August 3, 2020

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US Firms Celebrate: $7.5B Foreign Military Sales

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It was a happy Independence Day for American defense companies, with almost $7.5 billion in potential foreign military sales approved by the State Department to five different countries, reports Defense News. The potential sales, announced on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, involve UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for Lithuania, E-2D Hawkeye aircraft for France, MV-22 Osprey aircraft for Indonesia, Stryker infantry vehicles for Argentina, and aviation fuel for Israel.

A policy proposal circulating among Pentagon leaders would ban display of the Confederate flag in DoD workplaces or public areas, reports Military Times. The policy is not yet been finalized or signed by DefSec Mark Esper.

The Hill reports a House spending bill for military construction would block funding for projects at bases named after Confederate leaders unless the properties are in the process of being renamed.

Senate kills NDAA language to “usurp” civilian control of the nuclear budget, reports Breaking Defense. “The compromise still achieves Chairman [Jim] Inhofe’s goal of giving the Department of Defense more direct involvement in the development of the NNSA budget, but the final approval power still rests with the Secretary of Energy,” Senate Armed Services Committee spokesperson Marta Hernandez says.

The US and Chinese navies are holding competing naval exercises in the South China Sea, reports USNI. The Reagan and Nimitz carrier strike groups sailed from the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea and last weekend held the first dual-carrier drills there since 2014.

A US envoy arrived in South Korea on Tuesday in an effort to renew stalled nuclear talks with North Korea, hours after it issued a statement saying it has no intention of sitting down with the US and told South Korea to “stop meddling,” reports Reuters.

Black cadets at the at West Point say they were subjected to racially charged harassment and weren’t taken seriously when they reported it to authorities, reports Business Insider. Nine former West Point cadets, including 1st Lt. Simone Askew, a Rhodes Scholar and the first Black female to become West Point’s First Captain; and 1st Lt. David Bindon, a first captain and the class of 2019’s valedictorian, submitted the June 25 letter to the academy, warning that it “has not taken the necessary strides” to build an inclusive environment, one that “ultimately fails to produce leaders of character equipped to lead diverse organizations.”

More than half a decade after Jackie Garrick, a former Army officer who accused DoD’s suicide prevention office of fraud prevailed in her whistleblower retaliation case, reports Military Times. “My regret remains … activities that showed promise in saving lives were cancelled. Suicides were not prevented. Grift was not stopped,” Garrick wrote. “Officials I reported moved to other agencies and continued their wrongdoing and repeated retaliation. They will be applauded as leaders, since transparency and accountability are lacking — but in reality, …  they were complicit.”



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: July 6, 2020.

Nearly 90 lawmakers are pushing for the acting DoD Inspector General to begin an independent investigation into the Army’s handling of the disappearance, and now alleged murder, of Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier, reports Army Times. A new petition launched by a grassroots group of female troops and veterans is calling on Congress to shut down Fort Hood, TX, and fire its chain of command for how it handled Guillen’s case, reports

The Air Force Association announced Monday that it will hold its massive Air, Space and Cyber conference virtually this September, due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Air Force Times.

Weather forecasters say the current tropical storm season is likely to be more active than normal, with as many as six major hurricanes, reports PBS NewsHour. But planning for these disasters is more complex with the coronavirus pandemic making it harder to stock up on emergency supplies now and will complicate evacuation efforts.

The Army is on a path to use space sensors to help its artillery, reports C4ISRNET. The service has been able to link space sensors with shooters in live-fire demonstrations in Grafenwoehr, Germany, on three separate occasions.

L3Harris has successfully launched a new demonstrator satellite for the Air Force, reports C4ISRNET. The small satellite is part of a constellation of end-to-end small satellites the company is developing for the Air Force.

The German government has paid more than $1 billion over the past decade to cover costs related to the stationing of US troops in Germany, reports Military Times. Of the total $1.1 billion paid between 2010 and 2019, according to the German finance ministry, $731 million went into construction work.

A judge has ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down for additional environmental review more than three years after it began pumping oil — a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, reports PBS. US District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, DC, wrote he was “mindful of the disruption” that shutting down the pipeline would cause, but that it must be done within 30 days.

Thomas Harker, the current US Navy comptroller, has been named the acting comptroller for the Pentagon, reports Defense News.

An infantryman formerly assigned to the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade pleaded not guilty to charges from federal prosecutors that he shared sensitive information about his unit’s upcoming deployment with a neo-Nazi group, reports Army Times.

The US Coast Guard Academy has made major changes because of the coronavirus pandemic, significantly altering the eight weeks of boot camp for new cadets, known as “Swab Summer,” reports Military Times. The 267 swabs will arrive in eight separate platoons. There will be no haircuts, no drilling, no running as a group from place to place, no lining up against the wall in the hall of the barracks for pushups.


Modern Technology Solutions Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $23,182,248 modification (P00012) to contract W31P4Q-16-D-0017 to increase the contract ceiling amount to enhance and maintain the current suite of distributed digital simulation and system of systems unique development facilities. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 2, 2021. US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Wiley Wilson Burns & McDonnell JV, Alexandria, Virginia, is awarded a $75,000,000 maximum amount, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract for multi-discipline architect-engineer services for general and administrative facilities within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington area of operations. All work on this contract will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other facilities within the NAVFAC Washington area of operations including, but not limited to, Maryland (40%); Virginia (40%); and Washington, DC (20%). The work to be performed on this contract is design and engineering services of facilities, including but not limited to, child development care, general administrative spaces, dining facilities, commissary and exchange, educational, sports and fitness facilities, museums and memorials, training and instructional facilities, wet labs and electronic laboratories. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months and work is expected to be completed by July 2025. No task orders are being issued at this time and no funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operations and maintenance (Navy). This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, and eight proposals were received. The NAVFAC Washington, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity (N40080-20-D-0018).

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