April 12, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

US Failing to Fix Cyber Breach

cyber

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Worried about a “disjointed” response to what some experts say could be the biggest hack in American history, two Senate leaders urged the government to name a person to head up the cyber breach cleanup, reports C4IRSNET. In a Feb. 9 letter, Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) ― the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed their concern with the federal response to date, “… we have little confidence that we are on the shortest path to recovery.”

The Capitol Police Union begin voting today, Thursday, on a complete leadership overhaul, reports Roll Call. The rank-and-file vote is on whether acting Chief Yogananda Pittman and five other members of the department’s leadership are fit to serve their fellow officers after the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. If the no-confidence vote is successful, it would send a message to the department and the public that more than 1,000 union officers want a tectonic shift in who leads the force.

DefSec Lloyd Austin takes first steps to repair a battered Pentagon, reports Politico, installing a slate of well-respected national security professionals working to restore order to the Pentagon’s policymaking process. Those staffers are already making changes to ensure that civilian voices are included in policy meetings. Paramount are struggles to assess extremism in the ranks, reports Stars and Stripes. Of 190 people charged in the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, at least 30 are veterans.

The Pentagon is investigating how extremist groups are are recruiting new members from the military with aggressive efforts toward those soon to leave the military, reports Fox News.

Senior Navy commanders met this week with sailors on ships on the West Coast after a noose was found on one ship, and hate speech was found written on a wall on another ship, reports Navy Times.

President Joe Biden faces mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to remove Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, amid months of complaints over mail delivery delays, including prescription drugs, reports CNN. Getting rid of DeJoy is not a clean-cut process as any removal must come from the Postal Service Board of Governors.

 

 

Federal Times reports that civilian employees of the military stand a chance their assault cases will not be noticed. According to a GAO report, the Pentagon cannot accurately account for civilian employees who have experienced or perpetrated sexual assault or harassment because procedural idiosyncrasies let some cases fall through the cracks.

Sexual assault survivors are twice as likely to voluntarily leave the military, reports Military Times. The two years after a sexual assault are a make-or-break time for military careers, according to a Rand Corp. study. This is particularly true for men, according to Army Times, reporting there is more male-on-male sexual assault in the military than male-on-female.

The Marine F-35s are working in the Persian Gulf from the amphibious warship USS Makin Island (LHD-8), the first US capital ship to operate in the Persian Gulf since USS Nimitz (CVN-68) spent two months there from September to November.

President Biden visited the Pentagon this week, hoping to shift from Trump turmoil, reports Military Times, and focus to an unusual degree on domestic and internal issues, beginning with the pandemic.

Experts warn that the current pace of vaccinations will prolong coronavirus restrictions and increase the likelihood of new variants infecting the previously immune, reports The Washington Post.  Health experts say the Biden administration must set its sights higher than its pledge of “at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots” in 100 days.

The coronavirus pandemic is being immortalized in unofficial  “Survived COVID” military patches and challenge coins sold near US bases in South Korea, reports Stars and Stripes. Some patches display biohazard symbols or virus clusters, one shows a bottle of beer named “Covid 19 Extra” and many feature logos for military units stationed on the peninsula.

The Senate impeachment trial is seen as an obstacle to a bipartisan COVID-19 deal, reports The Hill. Republicans claim that Democratic leaders in Congress want to ram a partisan COVID-19 measure through the House and Senate in the coming weeks. “COVID negotiations are a problem because they aren’t listening to us. They don’t even want to talk to us,” a  GOP lawmaker said.

Suzanne Clark becomes the first female CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, reports The Washington Post, the country’s largest business lobbying organization. Clark replaces Thomas J. Donohue, 83, who led the 109-year-old organization for 24 years and built up the chamber financially and politically during his tenure.

The White House is looking for ways to speed up visas for foreign interpreters stranded in war zones, reports Military Times. Nearly 120,000 foreign translators who aided US forces have applied for special visas to resettle in America, most located in and around Iraq. The process under the best of circumstances can take more than 36 months, and slowed significantly in recent years. At least 7,000 visas meant to be available to Afghan allies went unused last year, according to State Department figures. Advocates blame that not on a lack of interest from foreign allies but on inefficient or intentionally troublesome bureaucracy.

Contracts: 

BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., Sterling Heights, Michigan, is awarded an $183,840,645 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract M67854-16-0006 for Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs). The total cumulative face value of the contract is $3,304,536,113. This modification provides for the exercise of options for the procurement of 36 full rate production ACVs and associated production and fielding and support costs. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania (60%); Aiken, South Carolina (15%); San Jose, California (15%); Sterling Heights, Michigan (5%); and Stafford, Virginia (5%). Work is expected to be completed in April 2023. Fiscal 2021 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $183,840,645 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-16-C-0006).

Utility Works JV, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is awarded a not-to-exceed $70,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for architect-engineer services for utilities engineering and management support for Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) worldwide. The work to be performed includes, but is not limited to, utility engineering, infrastructure management, operation and maintenance and utility management services, which will support electrical generation, transmission and distribution systems; water supply, transmission, treatment and distribution systems; wastewater collection and treatment systems; steam generation, transmission and distribution systems; compressed air generation and distribution systems; and natural gas transmission and distribution systems. No task orders are being awarded at this time. All work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Atlantic and Pacific areas of operations, and worldwide including, but not limited to California (20 %); Virginia (20%); Florida (15%); North Carolina (5%); South Carolina (5%); Maryland (5%); Washington state (5%); Georgia (5%); Hawaii (5%); Texas (5%); Europe, Africa, Central (5%); and Far East (5%). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of February 2026. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) (O&M,N) contract funds in the amount of $10,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by (O&M,N) funds. This contract was competitively procured via the beta.SAM.gov website with two proposals received. NAVFAC Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-21-D-0005).

Rohde & Schwarz USA Inc., Columbia, Maryland, has been awarded a $9,218,160 firm-fixed-price, requirements contract for the purchase of Versatile Diagnostic Automatic Test Station (VDATS) kits.  The purpose of this acquisition is to procure the kits required to assemble the VDATS stations.  The VDATS is an organically designed test station with open architecture and virtual modular equipment extensions for instrumentation technology.  Work will be performed in Columbia, Maryland, and is expected to be completed Feb. 9, 2026, and no funds are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8571-21-D-0006).

Raytheon Co., Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $7,580,414 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Airspace TacticaL Automation System (ATLAS) effort supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Air Space Total Awareness for Rapid Tactical Execution (ASTARTE) program, Phase One.  This contract provides for the research, development and demonstration of virtual and live testbed for airspace management systems, a series of algorithms for airspace planning and operations and a sensor network for delivering real-time spatial and temporal tracking of airborne platforms.  Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Massachusetts (32%); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (3%); Fulton, Maryland (7%); Cambridge, Massachusetts (48%); Dulles, Virginia (5%); and Durham, North Carolina (5%), with an estimated completion date of February 2021.  Fiscal 2020 research and development funds in the amount of $670,000; and Fiscal 2021 research and development funds in the amount of $1,724,000 are being obligated at the time of award.  This contract is a competitive acquisition in accordance with the original broad agency announcement HR0011-20-S-0039.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

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