July 15, 2020

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No Punishment – But No Protest in Uniform

Protest in Uniform
Master Sgt. Acie Matthews engaged with protestors to show solidarity and request compliance with the state curfew at the grounds of the Minnesota state capitol on June 1. The Minnesota National Guard stood to protect citizens and infrastructure as people protested on the steps of the capitol building. (US Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Linsey Williams)

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We don’t want to punish our soldiers,” ArmySec Ryan McCarthy said. He acknowledged emotional challenges National Guard members face while responding to civic protests of the May 25 death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody. But Secretary McCarthy reiterated, soldiers and airmen cannot protest in uniform.

Mr. McCarthy also weighed in along with DefSec Mark Esper as open to renaming posts named for Confederate generals, reports Army Times.

An F-35’s landing gear collapsed after landing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, reports Air Force Times. The F-35, assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing, had just finished what the base described as a routine training flight. The pilot left the aircraft and is having a routine medical evaluation, base officials said. A safety review board will investigate the incident.

We are experiencing “caution fatigue” — and our brains are to blame, reports CNN Health. You were likely vigilant at the pandemic’s outset, consistently keeping up with ways to ensure you didn’t get infected with the coronavirus or infect others. When the sense of immediacy fades, caution fatigue can occur and people show low motivation to comply with safety guidelines. The brain’s process to cope with threats ultimately makes this happen, but you can take steps to override it.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) returned to port Sunday after its latest at-sea testing period with mixed results, reports USNI. While the carrier operated with the most complex air wing to date, the ship’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) suffered a power handling system failure that prevented the carrier from launching planes for five days.

Key debates on the military protest response as well as DoD budget priorities are the topics of closed meetings this week on Capitol Hill, reports Military Times. Unlike their House counterparts, most of the Senate Armed Services Committee conducts its mark-up of the defense authorization bill behind closed doors, saying it allows seamless transition between classified and non-classified topics. The full committee’s mark-ups begin today, Wednesday. At the same time, Congress is negotiating with the Pentagon to discuss with DefSec Esper the recent protest response.



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: June 8, 2020 

Retired Capt. Scott Bethmann, USNA Class of 1980, a trustee of the Naval Academy alumni board, resigns after a racist Facebook outburst. USNI reports he may not have realized his comments posted to Facebook Live, in the conversation with his wife that included racial slurs against African-Americans and negative comments regarding the Naval Academy’s admission of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and women.

Four service members were injured when a C-130H overran the runway at Camp Taji, Iraq, reports Air Force Times. The C-130H Hercules crashed into a wall, sparking a fire with seven crew members and 26 passengers aboard. Among the injured were two pilots.

The Trump administration’s plan to pull American troops from Germany worries US lawmakers, reports Military Times. A key House ally of President Donald Trump and other congressional lawmakers criticized reported White House plans to withdraw thousands of US service members from Germany, calling it a short-sighted decision which will hurt military readiness. “This is a dangerously misguided policy,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), and third-ranking Republican in the House, tweeted. “If the United States abandons allies, withdraws our forces and retreats within our borders, the cause of freedom — on which our nation was founded and our security depends — will be in peril.”

Black troops call for words to turn to deeds in the military during a US Force Korea forum, reports Stars and Stripes. The forum was recorded and broadcast live on the family-friendly US Army Garrison Humphreys’ Facebook page. Nearly 19% of active-duty enlisted service members were black, but only 9% of the officers, according to a 2018 DoD report.

Last week the Air Force’s top lawyer presented documentation showing young, black enlisted airmen are punished more frequently than their nonblack counterparts, reports Stars and Stripes. Last year, the 47,827 black airmen in the service were nearly twice as likely as the 232,730 white airmen to receive nonjudicial punishment, and the rate which black airmen faced courts-martial was also nearly double the rate for whites.

The Army adjusts its  “leader first” policy, plans to integrate women into last nine brigade combat teams this year, reports Army Times, as leaders loosen the requirements governing how many female mentors must be in units before lower ranking women arrive there, the service has announced.

