April 23, 2024

Navy’s Challenge: Try to Hack the Machine

A team of midshipmen and airmen from the Naval and Air Force academies participate in HACKtheMACHINE at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City in September 2019. The contest is where people from diverse backgrounds and professions work alongside military and government personnel to help the US Navy solve its foremost cyber and technical problems. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Ilyankoff/Released)

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.

Military and civilian participants are invited to compete in HACKtheMACHINE this week to help solve digital, data, and cyber problems, reports Breaking Defense, with cash rewards for the top competitors. RADM Lorin Selby, head of the Office of Naval Research, sees the hack event as analogous to the US Navy’s flight demonstration team, which was created to boost recruitment. “What does the Blue Angels for geeks look like?” he said. HACKtheMACHINE Unmanned is the first in a series of technology challenges aimed at accelerating discovery and teambuilding between the Department of the Navy, industry, and academia for the creation of groundbreaking unmanned and autonomous systems, according to the Office of Naval Research.

The Pentagon has begun discussions with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and Cyber Command about how to work together to improve cybersecurity for US allies, reports Defense News. “We’re hearing frequently from our allies and partners” across NATO, in Europe and in the Asia Pacific region “requests for assistance in the cybersecurity arena,” said Mieke Eoyang, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy.

A new unmanned aerial system built by General Atomics made its first flight over the summer, reports Breaking Defense. The drone can carry more firepower than anything currently in the US military’s UA inventory, including the capability to launch 16 Hellfire missiles.

The USS Nimitz returned to its home port at Puget Sound on November 9 after “a minor material deficiency” in the ship’s nuclear propulsion plant was found, reports Navy Times. The ship had begun its sea trials just a few days before, following six months of maintenance.

The attack submarine New Jersey (SSN-796) was christened on Saturday in Newport News, VA, reports USNI News. “New Jersey and her sister ships will fill an ever-increasing need to counter Russia in the Atlantic, and China’s growing anti-access threats in the western Pacific,” said VADM Johnny Wolfe, head of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs.

USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13) was christened at Austal USA over the weekend in Mobile, AL, reports MarineLink. The ship is one of two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships Austal is currently building for the Navy, while the start of construction on the future USNS Point Loma (EPF 15) will begin this month

About 300 US State and Defense Department officials are expected at this week’s Dubai Airshow, reports Breaking Defense, though there will be fewer senior Pentagon leaders. The F-35 will not be on display. This year DoD is showcasing the KC-46 tanker, P-8 Poseidon, and F-16 among other planes.

The event in the United Arab Emirates is the first major air show since the COVID-19 pandemic began, reports CNBC, and should generate plenty of discussion on issues such as supply chain challenges, the commercial aerospace and the travel industries, as well as military sales.

UAE conglomerate Edge Group unveiled a series of vertical takeoff and landing UAVs as well as a precision-guided munition system on the Dubai show’s first day, reports C4ISRNET.

The Advanced Helicopter Training System Team at NAS Pax River was named the Navy’s Competition Excellence Acquisition Team of the Year, reports The BayNet, for its program to achieve Milestone C/Full Rate Production and four contract awards (three competed) in just a year and a half. The AHTS Team is one of six NAVAIR teams to win a DoN Acquisition Excellence Award this year from 170 nominations across the Navy.



Congress may soon introduce some programs to make military vehicle training safer, reports Marine Corps Times, after a Government Accountability Office report found Army and Marine Corps safety lapses led to thousands of vehicle accidents and over 100 deaths.

Poland said it will acquire 300 second-hand Cougar mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles from the US as part of efforts to modernize the country’s land forces, reports Defense News.

A recent study finds that US military surgeons are losing their skills as the number of surgical procedures performed in military hospitals has declined, reports Military.com. According to the JAMA Surgery analysis, 16.7% of general surgeons in the military in 2015 met the military’s surgical standards, while just 10.1% met the threshold in 2019.

The Pentagon said that dozens of family members of American troops remain in Afghanistan, reports The Hill. The Defense Department is instructing all US military personnel and civilian employees with immediate family members in Afghanistan seeking evacuation to contact the department.

