March 28, 2023

Stop Buying F-35 Parts From Turkey

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the Pentagon to more quickly to stop buying F-35 fighter jet components from Turkey. Defense News reports Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) complained in a letter to DefSec Mark Esper that plans to buy parts from Turkey into 2022 undercuts US pressure on the country over its purchase of the Russian S-400 Triumf air defense system.

The top US general in the Middle East is skeptical that Russian bounties led to troops’ deaths, reports Military Times. Gen. Frank McKenzie said the intelligence was worrisome, but he is not convinced that bounties resulted in US military deaths. He warned, however, that Russia has long been a threat in Afghanistan with reports that it has backed Taliban fighters with resources and weapons.

House appropriators made their first cut at the annual defense spending bill this week approving spending $3.5 billion below the Trump administration’s request — although lawmakers added a substantial $4.1 billion for several weapons systems, including 12 additional F-35s, reports Breaking Defense.

House lawmakers are also looking to the defense spending bill to include $1 million to strip all Confederate names from US Army bases, reports Business Insider. The legislation would rename the 10 US Army bases named for Confederate leaders of the Civil War: Fort Bragg in North Carolina; Fort AP Hill, Fort Lee, and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Gordon and Fort Benning in Georgia; Fort Rucker in Alabama; Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana; and Fort Hood in Texas.

Civil rights and activist groups blast Facebook’s response to demands of an advertiser boycott that now includes hundreds of brands, reports CNN. “Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands,” said Free Press Co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez. “Facebook approached our meeting today like it was nothing more than a PR exercise.”

Navy’s new effort to crack down on racism, sexism won’t “fizzle out,” says CNO ADM Mike Gilday, reports The Navy’s task force will examine policies in nine areas: recruiting; pre-accession mentoring and scholarship opportunities; talent management; training and education; detailing; fitness reports and evaluations; promotions; military justice; and health care.

“It’s shocking and heartbreaking,” Martina Chesonis, an officer in the Air Force Reserve, said of the death of Army SPC Vanessa Guillén while stationed at Fort Hood. “And not surprising.” The Washington Post reports servicewomen find the case emblematic of a military culture that downplays or ignores allegations of sexual harassment and assault that pressures men and women to keep accusations quiet.



Military’s top appeals court to consider whether retirees can be court-martialed, reports

Lt. Col. Jonathan Kassebaum, an Air Force pilot, is set to return to the skies for the first time Monday since an accidental electrocution in his backyard pool just over eight months ago caused his heart to stop for 12 minutes, reports Stars and Stripes.

The Air Force pilot shortfall is not sufficiently improving, closing out 2019 with roughly 1 in 10 bomber, fighter and special operations pilot billets vacant, reports Air Force Times. In some areas, the situation is consistently heading in the wrong direction.

The program manager for the oft-delayed and over-budget aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford was fired last week, reports USNI. Captain Ron Rutan moves to the NAVSEA staff; Capt. Brian Metcalf takes command. Full ship shock trials are scheduled for fiscal 2021. The Navy sees the change of command as “the opportunity to recharge and allow for fresh eyes on upcoming challenges.”

A defense spending bill written by House Democrats aims to reverse President Trump’s move to transfer $3.8 billion in weapons spending to build the US border wall. The Hill reports the House Appropriations Committee would have the defense appropriations bill return unspent money transferred in February out of DoD, back into its original accounts.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, makes expanding and protecting collective bargaining rights a key point of his campaign’s appeal to public-sector workers, reports FCW.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suffered a fall last month that required an overnight stay in the hospital, reports The Washington Post. The 65-year-old chief justice was taken by ambulance to a hospital after the June 21 incident at the Chevy Chase Club, which was serious enough to require sutures. He stayed at the hospital overnight for observation and was released the next morning.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee’s appropriations bill includes funding to buy nine Navy ships, including the second Virginia-class attack submarine, reports USNI News. The HAC-D legislation includes $22.3 billion in shipbuilding funds for the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the two Virginias, two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, one frigate, and two towing ships – and a San Antonio-class Flight II amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) that the Navy did not include in its request.

A new facility at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, opens to treat active service members diagnosed with TBI or PTSD, reports Air Force Times. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting service members with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder, has launched many centers devoted to these “invisible wounds.” Tulane University received a $12.5 million grant for the creation of a new Center for Brain Health, which will focus on treating brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans, reports Military Times.

The National Defense Authorization Act should prompt a rethinking of costly US foreign policy, opines Defense One, offering a chance to end wars and programs that are not worth their price.

More states are seeing ICUs reach capacity as coronavirus spreads, reports PBS, with infections are on the rise in 42 states this week and the national total passing the 3 million mark. There is emerging evidence of airborne transmission, reports CNN.

The defense industry has made major strides reducing the impact of COVID-19 on operations, decreasing total closings of facilities to six on Monday from a high of 148 in mid-April, according to the Pentagon agency that oversees contracts, reports Bloomberg.

The Trump administration has begun withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization, reports The Washington Post. The notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, was sent to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. Under the terms of a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1948, the US must give a year’s notice and pay its debts to the agency in order to leave.

Boeing declines to confirm reports that it is preparing to end the five-decade-long production run of the 747, but Aviation Week reports that key suppliers were briefed in 2019 on the company’s plans to complete deliveries in 2023.


Appleton Marine Inc., Appleton, Wisconsin, is awarded a $23,375,696 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the replacement of up to 35 Navy slewing arm davits (SLADs), associated test reports and spare parts for each SLAD, and 11,300 hours of engineering support services for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division. Work will be performed in Appleton, Wisconsin (80%); and onboard Navy ships in the following locations: Norfolk, Virginia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Mayport, Florida; Everett, Washington; San Diego, California; Williamsburg, Virginia; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan; and Rota, Spain (20%), as determined on individual task orders. Work is expected to be completed by July 2025. Fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funding in the total amount of $2,256,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured as a small-business set-aside via the website and two offers were received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N64498-20-D-4018).

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