July 19, 2018

Russia Bolsters Military Base at Poland’s Border

Poland's Border
map by FreeVectorMaps.com

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.

Satellite photos show Russia building up infrastructure at a military base on Poland’s border ahead of the Trump-Putin meeting, reports Defense One, including new structures and other bunker improvements in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad made in the run-up to this week’s start of the NATO summit.

President Donald Trump demanded NATO allies increase defense spending immediately as NATO leaders gathered Wednesday at a summit in Brussels, reports NPR, noting that Germany’s energy dependence on Russia undermines its independence. Hours before Trump landed in Brussels, Defense News reports the US Senate passed a non-binding measure, 97-2, that expresses support for NATO, its mutual self-defense clause and calls on the administration to rush its whole-of-government strategy to counter Russia’s meddling in the US and other democracies.

The nonbinding NATO directive as well as one regarding reforms in foreign investment in the US are part of the Senate’s official move this week to reconcile its version of the $716 billion annual defense policy bill with the House, reports The Hill. The Senate version also seeks to block President Trump’s deal to revive Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE. Leaders hope to have the bill done by the end of July.

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, former commander of the Fitzgerald pleaded not guilty to charges he committed criminal acts leading up to the collision of the guided-missile destroyer, reports USNI News. Benson was in his stateroom asleep when merchant ship ACX Crystal collided June 17, 2017with USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan. The collision resulted in the death of seven sailors and also crushed Benson’s cabin and left him hanging on the side of the ship for 15 minutes before the crew rescued him.

Homeland Security will update its phishing protection technology to better protect mobile devices, reports NextGov. The update prevents attacks that hide inside mobile applications, social media messages, and in personal or work email messages, and additionally inspects outbound connections and alerts users and administrators to threats in real-time.

Relatives of an Okinawan taxi driver who was assaulted by Marines in 2008 have been awarded compensation by a Japanese court and plan to petition the US and Japanese governments for payment, reports Stars and Stripes.

The Pentagon seeks an automated tool that determines the classification level of documents, who should be able to access them, even automatically redact information when shared with users allowed to see some, but not all, of it. And there’s more sought as well, reports NexGov on the rest of the request for information.

Responding to a growing space race with China and Russia, DoD test-fired a new rocket engine 10 times in as many days, a critical step toward a space plane that can put satellites in orbit on a daily basis, reports Defense One.

The Trump administration is preparing more tariffs targeting Chinese exports valued around $200 billion, reports The Washington Times.  US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the tariffs of 10 percent are “a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices” in response to earlier US tariffs.

 Navy Times reports the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times denounced passage of US Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait as a “psychological game,” as the two sides square off over trade and relations with self-governing Taiwan. The editorial accused the US of adding to tensions by sailing the Japan-based guided missile destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold through the 100-mile-wide strait that divides Taiwan from mainland China.

Stars and Stripes reports DoD gave Congress its conditional support for opening on-base shopping to disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients, and caregivers of severely injured veterans, potentially adding a few hundred thousand weekly shoppers to commissaries and exchanges nationwide.

More than 6,500 users who worked at more than 200 sensitive sites across the world appear to have been unknowingly broadcasting their exercise location and their name to the entire world via their Polar Flow fitness platform, including military officials working at nuclear weapons facilities, FBI and NSA employees, and  Americans in the sensitive Green Zone of Bagdad, Iraq, reports Fifth Domain.

The Navy continues to roll out a new phase of work-ups for carrier strike group and amphibious ready group deployments aimed at boosting its surface warfare skills, reports Defense News.

Marine Corps Times reports the corps is looking to install antennas in its F/A-18 C/D Hornets to help the aircraft defeat GPS jammers.

Contracts:

General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Fairfax, Virginia, was awarded a $14,303,431 modification (F406 14) to contract W91QUZ-06-D-0012 for combined mission command network operations and maintenance information technology services. Work will be performed in Seoul, Republic of Korea, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2019. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $14,303,431 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army 411th Combat Support Battalion is the contracting activity.

CORRECTION: The contract announced on July 10, 2018, for $9,166,535 to Mabey Inc., Elkridge, Maryland (W56HZV-18-C-0128), has not been awarded.

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