US Navy veteran Jordon Daniel and a group of volunteers are helping Afghan refugees resettle in the Denver, CO, area, reports Military.com. Since August, Team Rubicon has helped settle more than 110 Afghan families in Colorado.

Task Force Holloman is working with Afghan refugees at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, as they go through the resettlement process, reports Military Times. Since the end of August, the base has been hosting a rolling average of about 4,500 Afghans.

Taliban forces held a military parade in Kabul using captured American-made armored vehicles and assault rifles and Russian helicopters, reports Reuters.com.

The Michaels Organization has acquired the 2,100 Fort Belvoir, VA, homes formerly owned by Clark Realty Capital, reports InsideNoVa.com. Fort Belvoir’s housing, like much of the privatized housing within the DoD, was deemed to have unacceptable living conditions in 2019. Michaels has also purchased housing at seven other bases.

Visitors participate in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration Flower Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 9, 2021. (US Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser/Arlington National Cemetery / released)

Soldiers have guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour of every day since 1948. Military.com describes the training that tomb sentinels undergo in preparation before they can walk the 21 steps behind the tomb. For the first time in nearly a century, visitors were allowed last week to walk on the plaza and lay flowers in front of the tomb as part of a two-day event, reports NPR. The event was one of many at Arlington National Cemetery marking the centennial of the tomb, the grave of three Unknown Soldiers, and a symbolic tribute to the memory of all US service members through history, according to DoD.


Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Plymouth, Minnesota, was awarded a $63,873,200 firm-fixed-price contract for ammunition procurement. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Phoenix, Arizona; Coachella, Santa Clara, and Morgan Hill, California; Crawfordville, Florida; Burlington, Iowa; Waukegan and Northbrook, Illinois; New Albany, Indiana; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Elkton, Maryland; Ironwood, Michigan; Thief River Falls, Anoka, Eden Prairie, Shafer, Plymouth, White Bear Lake, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis and Elk River, Minnesota; Purchase, New York; Yankton and Clear Lake, South Dakota; New Berlin, Germantown, Milwaukee and Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin; Keyser, West Virginia; Jonesborough, Tennessee; Austin, Palestine, Fort Worth and Texarkana, Texas; and Aschau, Germany, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 29, 2023. Fiscal 2020, 2021 and 2022 procurement of ammunition, Army funds in the amount of $63,873,200 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-22-C-0006).

Mantech Advanced Systems International Inc., Herndon, Virginia, has been awarded a $45,515,277 modification (P00061) to previously awarded FA8819-18-C-1001 for specialized acquisition and operations security services in support of US Space Force (USSF) mission areas. This contract modification provides for the exercise of an option for continued sensitive compartmented information and special access program security services for the Space Systems Command and USSF operational units under the basic contract. Work will be performed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California; Vandenberg AFB, California; and Peterson AFB, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 16, 2022. Fiscal 2021 missile procurement; operations and maintenance; and research and development funds in the amount of $45,515,277 are being obligated at the time of award. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $150,651,880. Space Systems Command, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity.

Melwood Horticultural Training Center Inc., Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is awarded a $13,833,794 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification to a previously-awarded contract (N40080-21-D-3504) to exercise Option One for custodial services at the US Naval Academy complex. This award brings the total cumulative contract value to $28,182,507. The work to be performed provides for custodial services such as trash removal, cleaning, vacuuming, floor cleaning and scrubbing, re-lamping, specialized cleaning of the John Paul Jones Crypt, and basketball floor installation and removal. Work will be performed in Annapolis, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by November 2022. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Fiscal 2022 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,528,274 for recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the option period. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.

US Marine Management Inc., Norfolk, Virginia, was awarded a $9,899,997 firm-fixed-price contract for the oil tanker M/V Maersk Peary for the transportation of Defense Logistics Agency purchased fuel stocks in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2022. This contract is a 75-day charter with no option periods. While work under a time charter may be accomplished worldwide and is expected to be performed between the Mediterranean Sea and Antarctica, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 14, 2022. Working capital funds (transportation) in the amount of $9,899,997 are obligated for fiscal 2022, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website and seven offers were received. The Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N3220522C4178). (Awarded Nov. 9, 2021)

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