Bureau of Prisons riot squads deployed in DC have been criticized for wearing no identifying insignia or clothing. Citing safety and security numbers, deployment dates are not released, reports FCW. The American Federation of Government Employee Council of Prison Locals C-33 represents BOP employees and affirmed, June 8, the union’s support for the protests against police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement and reinforced support for the law enforcement union locals under its banner.

Commissaries have remained open during the pandemic and are making more money than ever, reports Military Times. On March 13, the commissary system posted the highest one-day dollar amount of sales — $34.5 million — in the history of the Defense Commissary Agency. Like all grocery stores, they are seeing a surge in sales but a reduction in visits. Newly eligible shoppers are enjoying the benefits also.

The Washington Post reports Tesla workers in California tested positive last month for the novel coronavirus following chief executive Elon Musk’s defiant reopening of the company’s main production facility in Fremont.

Federal agencies plan to allow at least some part of their employees to continue to work remotely due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, reports FCW. Federal agencies implemented various techniques to assure productivity and security from their teleworkers. Some, like the National Archives and Records Administration, took advantage of new funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to strengthen its telework protocols.


APTIM Federal Services LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, is awarded a $129,174,167 firm-fixed-price contract for the dismantlement and disposal of the Surface Ship Support Barge, a radiologically controlled Navy support facility. Work will be performed in Mobile, Alabama (65%); Norfolk, Virginia (25%); and Andrews, Texas (10%). This contract will accomplish engineering planning efforts, dismantlement, transport and disposal of the Surface Ship Support Barge. Work is expected to be complete by June 2023. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $129,174,167 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Beta.Sam.gov website and one offer was received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N00024-20-C-4139).

PAE Applied Technologies LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $38,556,254 modification (P00100) to previously awarded cost reimbursable, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract N00421-14-C-0038. This modification exercises an option to extend services and adds hours in support of range engineering, and operations and maintenance for the Atlantic Test Range and Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and is expected to be complete by December 2020. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,933,227; fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,577,000; fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Defense-wide) funds in the amount of $982,810; fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Defense-wide) funds in the amount of $110,000; and fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $55,000 will be obligated at the time of award, $3,620,227 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, is awarded a $17,694,948 modification to previously awarded cost-plus award fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract N00024-16-C-4306 for the US Ship Harry S Truman (CVN-75) fiscal 2020 extended continuous incremental availability. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Virginia. An extended continuous incremental availability (ECIA) includes the planning and execution of depot-level maintenance, alterations and modifications that will update and improve the ship’s military and technical capabilities. The fiscal 2020 US Ship Harry S. Truman ECIA is comprised of 117 total work items. The nuclear aircraft carrier’s (CVN) private sector maintenance addresses the maintenance, repair and modernization efforts for CVN 68 Class home, ported-in and visiting the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area, as well as for selected non-nuclear propulsion plant repairs while coordinating with the Naval Supervising Activity, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), to properly integrate their efforts with nuclear propulsion plant work conducted by NNSY. Work is expected to be complete by January 2021. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $16,468,117 will be obligated at time of award, and funding in the amount of $17,694,948 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Mid Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, Norfolk, Virginia, is the administrative contracting activity (N00024-16-C-4306).

Kreative Technologies LLC, Fairfax, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price contract in the amount of $9,996,142 for enterprise information management (EIM) support. This contract provides non-personal services for operations, sustainment and engineering support of work-flows and capabilities utilizing agile methodology that will incorporate a more efficient and streamlined process to identify, develop and deploy system updates resulting in improved user experience, system performance and system availability. The contractor will also provide system administration and user support associated with software operation and maintenance, provide Tier III application and system support remotely, and provide “tiger team” on-site support as needed. The contract scope also includes the EIM sustainment and updates of non-production environments. The contract has a period of performance for 12 months and a transition out period for three months. The contract was awarded through the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program. The place of performance is Falls Church, Virginia. The Defense Health Agency, Enterprise Medical Services Contracting Division, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, is the contracting activity (HT001520F0024).

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