January 25, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

Senate Preps to Override NDAA Veto

McConnell

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.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled the Senate to return Dec. 29 for a potential veto override on the defense bill, reports The Hill. President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act passed by both houses with veto-proof majorities. The rare post-Christmas session will allow the Senate to “process” a veto override, if an override is passed by the House.

The $1.4 trillion omnibus FY21 spending package and $900 billion COVID-19 relief measure passed by Congress includes $671.5 billion in base defense spending and $656.5 billion in non-defense spending. It also provides for $77 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations spending, plus $3.1 billion in emergency funding to fund agency operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Federal News Network.

The $696 billion defense spending bill released Monday morning as part of the $2.3T mega budget package passed Monday night represents a $2.6 billion increase above 2020-enacted levels but $2.1 billion less than Trump’s 2021 budget request, reports Defense News.

The 2021 NDAA requires the military to provide properly fitting body armor for female service members, reports Military.com, and to develop centralized reporting on the injuries caused by years of requiring women to wear wrong-sized ballistic protection. Two combat veterans co-authored the provisions, Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

Among the internal diversity reviews ongoing throughout the military, warfighting equipment reviews found “we were eliminating about 44% of the US female population right off the bat” through aircraft design, McClatchyDC quotes Jennifer Whitestone, an biomedical engineer with the Air Force’s Airman Accommodation Laboratory.

The National Reconnaissance Office successfully completed its final launch of the year last week, making for six mission launched into orbit in 2020, reports C4ISRNET. For NROL-108, the agency utilized a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was NRO’s second dedicated launch with SpaceX, the first in May 2017. NRO prides itself on a robust and broad based launched schedule, noting its fifth launch the week before in the NROL-108 press release.

There are 128 new VA sites for veterans, staff to get coronavirus vaccine, reports Military Times. Department of Veterans Affairs officials will expand coronavirus vaccine distribution to 128 additional sites this week, nearly quadrupling the locations where staff and veterans can receive the long-awaited immunization.

 

 

COVID-19 pandemic highlighted mariners as essential workers from ferry crews to masters of Triple E-class container ships, reports USNI News. The pandemic is impacting future shipbuilding and threatening the survival of smaller shipping companies. But the most pressing crisis, according to the International Maritime Organization, is use of “no crew change” clauses. With the pandemic in its 10th month, as many as 400,000 seafarers remain on board ships working beyond the expiration of their seafarer employment agreements, some not being paid and all unable to be repatriated. A similar number remain stuck ashore, unable to work, resulting in lost wages.

The military needs to crack down on extremists within the ranks, reports Task & Purpose. A DoD report released last week found the US military does not adequately track service members who have been radicalized by white supremacist groups. It also determined that the Uniform Code of Military Justice needs to be updated to address extremist activities by troops.

New York reaches a deal with Northrop and the Navy to clean up an aerospace site, reports Navy Times. The $406 million plan is to clean up a massive plume of underground contamination left from Long Island’s heyday as a hub of aerospace manufacturing.

The US Military Academy is investigating 73 West Point cadets accused of cheating on an online calculus test last spring, reports UPI after a test grader found 73 with similar error; 72 were first-year students, one was a second-year; of those, 58 cadets admitted cheating on the May exam.

At Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, the Army’s extended range cannon gets a direct hit on target 43 miles away, reports Defense News.

The combined NATO force on the ground in Afghanistan now outnumbers the US contingent, reports Military.com, as the US scrambles toward a mid-January deadline of 2,500 troops, down from 13,000 last February when the US signed a 14-month withdrawal agreement with the Taliban. About 4,000 US troops remained as of this week. As of late November, some 11,000 NATO troops remained from several dozen nations — a figure that includes the US contingent.

A US aircraft carrier and 2,500 Marines remain off the coast of Somalia as the Pentagon repositions forces in Africa, reports USNI News. “To be clear, the US is not withdrawing or disengaging from East Africa. We remain committed to helping our African partners build a more secure future,” AFRICOM commander GEN Stephen Townsend said. “We also remain capable of striking al-Shabaab at the time and place of our choosing—they should not test us.”

Ahead of the first anniversary of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani’s death, a senior US general says Iran still eyes retaliation against the US, reports The Washington Post.

A partnership of the US Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, the Dutch Caribbean coast guard, and the US Coast Guard, interdicted seven suspected drug-smuggling vessels in the Caribbean in 10 days, reports Seapower.org. The collaboration seized more than 3,700 pounds of cocaine, worth more than $64 million and apprehended 19 suspected drug smugglers.

Former Tuskegee Airman Alfred Thomas Farrar dies at age 99, reports Air Force Times, days before a ceremony planned to honor his service in the program that famously trained Black military pilots during World War II. Mr. Farrar left his Lynchburg, VA, hometown for Tuskegee, AL, after graduating from high school to began his aviation training in 1941.

Contracts:

Huntington Ingalls Inc., Newport News Shipbuilding Division, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $12,531,003 cost-plus-fixed fee and cost-plus-incentive fee contract for maintenance and modernization onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) during the fiscal 2021 planned incremental availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY). Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Virginia (88%); Newport News, Virginia (11%); and Norfolk, Virginia (1%), and is expected to be completed by September 2021. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,779,436 will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. In accordance with 10. US Code 2304 (c)(1), this contract was not competitively procured. Only one responsible source, Huntington Ingalls Inc., Newport News Shipbuilding Division, will satisfy the Navy’s requirement to support certain nuclear ship alterations and propulsion plant maintenance during the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) fiscal 2021 planned incremental availability. The NNSY, Portsmouth, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N42158-21-C-0001).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Charlottesville, Virginia, has been awarded a $10,429,905 firm-fixed-price contract for a one-time purchase of inertial measuring units. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This contract has a 32-month lead-time with no option periods. Location of performance is Virginia, with an Aug. 21, 2023, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2023 Navy working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (SPRMM1-21-P-YA82).

Avix-BGI JV LLC, Yorktown, Virginia, has been awarded an $11,822,985 firm-fixed-price modification (P00005) to contract FA4890-19-C-0004 for the EC-130H/A-10C aircrew training and courseware development. Work will be performed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; and Moody AFB, Georgia, and is expected to be completed Jan. 31, 2022, for this option period. This modification is for exercising and funding Option Year Two. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $56,316,851. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $11,822,985 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Combat Command, Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Langley AFB, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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