November 15, 2018

Morning Coffee: Cyber Confirmation Hearings Begin

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River economic community. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Leader’s owners or staff.Morning Coffee logo

VADM Michael Rogers, President Obama’s nominee to head the NSA and US Cyber Command testifies today, Tuesday, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. This opens a week of cyber, security and defense hearings on Capitol Hill, a number of them likely contentious, reports  The Hill, which provides a list of the upcoming week’s hearings schedule.

Edward Snowden, the US fugitive who leaked NSA classified surveillance data, appeared via satellite Monday at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and technology festival. He told attendees to fight for “techno-rights.” The Hill went on to quote him regarding the ongoing efforts in Washington DC where “…you’ve got Senate intelligence committees, House intelligence committees that are cheerleading the NSA instead of holding them to account … that’s an incredibly dangerous thing.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) bill changing the way sexual assault cases are handled in the military passed the Senate Monday, 97-0. The legislation retains the current military justice system but no longer permits a good military record as a defense against sexual assault charges and offers the victim the preference of having the case heard in a military or civilian jurisdiction. Last week a sexual assault bill advanced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) fell five votes shy of the 60 needed to pass. That legislation would have removed all military sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

The Washington Post calls it a defense budget “based on hope,” saying the funds are only a “patch” during shrinking budget years to keep alive the strategic objectives to invest in technology over force, but if there is a large land war, the US will not be ready.

Defense News leads the week with the juggling that defines the Navy’s budget, itself a moving target as debates remain regarding carriers and numbers of aircraft. At the top of the questions is the future of the aircraft carrier George Washington.

The emerging architectural concept for military space is called disaggregation and the Air Force is committed to developing these platforms, reports Space News. A budget stall on satellite purchase may help advance that goal, opening a window to launch the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system, a constellation of large, secure communication satellites linked to strategic and tactical forces, a prime candidate for disaggregation.

The Air Force budget also includes $2 billion to restore “Space Fence” which helps fend high-speed orbital debris from space vessels, reports FCW. At 17,000 miles per hour, even a marble-sized object could cause catastrophic damage.  In 2012 the “fence” helped satellite owners make 75 maneuvers to avoid collisions.The original Space Fence was abandoned as a result of sequestration, but the need remained paramount and a larger scale version is proposed.

A federal judge last week opened the skies below 400 feet to small drones, overturning a fine the FAA imposed on a drone operator finding no law banning the commercial use of small drones.  Politico reports, NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty found the ban unenforceable in the absence of a formal rulemaking process.

Help Wanted @ Twitter for a public policy manager to work Washington DC for the social network that went public last year and keeps on growing. Apply here.

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., is being awarded a $43,488,133 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00174-09-D-0003) for the procurement and support of the transmitting set, countermeasures AN/PLT-5 to support explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel.  Joint service EOD forces have a requirement for man-portable equipment and support for the EOD Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) program.  The EOD CREW program provides all military EOD services with an electronic warfare capability to counter the threat from improvised explosive devices.  Work will be performed in Sparks, Nev., and is expected to be completed by March 2015.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award and contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity.

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