May 17, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

US Closes Arms Deal for Ukraine

US DefSec Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and StateSec Antony Blinken pose for a phot0 during their meeting April 24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office)

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.

More than a dozen European allies will get nearly $400 million in new US grants to buy American military hardware to backfill weapons they’ve donated to Ukraine from their own stockpiles, reports Defense News. This financing is different from previous US military assistance for Ukraine. It is not a donation of drawn-down US stockpiles, but rather cash countries can use to purchase supplies from the US.

Russia accused NATO of creating a serious risk of nuclear war by arming Ukraine in a proxy battle as Washington and its allies met Tuesday to pledge the heavy weapons Kyiv needs to achieve victory. US officials have shifted emphasis this week from speaking mainly about helping Ukraine defend itself to bolder talk of a Ukrainian victory delivering a blow to Russia’s ability to threaten its neighbors, reports Reuters.

Moldova held an urgent security meeting on Tuesday and the Kremlin voiced serious concerns after two blasts damaged Soviet-era radio masts in the breakaway region of Transdniestria where authorities said a military unit was also targeted, reports Reuters. The Moldovan authorities are sensitive to any sign of growing tensions in Transdniestria, an unrecognized Moscow-backed sliver of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine.

An unexploded bomb from World War II was safely defused over the weekend by members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, according to the city of Nagoya, reports Stars and Stripes. The fuse of a 550-pound incendiary bomb, believed to be American-made, was removed around 11:30 am Sunday at a construction site near Nagoya Station.

Dr. Craig Martell, in charge of machine learning at ride-share company Lyft, will soon lead efforts to accelerate, align, and harness data, analytics, and artificial intelligence at the DoD, reports C4ISRNET. Martell becomes the Pentagon’s first chief digital and AI officer, a position that was unveiled late last year and is still being fleshed out.

Major upgrade costs continue to rise, plus there are repeated delays on critical simulation tests and on a full-rate production decision, increasing the risk that the Defense Department buys faulty F-35 jets that need to be fixed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. Defense News reports, in Monday’s report, GAO found that the cost of the F-35′s Block 4 modernization effort grew to $15.1 billion in 2021, $741 million more than the estimated cost in 2020.

Veterans Affairs officials this week will add nine respiratory cancers to the list of illnesses presumed caused by burn pit exposure, easing the path veterans suffering from those conditions have to take to get disability benefits, reports Military Times.

Commercial space companies are providing real-time insight into Russian military activities and support to Ukrainian forces, humanitarian organizations, and journalists covering the invasion. C4ISRNET reports they are also providing a present-day case study for policy discussions about how much of this intelligence should be shared in open-source environments and how the US should respond if commercial assets are targeted by an adversary.

 

 

Four private astronauts made history this week, splashing safely down on Earth, on April 25, after completing the first fully private crewed mission aboard the International Space Station, reports Space.com. The SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, FL, ending the Ax-1 mission that Texas-based aerospace company Axiom Space launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on April 8.

NASA has selected 17 early-stage innovative studies that could benefit space missions in the future. These studies include custom-made spacesuits for Mars travel and new planetary defense technology that could pulverize asteroid threats, reports Space.com. The funded studies in the latest round of funding for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program totals $5.1 million.

Al Jazeera continues its list of key events on Day 62 of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Russia unleashed a string of attacks against Ukrainian rail and fuel facilities Monday, striking crucial infrastructure far from the front line of its eastern offensive, which Britain said has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough, reports Military Times.

The Navy’s FY23 budget proposal calls for decommissioning all five of the non-carrier-based Growler squadrons, which have a total of 25 aircraft. The EA-18G Growler first deployed in 2009 and is considered the premier airborne electronic attack platform in the US military, says The Drive.

The Navy is pursuing a nine-ship multi-year procurement plan for its next batch of Arleigh Burke Flight III destroyers, reports USNI. While the current proposal is to buy nine destroyers, the Navy has the option to purchase an additional ship to make it a 10-ship buy across the five-year spending plan.

Federalized National Guard troops have been deploying to the US-Mexico border for nearly four years, with no end in sight, reports Military Times. Without a set of parameters or milestones to allow a withdrawal from the border, Air Force GEN Glenn VanHerck, head of US Northern Command, suggests increasing the budget and modernizing Customs and Border Protection, so they no longer need the military’s support.

The Defense Innovation Unit, a DoD organization to make faster use of emerging commercial technologies, opened a new hub in Chicago to expand its presence in the Midwest, reports C4ISRNET.

FCW reports the Army failed to define key metrics to determine whether soldiers would actually find its tactical augmented reality goggles useful – a move that could cost nearly $22 billion in taxpayer funds, according to a recent watchdog report.

With Elon Musk on his way to owning Twitter, employees have some questions for Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Board Chair Bret Taylor, reports CNN. Twitter employees raised questions about everything from what the deal would mean for their compensation to whether former US President Donald Trump would be let back on the platform. Agrawal told staff that is something they should ask Musk and said, “Once the deal closes, we will know what direction the platform will go.” The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Contracts:

Marstel-Day LLC, Fredericksburg, Virginia, is awarded a $30,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for environmental planning and conservation within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington area of operations and US territories. The work to be performed provides for the design, engineering and environmental services as necessary to support the development of facility concepts in both the planning and/or procurement process of various projects or initiatives. Work will be performed in Washington, DC, and US territories. The term of the contract is not to exceed 66 months with an expected completion date of October 2027. Fiscal 2022 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $50,000 (minimum contract guarantee) are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No task orders are being issued at this time. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operation and maintenance (Navy). This contract was competitively procured via the beta.sam.gov website with five proposals received. NAVFAC Washington, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N40080-22-D-0010).

AERMOR LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is awarded a $7,961,671 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide cyber test and evaluation support services for the Operational Test & Evaluation Force Aviation Warfare Division. The contract will include a 48-month base ordering period with an additional six-month ordering period option pursuant of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.217-8 — option to extend services, which if exercised, will bring the total estimated value to $9,000,000. The base ordering period is anticipated to begin May 2022, and is expected to be completed by May 2026; if the option is exercised, the ordering period will be completed by November 2026. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia (99%); and Virginia Beach, Virginia (1%). Fiscal 2022 research, development, test, and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,500 will be obligated to fund the contract’s minimum amount and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Individual task orders will be subsequently funded with appropriate fiscal year appropriations at the time of their issuance. This contract was competitively procured with the solicitation posted on the beta.sam.gov website as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside, with four offers received. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk, Contracting Department Norfolk Office, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00189-22-D-0016).

L3 Technologies Inc., Systems Company, Camden, New Jersey, is awarded a $205,899,580 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-reimbursement, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract for engineering, manufacturing, and development; engineering support labor; low-rate initial production systems, and spares for the Shipboard Panoramic Electro-Optic/Infrared (SPEIR) program. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $593,050,756. Work will be performed in Mason, Ohio (54%); Northampton, Massachusetts (16%); Bothell, Washington (12%); Hamilton, Ontario (7%); Austin, Texas (7%); Tulsa, Oklahoma (2%); Norfolk, Virginia (1%); and various locations across the US, each less than 1% (1%), and is expected to be completed by November 2025. If all options are exercised, work will continue through March 2031. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test, and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $11,000,000 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N00024-22-C-5514).

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