February 26, 2024

Space Troopers Name Reflects Calvary

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Perhaps the name sounds like something out of a space opera, writes Task & Purpose, but  ‘space troopers’ are a real part of the United States military, more than 300 in the Joint Task Force-Space Defense actively defending US interests. As to the name, reports Task & Force, MAJ GEN Tom James, the force’s first commander, saw similarities between DoD’s  space defense mission and the calvary’s “offensive security operations, deep reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, and executing screening actions in support of friendly forces,” Bridget Bonnette, chief of public affairs for the JTF-SD said. “The term ‘trooper’ is what cavalry traditionally called their mounted and unmounted fighters.” Thus, when JTF-SD was first formed in late 2019, James coined the term ’space troopers.’

Only two US military aircraft types met their mission capable goal in fiscal 2021. According to Breaking Defense, the Government Accountability Office evaluated the availability of 49 aircraft finding most — 30 of 49 platforms assessed — were more than 10 percent below their mission capability goal in FY21. (An aircraft designated as “mission capable” means that it can fly and accomplish at least one of its ascribed missions.) According to the report, 26 aircraft failed to meet their mission capable goal during any year between FY11 and FY21, including the Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Air Force’s F-16 — two workhorse fighters.

Military Times reports, hundreds of people are still reporting health problems a year after jet fuel contaminated the Navy water system in Hawaii, according to a new report based on a survey by Hawaii state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thousands of smartphone applications in Apple and Google online stores contain computer code developed by a technology company, Pushwoosh, that presents itself as based in the United States, but is actually Russian, Reuters reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been deceived into believing Pushwoosh was based in the US capital. After learning about its Russian roots from Reuters, it removed Pushwoosh software from seven public-facing apps, citing security concerns.

President Joe Biden expects US aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia to continue to flow whatever the still-undecided outcome of the midterm elections, where Republicans remain on track to take control of the House, reports Defense News. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is in line to become House speaker if Republicans win the majority, and has said Republicans will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine.

US Census data shows that Black veterans average more than $50,000 in annual income, compared to less than $40,000 for Black Americans who never served. Military Times reports on a study out of Rand Corp. But Blacks still earn less than Whites, whether they served or not. And the military advantage still isn’t enough to help them catch up financially with White Americans, reports Military Times.

As China builds up its nuclear weapons arsenal and expands its conventional military forces, United States allies in the Pacific are asking Washington for an extended deterrence alliance in the region, three security experts said last week. There is no treaty arrangement like NATO in the Indo-Pacific that has a consultative process for the use of nuclear weapons, reports USNI News. Russia has threatened using nuclear weapons since 2014 and raised the possibility again following major setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine. Both Moscow and Beijing have included this option in publicly announced military doctrine.

China has unveiled air-launched versions of its ship-based hypersonic missile and a standoff cruise missile at the Zhuhai Airshow, going on this week in the southern Guangdong province near Taiwan, reports C4ISRnet.

Tricare’s open enrollment season starts Nov. 14 and ends Dec. 13, reports Military Times. Defense health officials advise that even if you don’t plan to make changes in your Tricare coverage for next year, you should check for any cost changes that could affect you. Open season is the only time to enroll in a health plan, change health plans, or switch between individual and family enrollment, unless you have a qualifying life event such as moving, marriage, birth of a child or retirement from active duty. If you do have a qualifying life event, you have a 90-day period to make eligible enrollment changes.

After a successful effort earlier this year to ease longstanding restrictions on service members living with HIV, LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, report NBC News,  on behalf of three individuals living with HIV seeking to end the US military’s decades-old policy of barring people with HIV from enlisting.

The Air Force and Space Force are offering one-day passes to encourage service members to get the latest COVID-19 booster before Dec. 1, reports Military.com. The COVID-19 bivalent booster, released in September is designed to provide additional protection against omicron variants of the coronavirus.



TREAS SEC Janet Yellen said the United States will impose new sanctions on a transnational network of individuals and companies that have been working to procure military technologies for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, reports Reuters. Yellen told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali the sanctions would target 14 individuals and 28 entities, including financial facilitators.

Last month, the Navy quietly shut down its child development center at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA, between Oct. 20 and 24 after seeing video footage of “sanitation policy, food safety, and accountability and supervision violations,” reports Military.com. But it was footage from Sept. 23 leading to further disclosures of multiple instance of child mistreatment. The latest letter from the Navy to parents, dated Nov. 9, from the base’s commanding officer said, “staffing changes drove most of the reasons for the shutdown” and said “ongoing investigations or administrative actions” prevent him from going into more detail. “We have extended 11 tentative offers to fill 14 vacant positions,” CAPT Jeremy Vaughan wrote.

Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met Monday in person for the first time since Biden took office, reports CNBC. “We need to chart the right course for the China-U.S. relationship,” Xi said at the opening of the meeting in Mandarin, according an official English translation broadcast.

To keep soldiers interested in the Army Reserve — and to get potential recruits interested — leaders have to get back to doing hands-on training instead of filling soldiers’ times with online tasks, says LT GEN Jody Daniels. Task & Purpose reports, many Reserve units are still operating as they did during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on administrative tasks and “stoplight charts” instead of getting soldiers out in the field. “I’m trying to push people … to get back to doing something,” Daniels said.

