January 18, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

Maverick Pilot Chuck Yeager Dies at 97

Chuck Yeager

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.

Retired Air Force BRIG GEN Charles “Chuck” Yeager, first pilot to break the sound barrier, dies at 97, reports Air Force Times. The World War II fighter pilot ace and quintessential test pilot showed he had the “right stuff” in 1947 by becoming the first person to fly faster than sound. Defense News has video of Yeager talking about that flight in 1947 and when he did it again in 2013.

Despite a particularly brutal year of ransomware incidents, Congress appears poised to let the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ term expire without creating the cybersecurity grant program sought by states, reports Scoop News Group.

Ransomware has become an enduring threat in the health care landscape, with multiple organizations suffering high-profile attacks in recent weeks. HealthCareIT News says expect attacks to ramp up with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Health IT experts expect 2021 to see the same techniques continuing to exploit novel gaps in organizations’ defenses.

The Washington Post reports at least 14 Army leaders, including a general, were fired or suspended for systemic leadership failures at Fort Hood, which has the most violent and non-violent crime in the service. Army Times says the dramatic purge addresses leadership failures and a pattern of violence that included murders, sexual assaults, and suicides. In 2020 so far, 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died due to suicide, homicide, or accidents, compared with 32 last year and 24 in 2018. Fort Hood is the third largest US military base in the world. Alaska Structures News reported in 2016, Fort Hood had 45,414 active soldiers assigned to the base and a total population of 217,000 including family members and civilian personnel.

FCC announces $9.2 billion in awards to provide rural areas with broadband access, reports The Washington Post. Large grant winners include SpaceX, Charter Communications, LTD Broadband, and the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the awards the “single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide.”

President Donald Trump plans to attend this week’s Army-Navy game at West Point, reports Defense News. The game on Saturday at the US Military Academy’s home field in West Point, NY, will be the first time since 1943 the storied rivalry plays at an academy’s field.

 

 

President-elect Joe Biden picked Lloyd Austin, retired Army general, to lead Pentagon, reports Politico. The retired four-star Army general most recently led the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq and would become the first Black leader of the department. Not out of the military for the required seven years, he needs a waiver from Congress to become secretary of defense. Lawmakers are wary to grant another just four years after Trump received one for his first defense secretary, Jim Mattis. It’s an exception granted to only two secretary nominees in the last century, reports Defense News.

The Trump administration plans to rename two bases for Space Force over military objections, reports Defense One. The Air Force had quietly agreed with Congress not to change anything until the NDAA settles a way forward on Confederate base names.

The first Britons receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a landmark moment in the pandemic, reports CNN. The UK became the first Western nation to begin vaccinating outside of clinical trials. The first Briton to be vaccinated was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan who received the first of two doses less than a week after the UK became the first country to approve it.

Years of research laid groundwork for speedy COVID-19 vaccines, reports PBS. Over a decade of behind-the-scenes research had new vaccine technology poised for a challenge just as the coronavirus erupted. “The speed is a reflection of years of work that went before,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press. “That’s what the public has to understand.”

Five US military schools close, at least through winter break, as host-nation Germany struggles with a second wave of coronavirus infections, reports Stars and Stripes.

US troop pullouts in the Mideast raise fears of Iranian attacks, reports The Associated Press. US military leaders are working to find other ways to deter potential attacks by Iran and its proxies, and to counter arguments that America is abandoning the region.

Congress will seek a one-week government funding bill as stimulus negotiations continue, reports The Washington Post. Negotiations over the stimulus bill have stalled, but lawmakers must pass a stopgap bill to avert the Saturday shutdown. The stimulus agreement is stalled over a liability shield for coronavirus-related lawsuits and how to apportion funding for state and local governments. The federal government is set to shut down after Dec. 11 if Congress fails to act on a budget.

DoD civilian employees may continue to work from home while a child or dependent family member requires care, through June 30, 2021, reports Federal Times. Normal DoD rules for civilian telework stipulate that employees may not use telework as a substitute for dependent care, such as the care needed for young children or elderly family members.

Navy releases active duty E-4, E-5, E-6 advancement quotas, reports Navy Times. According to Navy Personnel Command, a total of 19,620 sailors are being considered for 5,824 E-4 spots — equating to a nearly 30% chance of being promoted. That’s a drop from the more than 36% chance of promotion and 6,745 spots during the spring advancement cycle.

Maryland Lottery weekly winners included two $10,000 Scratch Offs winners sold in St. Mary’s County, reports SMNewsNet. One in Charlotte Hall and the other in Lexington Park.

Contracts:

Progeny Systems Corp., Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $10,179,429 firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract N00024-18-C-6410 for the procurement of MK54 MOD 1 Lightweight and MK48 Heavyweight torpedo components.  This modification is in support of the MK54 MOD 1 Lightweight and MK48 Heavyweight torpedo programs.  Work will be performed in Towcester, United Kingdom (98%); Charleroi, Pennsylvania (1%); and Manassas, Virginia (1%), and is expected to be completed by January 2023.  Fiscal 2020 weapons procurement (Navy) ($6,688,666; 66%); 2019 weapons procurement (Navy) ($2,433,593; 24%); and 2021 weapons procurement (Navy) ($1,057,170; 10%) funding will be obligated at time of award, of which funds in the amount of $2,433,593 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

Hunter Strategy LLC, Washington, DC (HQ0034-21-C-0011), was awarded a $20,954,134 firm-fixed-price, level-of-effort contract to provide support to the Enterprise Account Tracking and Automation Tool (ATAT) for the Cloud Computing Program Office. ATAT will provide Department of Defense organizations with the ability to manage cloud accounts, manage authorized organizational users, access billing information and policies and apply and enforce cloud security policies. Proposals were solicited via the beta.sam.gov website with two received. This contract award includes one base period ending on Dec. 20, 2021, with four one-year option periods potentially extending performance through Dec. 20, 2025. Work will be performed in Crystal City, Virginia.  Washington Headquarters Services, Alexandria, Virginia, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Dec. 7, 2020)

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