis SB JV LLC, Charleston, South Carolina, was awarded a $9,625,000 firm-fixed-price contract to perform optimized remediation for the Air Force. Bids were solicited via the internet with six received. Work will be performed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of June 9, 2029. Fiscal 2020-2029 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $9,625,000 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W912DR-20-C-0011).

Cardno – Amec Foster Wheeler JV, Charlottesville, Virginia, is awarded $50,000,000 for a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract with a maximum amount of $50,000,000 for Marine Corps (USMC) facility assessments utilizing the BUILDER Sustainment Management System at various USMC installations worldwide. No task orders are being issued at this time. Work will be performed at various USMC facilities worldwide: North Carolina (31%); Japan (25%); California (22%); Hawaii (7%); Virginia (5%); South Carolina (4%); Georgia (3%); Arizona (2%); and Republic of Korea (1%). The work to be performed provides for condition assessments of facilities approximately 20 million square feet and greater annually and BUILDER is utilized for major building component systems, data input, data analysis and interpretation, remote entry database and web-based BUILDER. It is also used for assessment and management training; other knowledge-based sustainment management system facility assessments and training; other specialized engineering assessments and studies for site facilities; conventional or deficiency-based facility assessments and training; life-cycle, space utilization and functionality assessments; and short and long range maintenance planning. Work is expected to be complete by June 2025. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Marine Corps) (O&M, MC) contract funds in the amount of $5,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by O&M, MC. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website and four proposals were received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N62473-20-D-0615).

Machine Tools USA Inc., Mathews, Virginia (N68936-20-D-0014); Machine Tool Marketing Inc., Bixby, Oklahoma (N68936-20-D-0015); and Pacific IC Source, Yucaipa, California (N68936-20-D-0016), are awarded $25,000,000 for indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. Work will be performed at the contractor’s locations. These contracts provide various types of plant and laboratory tools, analytical and diagnostic equipment, work holding devices and peripheral equipment for conventional and computer numerically controlled equipment in support of advanced technology products for the Energetics Department. The estimated aggregate ceiling for all contracts is $25,000,000, with the companies having an opportunity to compete for individual orders. Work is expected to be completed in June 2025. No funds are being obligated at time of award; funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. These contracts were competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals and three offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California, is the contracting activity.

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