December 3, 2023

Marine One Operational, Not Yet Secure

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 Marine Corps has declared the new VH-92A Presidential Helicopter operational and is beginning the process of integrating them into the fleet that carries the US head of state as “Marine One,” reports The Drive. But problems with the all-important secure communications system the helicopter carries could delay its full entry to service unless a fix is funded.

Amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) departed Naval Station San Diego, CA, on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific on Monday, USNI News reports. This is the first deployment of the 45,000-ton, big-deck amphibious ship which left San Diego to gather F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters for further  testing of the Marine’s “lightning carrier” concept. The lightning carrier can load up to 20 of the short take-off, vertically landing F-35s.

Ukraine has formally closed its four Black and Azov sea ports, which Russian forces have captured, Reuters reports. The Azov Sea ports of Mariupol, Berdiansk and Skadovsk, and the Black Sea port of Kherson were closed “until the restoration of control, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said on Monday.

Breaking Defense has an Infographic: The weapons and equipment the US has given Ukraine so far.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches its third month, airmen from Aviano Air Base in Italy prepare to take over for Air Force fighter jets from Spangdahlem Air Base currently serving as the US contingent in NATO air policing efforts in Romania, reports Military Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not fit to serve, said Senate Armed Services Committee member Thom Tillis (R-NC), and any opportunity to restore ties with Russia will need to be predicated on the next leader of the country, reports Stars and Stripes. His comments follow a declaration from President Joe Biden in March that Putin “cannot remain in power.”

Leonard Glenn Francis, the military contractor better known as “Fat Leonard,” will not be called by the prosecution to testify against five former naval officers charged with accepting bribes from him, it was revealed in court Monday. Union Bulletin reports prosecutors did not address why they are forgoing testimony from Francis, the mastermind of the long-running conspiracy who has already pleaded guilty and been cooperating with the government for years. Nor do they have to.

The DC National Guard is sending recruiters into the streets in downtown Washington, DC, in full fatigues, Military Times reports, exchanging phone numbers with potential recruits and handing out pamphlets about joining the District of Columbia National Guard. In March, the DC guard opened its first proper recruiting office in the city since 2010. The commander, MAJ GEN Sherrie McCandless, describes the move as a new push for visibility and an emphasis on the guard’s local connections at a time when many residents might be ripe for recruitment.

The Biden administration is pushing for permanent US residency for Afghan refugees as the number of visas granted to former interpreters and others who worked with the military dipped dramatically after the August withdrawal. reports that the drop-off in Afghan visa approvals has left tens of thousands of former allies in limbo after the Taliban takeover, as Americans now focus on the plight of Ukrainians caught in a new European war.

Thousands of people have fled a northern Iraqi town amid fierce clashes between the army and a militia linked to a Kurdish separatist group, reports Al Jazeera. At least 3,000 people left Sinjar and its surrounding areas on Monday and headed north toward the semi-autonomous Kurdish region to seek safety.

Private spaceflight company Rocket Lab did a lot more than launch 34 satellites into orbit this week, reports After sending the satellites on their way the first stage of the two-stage Electron launcher returned to Earth under parachutes and while gliding toward the Pacific Ocean, a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter sidled up close and snagged the parachute line with a hook. The chopper later hauled the booster to a recovery ship, which will transport the hardware back to terra firma for inspection and analysis.



MAJ GEN Stephen M. Neary was relieved of command overseeing Marine forces in Europe and Africa in October 2020, after Marines alleged he used what a report from investigators would categorize as the “full N-word” after overhearing some service members listening to rap music in his headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, reports

In October 2021, Marine instructors’ inappropriate comments, including calling one service member “whore” and “slut,” drew no disciplinary action against any of the instructors involved, Task & Purpose reports. The investigator, an active-duty Marine officer at the same Marine training location at Dam Neck, VA, proposed “remedial training” after looking into substantiated allegations of sexual harassment, inappropriate relationships with students, drinking on the job, and forcing students to say phrases like “it is a great day for wieners in my mouth” during official training.

