January 25, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

SolarWinds: Pearl Harbor of American IT

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An investor in SolarWinds has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, FCW reports, accusing the firm of failing to disclose a breach to its customers, after discovering its IT management software, SolarWinds Orion, had been compromised. ZDNet calls the breach the Pearl Harbor of American IT, reporting the more we learn, the worse it gets. Ongoing assessments of the breach suggests 18,000 SolarWinds customers and at least 250 government agencies and businesses have been affected by what has been determined as a Russian-initiated attack.

The intrusion exploited seams in US defenses while remaining invisible to America, The New York Times reports. “This is looking much, much worse than I first feared,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The size of it keeps expanding. It’s clear the United States government missed it.”

A Gaithersburg, MD, biotech firm will begin testing of a new coronavirus vaccine at the Womac Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, NC, reports Military.com. Novavax wasn’t initially chosen as part of Operation Warp Speed, but received a $60 million DoD contract to research and manufacture its vaccine. The military wants volunteers for the Phase 3 clinical test of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, which uses a stabilized form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to generate an immune response.

President Donald Trump directed acting DefSec Christopher Miller to reverse course and order a US aircraft carrier Nimitz to return to the Middle East, reports CNN. SUS Central Command wanted the carrier to stay in the region to deter Iran at a time of rising tension. Iran has reportedly raised enrichment levels and seized a South Korean ship in recent days. According to the Navy Times, these decisions  appeared aimed at increasing Tehran’s leverage in the remaining days in office for President Trump, whose unilateral withdrawal from the atomic accord in 2018 began a series of escalating incidents.

 

 

Bracing for possible violence, the nation’s capital mobilized the National Guard ahead of planned protests by Trump supporters in connection with the congressional vote expected today, Jan. 6, 2021, to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory, reports Military Times. Trump’s supporters are planning to rally, seeking to bolster the president’s unproven claims of widespread voter fraud.

The Army is examining ways to use autonomous vehicles to retrieve injured soldiers from the battlefield, reports National Defense. RE2 Robotics received $1.1 million in funding from the Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center to work on a dexterous two-arm system able to reach the casualty and safely maneuver that soldier onto the autonomous vehicle.

Funding for the Army’s robotic systems grew from $17 million in fiscal 2015 to $379 million requested for 2021, reports National Defense. The Army wants robotics to keep troops out of harm’s way and serve as battlefield force multipliers. Its robotics portfolio includes everything from small unmanned aerial systems and ground robots to logistics trucks and combat vehicles to soldier-borne exoskeletons.

The Pentagon has six months to disclose to Congress what it knows about UFOs, reports Military.com. The $2.3 trillion omnibus appropriations legislation passed last month includes the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal 2021, which includes the 180-day requirement. Lawmakers are concerned that there is “no unified, comprehensive process within the federal government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat,” according to the bill’s text.

The Department of Veterans Affairs reports 6,772 patient deaths from coronavirus, surpassing fatality totals from Iraq and Afghanistan wars, reports Military Times. VA officials list 6,756 military casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom (from 2003 to 2010) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2001 to 2014). The coronavirus deaths have occurred across the past 10 months.

Pentagon reported 7,150 new COVID-19 cases last week, reports Defense News.

The House’s top GOP appropriator, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) has tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Washington to begin the new session of Congress, reports Defense News. Granger is one of several dozen lawmakers and the latest senior lawmaker on defense matters to test positive for COVID-19 since March.

DOD formalizes a special access program to give select companies more access to classified information, reports Air Force Magazine, hoping more insight will make contractors more efficient and cost-conscious.

The Air Force’s new X-ray scanner, taking only two minutes to inspect an incoming commercial vehicle, is in use at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL, reports UPI. Tyndall is the first base to use the Mobile Vehicle Access Control Inspection System, reports Defense News. Deployed last month, the system significantly reduces the inspection time of vehicles arriving with construction supplies.

The Navy now accepts credit cards to pay tuition assistance debts, reports UPI. The new process allows payment by credit or debit card, electric funds transfer or use of PayPal, and can be executed on mobile devices or computers, officials said.

SpaceX wins a $150 million launch contract, reports C4ISRNET.com, selected by the Space Development Agency to launch its first 28 satellites. The $150 million contract is for two launches. SpaceX is expected to conduct the first launch in September 2022, according to the Dec. 31 contract announcement. All satellites need to be on orbit by March 31, 2023.

USAF begins basing MQ-9s in Romania, reports Air Force Magazine. About 90 airmen are now based at Romanian Air Force Base 71 at Campia Turzii to support the surveillance and attack drones. They are assigned to the 31st Expeditionary Operations Group, Detachment 1, under the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. “The forward and ready positioning of our MQ-9s at this key strategic location reassures our allies and partners, while also sending a message to our adversaries that we can quickly respond to any emergent threat,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the US Air Forces in Europe and Africa.

Contracts:

LTM Inc., Havelock, North Carolina, is awarded a $124,083,257 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost contract to assist the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East Fleet Support Team with integration of Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) maintenance and supply functions, maintenance scheduling in accordance with NAE constructs, as well as provide logistics and technical support services. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, North Carolina (85.94%); Richmond, Virginia (3.63%); San Diego, California (3.63%); Norfolk, Virginia (1.82%); Yuma, Arizona (1.37%); Patuxent River, Maryland (1.36%); and various locations within the continental US (2.25%), and is expected to be completed in January 2026. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. The Commander, FRC Procurement Group, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N68520-21-D-0002).

Atlantic Diving Supply Inc., doing business as ADS, Virginia Beach, Virginia (SPE8EJ-21-D-0020); Federal Resources Supply Co., Stevensville, Maryland (SPE8EJ-21-D-0021); Noble Supply Co., Inc., Rockland, Massachusetts (SPE8EJ-21-D-0022); SupplyCore Inc., Rockford, Illinois (SPE8EJ-21-D-0023); Tactical Survival Specialties Inc., Harrisonburg, Virginia (SPE8EJ-21-D-0024); and W.S. Darley & Co., Itasca, Illinois (SPE8EJ-21-D-0025), are sharing a maximum $33,000,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract under solicitation SPE8EJ-18-R-0001 for the fifth generation Special Operations Equipment (SOE) Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) program. The scope of work under the SOE TLS program includes the total logistics support for the special operational equipment requirements of Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) customers to include military installations, federal agencies, and other authorized DLA customers located worldwide. This was a competitive acquisition with 29 offers received. These are two-year base contracts with four two-year option periods. Locations of performance are Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois, with a Jan. 4, 2023, ordering period end date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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