July 14, 2020

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Protocols Reduce Hypoxia – But No Clear Cause

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The Navy has substantially reduced hypoxic-like events in its fighters and trainers, reports Military.com, engaging a variety of methods including a “stick” device to measure cockpit oxygen and an overhaul of maintenance protocols. But after spending $50 million and producing 8,000 pages of technical documentation, there is still no single, identified reason for hypoxia-like events in its fighters and trainers.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci reiterated to a House panel Tuesday that the country is still in the first wave of the pandemic, reports The Washington Post. He was joined before the House panel by Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration; and Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health.

The FY21 defense policy bill reached markup stage this week in numerous subcommittees of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Both committees want details by February 2021 about who is allowed to join the Space Force and what roles they would play, reports Air Force Magazine.

The House draft of the annual defense budget policy bill would provide troops with a 3% pay raise, more child care options at bases with 24-hour duty shifts, and a new basic needs allowance for low-income military families, reports Military Times.

The HASC’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities Subcommittee focused on artificial intelligence  and oversight of IT policy, including establishing a board of directors to provide governmental and non-governmental oversight to DoD’s AI effort, reports FCW. New IT reporting requirements would give lawmakers more frequent updates on DoD’s inventory and software licensing. Also included are assessments of the National Guard, auxiliary, and nontraditional support models for significant cyberattacks, reports Fifth Domain. The subcommittee, C4ISR reports, would elevate DoD’s artificial intelligence hub to report to the deputy secretary of defense.

The HASC’s markup would allow the Air Force to retire a portion of its RQ-4 Global Hawk drone inventory in FY21 under conditions not currently met, reports Defense News. Air Force Magazine reports House lawmakers also want to ban the Air Force from retiring the E-8C Joint STARS fleet until the service finds a suitable replacement, while seeking more information on the complex network meant to take the jets’ place.

A group of Republican House members urge President Donald Trump to reconsider reducing US troops in Germany, saying their presence is the backbone of NATO’s deterrent against Russian aggression, reports Reuters.

About 45 people at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa were affected by exposure to smoke or chlorine gas from a fire that started at a hazardous materials facility, reports Military Times. More than half of about 50,000 US troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa and residents have long complained about environmental hazard, noise, and crime related to the base. In April, more than 140 tons of fire-fighting foams believed to contain cancer-causing substances leaked out of the Marine Air Station Futenma, also in Okinawa. The Defense Ministry last month said its water sampling results showed no major problems.

The United States has not asked Tokyo to pay more to keep its troops in the country, Japan’s defense minister said, after a report cited former National Security Adviser John Bolton as saying he conveyed President Donald Trump’s demand for an $8 billion annual payment, reports Reuters; although, in November 2019, Foreign Policy reported Trump requested Tokyo quadruple its payment to the US for costs of basing troops in Japan.

 

 

As large chunks of the country begin to scale back restrictions caused by COVID-19, the companies of the defense industrial base have largely reopened for business, reports Defense News.

Former US marine Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian prison last week on spying charges, hopes to be freed as part of a prisoner swap, according to Reuters.

A US soldier assigned to an installation in Europe has been charged with trying to plan a deadly ambush on members of his own unit with the help of an “occult-based neo-Nazi” group known as the Order of the Nine Angles, reports Army Times.

More than 4,000 workers went on strike against one of the US Navy’s largest shipbuilders Monday after rejecting a three-year contract. It was the first strike by production workers at Bath Iron Works in 20 years, reports Defense News.

The National Guard’s unprecedentedly busy year is not promising any let up. Even as thousands demobilize from responses to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd, the Guard’s historically busiest time of the year — hurricane season — is just beginning, reports Military Times. And weather patterns indicate 30% more storms this year, says the National Guard Bureau’s director of operations.

Garrison commander Col. Phillip Sounia was relieved of his command of Fort Bragg on June 19, reports ABC for “loss of trust and confidence in his abilities to command.” Fort Bragg has had a string of deaths within the past year, including a paratrooper who died in May, reported by Stars and Stripes.

Airbus’ A380 product line is being shuttered as no more orders have been placed for the superjumbo jet and next-generation aircraft are taking its place. The last A380 will reach Emirates in mid-2021, reports Business Insider. Airbus opened its A220 final assembly line in Mobile, AL, last month. Construction began in 2019 following a vow by Airbus to produce the aircraft in the US after a trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier saw Airbus take a majority stake in the program.

USNI report the Navy and its lead builder for a new class of ballistic-missile submarines hammered out a cost and incentive plan for the full-rate construction contract of $9.5 billion for first two Columbia-class (SSBN-826) boats, pending DoD approval.

Contracts:

Thales Defense & Security Inc., Clarksburg, Maryland, has been awarded a maximum $81,800,432 firm-fixed-price contract for Airborne Low Frequency Sonar spare parts. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 US Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a five-year one-month contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Maryland, with a July 30, 2025, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2025 Navy working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPRPA1-20-C-Y043).

Hardwire LLC, Pocomoke, Maryland (W91CRB-20-D-0026); Leading Technology Composites Inc., Wichita, Kansas (W91CRB-20-D-0027); and Point Blank Enterprises Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida (W91CRB-20-D-0028), will compete for each order of the $57,914,467 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of small arms protective inserts. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 22, 2025. US Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

CORRECTION: The following contract numbers were omitted from a June 19, 2020, announcement of a multiple-award contract to provide equipment, training and product support to approximately 3,500 Air Force Special Warfare operators, as well as authorized users in support of Special Warfare mission requirements: Federal Resources, Stevensville, Maryland (FA8629-20-D-5003); W.S. Darley & Co., Itasca, Illinois (FA8629-20-D-5052); US21 Inc., Fairfax, Virginia (FA8629-20-D-5053); Atlantic Diving Supply Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (FA8629-20-D-5054); and Tactical & Survival Specialties Inc., Harrisonburg, Virginia (FA8629-20-D-5055).

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