The widely publicized leak of the potential Supreme Court move to overturn abortion rights has sent protesters onto streets, including abortion-rights advocates rallying outside the court chanting, “Do something, Democrats,” reports Reuters. Overturning abortion-rights would be a triumph for Republicans who spent decades building the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority.

The Naval Postgraduate School has signed a new contract with Microsoft to explore technology in four cyber research areas, reports NextGov. The school is a Navy command with access to military facilities which Microsoft will revamp to include an on-campus innovation lab to explore cloud networking and study potential military applications for gaming, modeling, and simulation.

Deanna Ryals joined what was then the US Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in 2012. Now director of the International Affairs Directorate at Space Systems Command, her office is still focusing on building international partnerships around satellite communications, but the mission has expanded to include weather and missile warning and tracking as well, reports C4ISRNET.

CIA Director William Burns has named Nand Mulchandani of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to serve as the CIA’s first-ever chief technology officer, reports FCW.

Tyndall and Offutt Air Force bases were devastated by natural disasters three years ago and the rebuilding will last most of the 2020s, BRIG GEN William H. Kale III, the Air Force director of civil engineers, told the House Appropriations military construction subcommittee. The Air Force has already received $5.3 billion in 2020 to rebuild the bases, but will need more funds in fiscal 2023 and 2024, reports Air Force Magazine.

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $238M over five years for the EPA to support Chesapeake Bay restoration projects, reports Maryland Matters. The EPA will distribute $40 million directly to the six Bay watershed states, the District of Columbia, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to administer grants for Bay restoration projects. Maryland will receive $3.21M, Pennsylvania $5.59M, Virginia $3.14M, New York $1.28M, Delaware $750,000, and West Virginia and the District of Columbia will each receive $500,000. The state funds will mostly go to farmers to improve local rivers and streams that run to the bay, according to a news release.


Verato Inc., McLean, Virginia (HS0021-22-F-0018), was awarded an $8,026,416 firm-fixed-price task order against HS0021-19-A-0005 for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). The task order provides for tri-merge credit reports and credit monitoring services as part of the background investigation mission. Work will be performed in McLean, Virginia. This order will be funded with defense working capital funds with $2,478,155 obligated at time of award. The anticipated period of performance is from May 17, 2022, through May 16, 2023. This requirement was synopsized on the Government-wide Point of Entry website as a small business set-aside on May 1, 2019. As a result, 13 small businesses were solicited and one offer was received, which was then justified in a single source determination. DCSA Acquisition and Contracting, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded May 2, 2022)

Pueo-St. Michael’s JV LLC, Fredericksburg, Virginia, was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H92400-22-D-0004) in the amount of $150,000,000 (maximum ceiling value) with a five-year ordering period to provide Special Operations Forces Enterprise Professional Services (SEPS) in multiple locations inside and outside the continental U.S. Fiscal 2022 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,500 (minimum contract guarantee) were obligated at the time of award. Funding will be provided on a task order basis with an estimated ordering period expiration date of May 16, 2027. The solicitation resulting in this contract was competed amongst small disabled veteran owned small business concerns using Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 15 procedures with three proposals received. US Special Operations Command Headquarters, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity.

Austal USA, Mobile, Alabama, is awarded a $230,545,382 fixed–priced incentive (firm target) contract modification to previously awarded contract N00024-19-C-2227 to exercise the option for the detail design and construction of Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 16. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama (63%); Fairfax, Virginia (10%); Novi, Michigan (10%); Houston, Texas (3%); Slidell, Louisiana (2%); Franklin, Massachusetts (2%); Rhinelander, Wisconsin (2%); and Chesapeake, Virginia (1%); with other efforts performed at various locations throughout the US (4%), and various locations outside the US (3%). Work is expected to complete by October 2025. Fiscal 2022 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $230,545,382 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

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