Three people and a Kentucky-based magnetics company have been charged with conspiring to send sensitive US military data to China and illegally supply the DoD with Chinese-made materials for aircraft systems and other equipment, reports Military.com. Phil Pascoe, 60, and Monica Pascoe, 45, of Floyds Knobs, IN, and Scott Tubbs, 59, of Georgetown, KY, had been arrested and charged with wire fraud, violations of the Arms Export Control Act, and smuggling of goods. The company, Quadrant Magnetics LLC, faces the same charges.

A recent study found that the rate of suicide among veterans who had experienced a mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion, was three times higher than the general population across the study period, from 2002 to 2018. And those with moderate to severe brain injuries were five times more likely to die by suicide. Military Times says, this knowledge may help bend the curve of the suicide trajectory among veterans.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said he expects to see significant progress soon in efforts to reduce homelessness and suicide among veterans, despite the complexity and long-term challenges of both issues, reports Military Times. In September, VA researchers announced that the number of veterans suicides in America fell to fewer than 17 a day in 2020, the lowest rate since 2016. The number of homeless veterans has fallen by about 55% since President Barack Obama in 2010 announced a goal of ensuring housing for every veteran in America. Despite the progress, an estimated 33,000 veterans are still without stable shelter on a typical night.

The world’s militaries are responsible for 5.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions and collectively produce more carbon dioxide per year than nearly every country, reports Stars and Stripes. A new report concludes that military personnel in North America and Eurasia, which includes Russia and Ukraine, each produced an average of 13 tons of greenhouse gases per year as of 2020. The figure is expected to be higher following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

Marine Staff SGT Steven T. Smiley, a drill instructor at Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC, has been charged with negligent homicide and related offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the death of PFC Dalton Beals, 19, on June 4, 2021, reports Task and Purpose.


John Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland, has been awarded a $150,001,000, cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification (P00003) to contract FA8656-20-D-0005 for Air Warfare Systems. The contract modification provides services for advanced development, acquisition, and test and evaluation of aerospace systems, to include munitions, cyber warfare and electronic warfare elements. Work will be performed in Laurel, Maryland, and is expected to be completed July 31, 2026. No funds are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $250,000,000. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $36,180,137 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-08-C-2110. This definitization modification is for work previously authorized and completed — related to the various warfare system installations and testing necessary to support the completed construction for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Work was performed in Newport News, Virginia, and has completed. Fiscal 2015 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) in the amount of $12,529,382 (35%); fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $17,118,882 (47%); and fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds in the amount of $6,531,873 (18%) was obligated for the award. No additional obligations are required for this definitization. This contract was not competitively procured. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is awarded a $27,584,830 cost-plus-incentive-fee undefinitized modification (P00078) to a previously awarded contract (N0001919C0010). This modification adds scope for the production and delivery of long-lead material in support of Band 2/5 Radar Warning Receiver integration from preliminary design review to development test complete, and associated mission data file development for the Common Reprogramming Tool for the F-35 Program. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Maryland (99%); and Fort Worth, Texas (1%), and is expected to be completed in February 2025. Fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Air Force) funds in the amount of $3,318,920; fiscal 2022 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $3,318,920; and non-U.S. Department of Defense partner funds in the amount of $1,462,160 will be obligated at the time of award, $6,637,840 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Noblis MSD, San Diego, California, is awarded a $14,882,579 modification to previously awarded contract N66001-21-D-0008 to provide engineering services and support to the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services program. This modification increases the value of the basic contract by $14,882,579 to the new value of $84,676,418. This modification will increase the ceiling value of the contract. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (86%); Norfolk, Virginia (3%); Charleston, South Carolina (3%); Yokosuka, Japan (5%); and Forward Deployed Naval Forces (3%). The period of performance is from October 2020 to October 2025. Funds will be obligated via task orders beginning fiscal 2023. Funding types include operation and maintenance (Navy); research, development, test and evaluation; other procurement (Navy); and other funding, which may include working capital (Navy) funds. The Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $10,208,247 cost-plus fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-08-C-2110. This definitization modification covers the previously authorized installation of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services system on USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Work was performed in Newport News, Virginia, and has completed. Fiscal 2018 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,177,300 (90%); and fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,030,947 (10%) were obligated at the time of work authorization. No additional funding is required for this definitization. In accordance with Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 7313(b), funding was available for the effort under contract N00024-08-C-2110. This contract was not competitively procured. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Serco Inc., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $6,835,818 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract (N66001-23-D-0007) to maintain and operate a Satellite Communication Capability-Based In-Service Engineering Activity Antenna refurbishment effort for Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific. This one-year contract includes four one-year options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $47,359,289. Work will be performed in Ludlow, Massachusetts. The period of performance of the base award is November 2022 to November 2023, and if all options are exercised, the period of performance would extend through November 2027. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as task orders are issued using operation and maintenance (Navy) and ship construction (Navy) appropriations. This contract was competitively procured using full and open competition via request for proposal N66001-22-R-0036, which was published on the System for Award Management website and the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce Central website. NIWC Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Nov. 10, 2022)


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