June 16, 2024

Life on Mars? NASA Gets Another Clue.

NASA Curiosity rover

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.

Ancient life may be just one possible explanation for NASA’s Mars rover’s latest discovery, reports CNN. A new analysis of sediment samples collected by the rover revealed the presence of carbon — and the possible existence of ancient life on the red planet is just one potential explanation for why it may be there, according to findings published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Pentagon wants next-generation night vision that can be worn like sunglasses, reports Task & Purpose. Last year, the Army unveiled its new and revolutionary Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars, which allow soldiers to see the illuminated outlines of people, obstacles, and machine gun fire with a remarkable level of clarity that hitherto had only existed in big-budget movies. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants US troops to have night vision optics that are as lightweight and compact as a pair of regular eyeglasses.

Taiwan has commissioned new naval minelayers to bolster its defenses against China, reports Defense News. President Tsai Ing-wen presided over a commissioning ceremony for the Navy’s First and Second Mining Operations squadrons, on Friday, which will operate ships able to automatically sow large numbers of small but powerful mines at high speed without the need for divers.

Army GEN Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and commandant of the Marine Corps, GEN David Berger, have tested positive for COVID-19, reports Military Times. Milley and Berger the most recent top military leaders to test positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. DefSec Lloyd Austin tested positive for COVID on January 2.

A new trucking vaccine mandate is likely to make fruit and vegetables more expensive, reports Business Insider. Vaccine mandates for truckers that haul goods over the US-Canada border could cause price hikes. The CEO of Canadawide Fruits said that the cost of transporting produce climbed 25% last week. Canada imposed the mandate on Saturday, and the US will require vaccine passports January 22.

The Navy cancels destroyer’s Hokkaido port call as coronavirus cases surge across Japan, reports Stars and Stripes. The guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale and its crew of 240 were scheduled to visit Otaru, Hokkaido, February 6-11, according to the city’s website.

US 5th Fleet commander: “dramatic uptick” in Iran’s drone use, reports Breaking Defense. What is “significantly different,” said VADM Brad Cooper, “is a dramatic uptick in the UAV activity in the region, both in terms of their capability, their profiles and the density of activity.” Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies and US Naval Institute event, Cooper said unsafe naval encounters with the Iranian military remain relatively flat.

The US Air Force needs more data to address complaints from airmen, joint service members, and civilians stationed in Germany that local officials have sought to tax their pay or collect penalties, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars. Air Force Magazine reports that in order to effectively advocate, the Air Force needs more data and more stories of families being affected.

Aljazeera reports 36 UN human rights experts released a statement Monday reporting Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalizing large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls. “We are concerned about the continuous and systematic efforts to exclude women from the social, economic, and political spheres across the country,” the statement reads.



A top military chief in Sweden said Friday that there is increased Russian activity in the Baltic Sea leading the Scandinavian nation’s military to raise its preparedness, reports Military.com. “We have decided to reposition our troops. It does not have to mean an increased threat, but we always want to adapt to the prevailing situation,” LT GEN Leif Michael Claesson told The Associated Press.

Russia thins out its embassy in Ukraine, a possible clue to Putin’s next move, reports The New York Times. The slow evacuation may be part propaganda, part preparation for a conflict or part feint, Ukrainian and US officials say. It could be all three.

The United Kingdom has begun supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, and Canada has reportedly deployed a small contingent of special forces to Kyiv amid concerns of a possible invasion by Russia, reports Aljazeera.

The US military’s anti-extremism policy might not apply to about a million reservists, reports Military Times. The National Guard says that its troops aren’t subject to the policy when they’re not on federal status. The Pentagon hopes updated extremism rules will help commanders weed out racist or anti-government behavior in their formations, but the rules may only apply when troops are on federal orders and under the command of the president.

The last Zumwalt-class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson leaves Bath Iron Works bound for Mississippi, reports USNI. The Johnson is now bound for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS, for the combat system activation that will finalize the delivery of the ships radar and weapon systems. The other ships in the class – USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) and USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) – transited from Maine to San Diego, CA, to complete the two-step combat system activation.

Inflation and unpredictable funding is straining Navy readiness, reports Navy Times. CNO ADM Mike Gilday said the Navy’s funding levels have remained “flat relative to inflation for over a decade” and the price of readiness is increasing. “Manpower, operations, and maintenance costs — which make up almost 60 percent of our budget — continue to grow above the rate of inflation. Making matters worse, inflation rose and remains at 6 to 8 percent, well above the historical average. This will likely exacerbate all of our readiness costs.”

North Korea fired two short-range missiles in its fourth launch this year, reports The Associated Press. The US Indo-Pacific Command said the missiles did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to its allies.

Hospital Corpsman Master Chief Ryan T. De La Cruz is headed to trial over alleged “maltreatment” of subordinates, reports Navy Times. Charges include assaulting a sailor and forcing a subordinate to falsify a COVID-19 test result, among other alleged infractions.

The Navy and Lockheed  haven’t reached a cost deal on LCS Combining Gear, reports USNI. CAPT Andy Gold, the program manager for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, said cost discussions are still ongoing. “And we are going to take everything under the contract that we have as remedy. And this has been a very serious problem and we want to make sure that we work with industry to hold to the terms of the contract.”

USAF looks to small businesses for some F-22 upgrades, according to a draft “open topic” on the AFVentures Small Business Innovation Research page. Air Force Magazine reports no timing is stated for the upgrades. According to a recent but undated “Focus Topics” summary in the AFVentures system, which is run by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force is looking at 14 potential F-22 upgrades.


Transoceanic Cable Ship Co. LLC, Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded a $38,716,644 modification to exercise and fund a 12-month option (P00053) under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract N3220519C3506. The option will continue to provide one U.S flagged cable ship CS Global Sentinel which will be utilized to lay and repair cable for the Department of Defense worldwide. This contract includes a 12-month base period, two six-month option periods, two 12-month option periods and one 11-month option period, which if exercised would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $205,278,277. Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by Dec. 22, 2023. Working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $25,669,666 are obligated for fiscal 2022, and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. Working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $13,046,978 for the remainder of Option Four are to be provided for fiscal 2023 and are subject to availability of funds in accordance with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.232-18 — availability of funds. This procurement was released under full and open competition, with an unlimited number of companies solicited via the beta.sam.gov website, and one was offer received. Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $7,576,692 modification (P00225) to contract W31P4Q-08-C-0418 to extend engineering, manufacturing, and development efforts for the Integrated Fires Mission Command Integrated Battle Command System development program. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of April 29, 2022. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation, Army funds in the amount of $7,576,692 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Science Applications International Corp., Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a $17,519,428 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to maintain and upgrade the current Logistics Information Operations Network System in support of Space System Command’s Enterprise Corp Special Access Program/Special Access Required programs. Work will be performed in Andover, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2027. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2022 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Space Systems Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California, is the contracting activity (FA8819-22-C-1001). (Awarded Jan. 13, 2022).

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