January 25, 2021

Art & Lifestyle:

US Finds Russia ‘Likely’ Behind Cyberhack

Cyber Threats

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.

The US intelligence community says Russia is “likely” behind major cyberhacks of federal agencies, reports The Washington Post. The announcement came in a joint statement from the FBI, CISA, ODNI, and NSA. The breach affected 18,000 customers of Solar Winds’ Orion product. The statement reads, “This is a serious compromise that will require a sustained and dedicated effort to remediate.”

Hospital ship USNS Mercy tied up in maintenance, can’t deploy for COVID relief, reports USNI. The current maintenance period is scheduled to complete in spring 2021 followed by a month of sea trials and other post-maintenance testing and training before ready to deploy. The work will help the hospital ship continue operating until its planned end of life in 2036 and will help it keep up with changes in naval aviation.

A new law will expand VA loan eligibility to early career National Guard troops who supported the COVID-19 response, reports Military Times. The provision is in this year’s Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 5.

The US reported its highest daily COVID-19 death count ever Tuesday. States are calling in National Guard and training volunteers to help boost vaccination pace as US hits a COVID-19 daily death toll record, reports CNN Health.

The VA has vaccinated 132,000 health care employees, nearly a third of its workforce, reports Federal Times. The VA employs over 412,000 people, one of the largest segments of federal employees of any agency.

BAE wins the Navy contract for a “quick-turnaround” jammer to guide missiles from aircraft to a towed decoy reports C4ISRNET. The electronic countermeasure system will be a lightweight pod mounted to the P-8A Poseidon, adding a new self-protection capability to the aircraft.

SecNav Kenneth Braithwaite “not sure” when Nimitz strike group will return from the Middle East, reports Navy Times. Heightened tensions with Iran “warrants their extension, and I am not sure how long that extension will last,” Braithwaite said.

 

 

We’ve seen a tied Senate before. Fox News explains how it has been handled before. Following the 2000 election, Sens. Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS) formed a power-sharing agreement to guide the chamber. Mr. Lott was recognized as the majority leader because VP Dick Cheney tipped the scales. In a similar split, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would be considered majority leader because VP-elect Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, would tip it to the Democrats.

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, reports Politico. Mr. Garland had been considered a risk in that it would be difficult to confirm a replacement for him on the appellate court. But with Democrats expected to have won the majority with a pair of upset victories in Georgia, confirmation issues with other candidates largely dissipated.

Mr. Biden looks to tap more Obama vets to fill key national security roles, reports Politico, including Wendy Sherman as SecState-designee Tony Blinken’s deputy. Ms. Sherman previously served as under secretary of state for political affairs in the Obama administration and was a lead negotiator for the Iran deal.

The Pentagon has set up interviews this week between Mr. Biden’s defense policy team and US commanders in Afghanistan, Africa, and South Korea. The move comes after Biden claimed that the Trump administration was stonewalling the transition process, reports Military.com.

US Strategic Command chief ADM Charles Richard, in charge of the US nuclear arsenal, told The Hill, he would “welcome” a review by the incoming Biden administration of the country’s nuclear weapons strategy, but lashed out at critics of the military’s plans for new intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Biden administration is expected to conduct its own Nuclear Posture Review and is reportedly considering cuts to nuclear modernization programs.

Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, and Fort Hill in Virginia will be getting new names, reports ABC News, after Congress’ recent override of the president’s veto of the defense spending bill.

Israel, Greece sign $1.7 billion deal for Air Force training, reports Defense News. As part of a $1.68 billion deal between Israel and Greece — the largest-ever defense agreement between the two countries — the Hellenic Air Force will acquire 10 M-346 aircraft and Israel’s Elbit Systems will establish a flight school and maintain training aircraft. Israel will also provide simulators, training and logistical support as part of the 20-year deal. It is part of an increasingly close relationship between Athens and Jerusalem that has seen Greece lease Israeli drones and also involved a pipeline deal signed last year.

Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Operator Tony E. DeDolph has agreed to pleads guilty to strangling Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, reports Military Times. His lawyer says that his client “never intended to injure”  in the hazing incident at the offsite residence where he and at least three other US military members surprised Melgar while he was sleeping, restrained him, and DeDolph, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, put him in a chokehold that unexpectedly killed him. Other charges are being dismissed as part of a pre-trial agreement, DeDolph’s attorney said.

Contracts:

Wartsila Defense Inc., Chesapeake, Virginia, is awarded a $12,287,373 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Navy submarine propeller and propulsor for on-site repairs. The contract will have a five year ordering period. Work under the contract will be completed at various shipyards within and outside of the continental US according to individual task orders and is expected to be completed by January 2026. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $186,357 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via beta.Sam.gov with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N64498-21-D-4006).

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