December 4, 2023

F-35 Oxygen Delivery Under Review Again

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The House Armed Services Committee demands another investigation into F-35 pilot breathing system problems, reports Defense News. They want the Pentagon to take a second look at the F-35 jet’s pilot breathing systems, which may be contributing to physiological episodes where pilots reported oxygen deprivation. A NASA study — which used interviews with pilots and data from two F-35s during ground tests — found the Joint Strike Fighter does not continually supply the amount of oxygen needed by pilots, forcing operators to change their breathing rates to compensate.

Civilian government and defense contractors were able to retain workers and sustain performance thanks to pandemic funding for paid leave. For the DoD that could mean about $4 billion in eligible reimbursements under the CARES Act, according to a recent watchdog report, reports FCW.

SASC Chair Jack Reed (D-RI) says the defense top line “will probably go up” to win Republican support on the path to a budget deal for fiscal 2022 ― and some other key Democrats on defense matters are grudgingly saying the same, reports Defense News. The committee proposes a $740 billion defense authorization bill, which includes billions of dollars more in equipment purchases than President Joe Biden’s $716 billion Pentagon request, surprising outside observers.

Some burn pit victims are to get presumptive status for disability benefits, reports Military Times. An estimated 3.5 million veterans suffered some burn pit exposure overseas during deployments in the past 20 years. Veterans exposed to harmful burn pit smoke while serving in certain overseas war zones will for the first time get presumptive disability benefits status under a new announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The move comes after years of lobbying from veterans advocates and months of legislative pressure from Capitol Hill on the issue.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) discusses her proposal to overhaul the military justice system to ensure sexual misconduct crimes are handled properly, reports Military Times. Last month, during debate over the annual defense authorization bill, Senate Armed Services Committee members adopted Gillibrand’s proposal to remove serious crimes from the traditional military chain of command.

Bases bring back mask mandates as coronavirus variant sweeps through unvaccinated parts of America, reports Military Times.  After a summer of loosened pandemic restrictions, military bases in communities where the contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is exploding among unvaccinated Americans are requiring masks again — even for inoculated troops.

Documents recently released show the Navy’s policies and procedures failed to keep pace with fast-moving technological advances during the Cold War, allowing a series of failures that led to the sinking of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Thresher on April 10, 1963, reports Navy Times. The loss of the nuclear-powered submarine and all 129 sailors and civilians aboard during a test dive in the Atlantic Ocean was both a tragedy for the families and a blow to national pride during the Cold War. The release of about 3,000 pages of documents delving into the deadliest submarine disaster in US history has not yielded any sinister effort to hide the truth, said retired CAPT James Bryant, who sued for release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.



The Navy will incur some cost in replacing Freedom-variant LCS combining gears, reports Defense News.  The exact amount is being negotiated with Freedom LCS builder Lockheed Martin – in an unexpected bill that contributed to the Navy asking to decommission two hulls that commissioned less than five years ago. Conversations between the Navy and Lockheed Martin are ongoing, even as the new combining gear solution has been tested ashore, has been installed on LCS-21 and will begin testing at sea in late September.

Task & Purpose reports that “PTSD, military sexual trauma, and eating disorders go so, unfortunately well together.” The Army’s height and weight requirements are laid out in Army Regulation 600-9, though experts say the scale, created in the 19th century, is outdated and perhaps based on pseudoscience. And the standards are creating trauma among troops.

For the first time, all active-duty military spouses will be able to participate in the DoD Active Duty Spouse Survey, launched last week, reports Military Times.

The Arctic will become “contested” without US presence and partnerships, 2nd Fleet CO warns, reports Navy Times. Enhancing presence and cultivating partnerships in the Arctic are vital to ensuring the region does not become a contested space, according to 2nd Fleet Commander VADM Andrew “Woody” Lewis. “The Arctic is a cooperative area. But it will only remain a cooperative area if we continue to build those relationships — even with the Russians. We have to work together because the environment is very, very challenging … and the environment is changing.”

Afghan president blames US speedy withdrawal for Taliban rapid advance, reports The Associated Press. Ashraf Ghani urges lawmakers to back a national mobilization drive against the Taliban amid an intensifying war between the Taliban and Afghan government forces as US and NATO troops leave. The Taliban are now trying to seize provincial capitals after already taking large swaths of land and scores of districts in more rural areas.

President Joe Biden’s administration will expand refugee access for Afghans who worked with the US, reports The Washington Post, in an acknowledgment of the perils facing those affiliated with the United States as the military withdraws. The expanded program could help “many thousands” of Afghans and their families immigrate to the US, primarily current or former employees who are not eligible under an existing program designed to aid interpreters and others with at least two years of service.

“Why was an operator, a single person, able to turn a dial that could poison the water?” asks Danny Jenkins, CEO and cofounder of the cybersecurity firm ThreatLocker, referring to a cyberattack on a Florida water treatment plant earlier this year. Jenkins told FCW, “Water companies tend to live in the past because their technologies live in the past …”

The Senate Armed Services Committee included in its version of the annual defense policy bill a provision that would require women to register with the Selective Service System, the agency in charge of administering the draft if the United States ever imposes one again. The Hill reports conservative senators are vowing a fight when the bill moves to the floor and through negotiations with the House, but even the top Republican on the committee concedes it is likely a losing battle since Republicans are split on the issue.


Aviation Systems Engineering Company Inc., Lexington Park, Maryland, is awarded an $11,057,621 modification (P00045) to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N6833516C0330). This modification exercises an option to provide technical engineering services, to include systems engineering, research and technical analysis, advanced capabilities analysis, functional requirements definition and allocation, information assurance, verification/test, system documentation, and technical data in support of maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft programs involved in the development of new operational requirements to provide improved intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking capabilities. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland (51%); Jacksonville, Florida (46%) and Seattle, Washington (3%), and is expected to be completed in February 2022. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $380,150; and fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $32,602 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

Hesco Bastion Inc., North Charleston, South Carolina (SPE8E6-21-D-00026); and Maccaferri Inc., Williamsport, Maryland (SPE8E6-21-D-0027), are sharing a maximum $500,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract under solicitation SPE8E6-19-R-0005 for the Expeditionary Barrier System. These were competitive acquisitions with four responses received. These are two-year base contracts with three one-year option periods. Locations of performance are South Carolina, Maryland, United Kingdom and Italy, with an Aug. 2, 2023, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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