May 25, 2024

Morning Coffee: DoD Contracting Down in March

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

The Pentagon acquisition cutback continues with contracts falling 11 percent in March as the military slashes program spending, reports Bloomberg. The DoD announced 245 contract awards with a maximum value of $35.1 billion last month, down from $39.4 billion last year. There are no indications that defense contracting will pick up this year because of the withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan by December and the response to automatic sequestration federal budget cuts. A defense industry analyst said, “It’s not just that the defense budget is flat. It’s also that the composition of military spending is migrating away from hardware and into things like paying benefits.”

Despite General Services Administration (GSA) assurances that its supply schedules offer federal agencies the lowest prices for commercial products and services, the DoD is increasingly concerned that it doesn’t always get the best deals, reports Federal Times. In fact, there are many examples where the Pentagon, one of GSA’s largest customers, is paying more for certain products than other buyers. In response, the Pentagon issued a policy dated March 13 that requires contracting officers to determine whether GSA prices are actually fair and reasonable.

The Military Times’ “Best for Vets: Employers 2014” survey concludes that there are many companies actively hiring vets. Skills developed in the service including information technology, logistics, project management, engineering, construction, human resources and public relations are in demand in the private sector. USAA earned the number one position for the third consecutive year, with Verizon, CACI International, BAE Systems and Union Pacific completing the top five.

NavSec Ray Mabus will address sailors and Marines during a live, global all hands call April 29, at 9:30 am EST, according to America’s Navy. Mr. Mabus will talk and take questions from a world-wide Navy and Marine Corps audience via satellite, social media, Skype, in-studio participation, and telephone. The 60-minute discussion will be broadcast live on the Direct to Sailor network (DTS), AFN Pacific, The Pentagon Channel (on-air and web),, and the Navy Live Blog. The linked story provides addresses where personnel can ask questions in advance.

June 5 is the scheduled deadline for federal agencies to have their existing cloud computing solutions assessed against the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), reports NextGov. Agencies who do not comply could face repercussions from oversight bodies such as Inspectors General or the Government Accountability Office.

The DoD is reviewing ideas to spread forces throughout the Asia-Pacific as military planners explore alternatives to US super bases in regions vulnerable to cruise missile strikes, according to Defense News. Options include operating combat aircraft in basic, dispersed locations and strengthening overseas bases.

Sailors and Marines with three years or more sea time will see their first sea pay raise in more than a decade starting May 1, reports the Navy Times. Eligible personnel will now get a 25 percent sea pay raise as part of the Navy’s effort to ensure sailors are rewarded for sea duty.

DARPA’s Mobile Hotspots program is remodeling a fleet of surveillance drones once deployed over Iraq to provide aerial WiFi in various corners of the world, according to Wired. Army RQ-7 Shadow drones are retrofitted as wireless hubs for connectivity in remote conflict areas where communication can make the difference between being ambushed and getting reinforcements. Soldiers in remote areas will have the same access to tactical operation centers and mission data that others in more central theaters have.

South Korea plans to buy low-altitude radars to help detect enemy drones after discovery of three UAVs crashed near the border and suspected to be made and deployed by North Korea, reports DefenseNews. The sky-blue drones are less than 2 meters in length and width and are equipped with Japanese Nikon digital cameras.



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