May 16, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Visionary or Destroyer of Marine Corps?

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.

Is Commandant of the Marine Corps GEN David Berger a visionary or ending the Corps as America’s 911 force? Marine Times ruminates on the Corps’ evolution toward a smaller, dispersed, missile heavy, naval fighting force and reports a number of respected retired Marine generals strongly ­condemn Berger’s vision. Some say he is destroying the Corps from within.

Deputy DefSec Kathleen Hicks met Wednesday with the chief executives of the eight largest US defense contractors to discuss industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia continues for years. Hicks told reporters Tuesday the classified roundtable with defense CEOs is to discuss “what can we do to help them, what do they need to generate supply.”

Eight to 10 flights full of aid for Ukraine are reaching eastern Europe daily, reports Air Force Magazine. Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby said, “There’s more than 30 other nations contributing various amounts of material — some weapons, some not, some a mix, and we are helping coordinate the deliveries into Ukraine of all that material, not just ours, but of others at various trans-shipment sites in the region.”

After being grounded a month, containers start coming off the Ever Forward, reports gCaptain. Containers started coming off Saturday amid the ongoing effort to lighten and refloat the ship in Chesapeake Bay. The operation follows two unsuccessful attempts to refloat the ship late last month. Approximately 500 of the total 4,964 containers on board are expected to be offloaded prior to the next refloating attempt, according to the Coast Guard.

A quartet of logistics drones capable of carrying up to 50-pound payloads will embark on a US aircraft carrier later this year to see if the unmanned aerial vehicles are practical at sea, reports USNI. The test, led by the experimentation and prototyping division at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, is a response to Military Sealift Command and Naval Air Forces Atlantic seeking a faster way to send critical parts to warships underway.

Pentagon looks to vastly expand weapons for Ukraine, reports Military Times. The Biden administration is poised to dramatically expand the scope of weapons it is providing Ukraine, including transferring armored Humvees and a range of other sophisticated equipment. The new aid package could be worth $750 million.

Politico explains why prosecuting Russian war crimes in Ukraine could be complicated. War crimes are notoriously difficult to prove and prosecute, even with the right evidence and eyewitness accounts, the murder of civilians by Russian forces may not present a clear-cut case. War crimes are generally accepted as “grave” breaches of the Geneva Conventions established in the aftermath of World War II to ensure protection of civilians caught in the midst of war and combatants who could no longer fight.

The Washington Post reports investigation of a suspected use of a chemical poison against Ukrainians in the city of Mariupol faces numerous challenges, starting with the fact that key evidence is located in a war zone.

Ukraine’s security services on Tuesday said they had arrested pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is President Vladimir Putin’s closest and most influential ally in Ukraine, reports Reuters.

Virginia GOP official David Dietrich resigns after revelation of his call to lynch the defense secretary, reports Military Times. The chair of a Virginia electoral board stepped down Monday after pressure from fellow Republicans, including the state’s governor, following a resurfaced racist Facebook screed against DefSec Lloyd Austin and retired Army LT GEN Russel Honoré posted in early 2021. The Republican Party of Hampton first called for his resignation.

A Facebook post from Tricare celebrating “Autism Acceptance” draws ire from military families with autistic members, reports Military Times. Families complained that recent DoD policy changes have resulted in cuts in coverage for autism treatment.

 

 

A former researcher at a high-profile cryptocurrency group, Virgil Griffith, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison on Tuesday for conspiring to help North Korea evade US sanctions using cryptocurrency, reports Reuters. He was arrested in 2019 and pleaded guilty last September to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by traveling to North Korea to present on blockchain technology.

Taiwan’s military released a handbook on civil defense for the first time on Tuesday, giving citizens survival guidance in a war scenario as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine focuses attention on how the island should respond to China’s pressure, reports Reuters.

House lawmakers consider four bills that provide greater support for military sexual trauma survivors, reports Stars and Stripes. Military sexual trauma is a term used to describe sexual assault or sexual harassment that a veteran experienced during their service, accord to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA reported in May 2021 that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 50 men said they experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment during their service in the military. “From equitable access to health care and benefits to strengthening programs that will help veterans lead a life of meaning and purpose, these bills will help strengthen the institution tasked with serving our increasingly diverse veteran population,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

With a final frenzy, Maryland’s 444th General Assembly has adjourned. Maryland Matters reports the state’s 188 lawmakers churned through hundreds of bills, left more than a few behind, and played the usual parliamentary games. As always, there are winners and losers.

Pregnant Marine officers near Quantico, VA, can borrow maternity uniforms at no cost, reports Marine Corps Times, in a pilot program that could save them hundreds of dollars.

Soldiers who last saw paratrooper SPC Enrique Roman-Martinez alive face courts-martial, reports Military Times. Seven of the eight North Carolina-based soldiers who were camping with the Fort Bragg paratrooper face conspiracy and other charges. Roman-Martinez’s partial remains were found along the coast in 2020. Eight soldiers assigned to the 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, were camping on Cape Lookout National Seashore when Roman-Martinez was reported missing in May 2020. Roman-Martinez’ severed head washed up six days later, but his body was never recovered. The manner of his death is listed as a homicide, but no one has been charged with his death.

Defense News quotes deputy DefSec Kathleen Hicks voicing concerns that a “substantial decline” in competition in the defense-industrial base, particularly around small businesses, will complicate the Pentagon’s efforts to capture innovation and value for taxpayers. She said DoD was down to about five prime contractors which has declined the small-business base during the past decade. Hicks believes consolidation and competition is needed to maintain an edge over China and Russia.

Contracts:

Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, Falls Church, Virginia, was awarded a $697,844,325 fixed-price-award-fee contract for design and construction of East Campus Building #4 and a 1,186,000 square-foot parking structure at Fort Meade. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed at Fort Meade, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of April 13, 2026. Fiscal 2022 military construction, defense-wide funds in the amount of $83,201,443 were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W912DR-22-C-0012).

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