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Lawmakers Invest & Vote on Defense

Photo by Daniel Foster. Some rights reserved.

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.

Throughout 2021, both Democrats and Republicans serving on the congressional Armed Services committees continued to invest in or cash out holdings with important contractors in the military and defense industry, reports Business Insider. At least 15 lawmakers on a pair of House and Senate committees that control US military policy have financial ties to prominent defense contractors that together were worth nearly $1 million in 2020, according to an Insider analysis of federal financial records.

The Senate easily advanced the compromise defense policy bill Tuesday, voting 86-13 to end debate on the measure, which would authorize $768 billion in spending, reports Stars and Stripes. The bill is now set for a passage vote that would send it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

More than 300 Kentucky National Guard troops have been deployed to communities devastated by weekend tornadoes that killed at least 80 people in the state, reports Military.com. The Guard members are performing law enforcement duties, clearing debris, and supporting recovery efforts. The US Army Corps of Engineers is also in the state to set up emergency power and get return public facilities and services running.

The Navy is testing a sailboat-shaped drone in its efforts to move unmanned drones into the fleet, reports Navy Times. The sensor-packed Saildrone Explorer the Navy is testing in the Gulf of Aqaba off Jordan could provide a relatively inexpensive way to expand its sight line, according to a Navy release.

DefSec Lloyd Austin is “personally monitoring” Navy efforts in the toxic water crisis in Hawaii, reports Military Times and has sent Deputy DefSec Katheen Hicks to Hawaii to talk with Navy leaders, local Hawaii officials, experts, and affected personnel and families.

Citing the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Military Times further reports ongoing efforts include Navy divers trying to remove jet fuel from a water shaft near Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor and progress in “skimming” contaminants that floated to the surface.

The damaged, secretive US submarine Connecticut arrives in San Diego after transiting from Guam, reports Navy Times. The pricey fast-attack submarine struck an undersea mountain in October. Navy officials declined Monday to say why the sub is in Southern California, what damage the stealthy boat sustained, or when it will head north to Washington’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repairs.

The hearing for the junior sailor charged in the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard has begun, reports USNI. Navy prosecutors will make their case that Seaman Apprentice Ryan S. Mays should be court-martialed on charges that he deliberately set the 2020 fire that ultimately gutted former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and intentionally put others in danger at Naval Base San Diego.

Healthcare IT warns that findings released from password manager vendor 1Password indicate employee burnout presents a “severe, pervasive, and multifaceted security risk” for workers in virtually every industry. “Perhaps most troubling,” the 1Password report authors wrote, “we found that cybersecurity professionals themselves report disproportionately high levels of burnout.”

 

 

The Air Force has discharged 27 people for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, making them what officials believe are the first service members to be removed for disobeying the mandate to get the shots, reports AP News.

The US Army will let its unvaccinated soldiers-in-training go home for Christmas, reports Defense One. Those in basic training, advanced individual training for their jobs, the basic officer leaders course, and instructors at these schools will start traveling home for the holidays this week — regardless of their vaccine status — as the service nears its COVID-19 vaccine deadline. About 45,000 soldiers from 20 different locations across the US are expected to travel to see their families during a leave period that starts December 16 and ends around January 3.

No US troops will be punished for a deadly Kabul strike, Pentagon chief decides. The military initially defended the botched drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 civilians, but ultimately called it a tragic mistake, reports The New York Times.

A clandestine, “ruthlessly efficient” US military strike cell directed attacks on Islamic State targets in Syria that skirted protocols meant to protect civilians, leading to numerous “bad strikes,” according to new findings, reports Stars and Stripes. At times fewer than 20 people comprised the top-secret Talon Anvil unit which operated 24/7,  from 2014 to 2019, to find and strike enemy convoys, car bombs, and fighting positions, reports The New York Times.

The Taliban seek ties with the US and other ex-foes, reports The Associated Press, the new rulers saying they are committed in principle to education and jobs for girls and women. They seek the world’s “mercy and compassion” to help millions of Afghans in desperate need. Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi also said that the Taliban government wants good relations with all countries and has no issue with the United States. He urged Washington and other nations to release upward of $10 billion in funds that were frozen when the Taliban took power.

Biden announced his intent to nominate Erik K. Raven for Under Secretary of the Navy, Kristyn E. Jones for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, and Ventris C. Gibson for Director of the Mint in Treasury. Statements and releases from the nominees are here.

Biden wants to improve service delivery in the federal government, reports FCW. Seventeen agencies are involved, some listed as “high-impact service providers” are General Services Administration’s USA.gov; the Office of Personnel Management’s retirement services and federal employment services; the Social Security Administration; and the Veterans Affairs Administration and Veterans Health Administration.

On Monday, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) filed for re-election. The 82-year-old dean of the Maryland congressional delegation hopes the residents of Southern Maryland and Prince George’s County return him for what would be his 21st full term, reports Maryland Matters. “I’m running again because I think that I can continue to play a very positive role in leading us to respond to the challenges we have in a robust and effective way,” he said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has endorsed former US and Maryland Labor Secretary Tom Perez in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, reports Maryland Matters.

Contracts:

Management Services Group Inc., doing business as Global Technical Systems, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is awarded an $84,680,504 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract procures one lot of ALQ-167 and ULQ-24C pods, associated hardware for pod modifications, and technical data in support of electronic attack/electronic warfare threat simulation for weapons development, test, and evaluation, fleet training, and target applications for the Department of Defense. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is expected to be completed in December 2026. No funds will be obligated at time of award; funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was competitively procured as a small business set-aside; two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Command Weapons Division, Point Mugu, California, is the contracting activity (N6893622D0011).

Ernst and Young LLP, New York, New York, is being awarded a contract option for a maximum value of $62,049,923 for financial statement audit services for the Navy and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Alexandria, Virginia, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2023. The contract has a one-year base period with four individual one-year option periods. This contract is the result of a competitive acquisition for which one quote was received. Fiscal 2022 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds are being added to the base ($62,049,923) for a total of $112,320,734. Services Directorate, Columbus, Ohio, is the contracting activity (HQ0423-21-F-0002).

KPMG LLP, McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a fixed-price contract option for audit services of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works (CW) and suballotted funds financial statements. Work will be performed in McLean, Virginia, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2022. This contract is the result of a competitive acquisition for which three quotes were received. The contract had a 12-month base period plus four individual one-year option periods, with a maximum value of $57,693,820. This award brings the total cumulative value of the contract to $57,537,875. Fiscal 2022 USACE CW revolving funds in the amount of $12,249,634 are being obligated at the time of this option award. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Contract Services Directorate, Columbus, Ohio, is the contracting activity (HQ0423-18-F-0039).

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