DARPA Loses Contact With Hypersonic Aircraft (Again) [GovWin] – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency lost contact with the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2) for the second time in as many test flights yesterday. The Lockheed Martin aircraft, which was launched by an Orbital Sciences Minotaur-4 rocket, is designed to fly 13,000 MPH.
Tech sector hit by decline in government IT spend [MarketWatch] – Tightening federal budgets have impacted government IT contractors, as Cisco recently announced an 18 percent slide in federal orders, Computer Sciences Corp. says its book-to-bill ratio has decreased through the year and GTSI experienced a 34 percent drop in first-quarter revenue. While firms such as Avent Arrow Electronics have not been impacted, they are watching development closely.
Medicare agency to launch major contracting initiative for virtual data center [NextGov] – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a pre-solicitation notice for a series of indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts for both small and large businesses to support its virtual data center contract. A webinar for interested bidders will be held on August 24.
Labor Department plans database to gauge discrimination by contractors [Government Executive] – The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is proposing to combat workplace discrimination by creating a new database of information on salaries, wages and benefits offered by federal contractors and subcontractors. Comments will be accepted until October 11.
Oregon team finishes NOAA’s Newport job [Portland Business Journal] – Andersen Construction, West Coast Contractors and gLAs Architects completed a $28 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration project in one year to construct the Marine Operations Center-Pacific facility at the Port of Newport, Ore. Challenges included having a lot of contractors working together and only being able to work in the water after November 1 to not disturb juvenile salmon.
War Budget Cuts Possible if We Counter Contractors’ Multimillion-Dollar Campaign Spending [Huffington Post] – Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Films, and Derrick Crowe, a political director at Brave New Foundation, note that defense contractors have given around$1 million in political donations to the 12 members of the deficit committee and will attempt to use that to fight against defense cuts. The two authors are helping to launch the War Costs campaign to fight the contractor effort, as they believe the war budget can be substantially cut without serious consequences.
Korean-Americans work to save U.S. gallery [Korea JoongAng Daily] –The South Korean government signed a ten-year contract with the Smithsonian Institution in 2007 to provide money for a Korea Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History. The U.S.-Korea Arts Foundation, which fears the gallery may close because of poor promotion and attendance, has organized a field trip program to try to ensure the gallery remains open.
Astronauts from last shuttle mission visit Michoud [Albany Times Union/AP] – The four astronauts on the last shuttle mission moved up their traditional post-mission thank you visit to the Michoud Assembly Facility so it would occur before this month’s round of Lockheed Martin layoffs. The contractors, who build external fuel tanks, noted the event was sadder than the usually joyous celebration it has been in the past.
This Day in GovCon History, August 12, 1960: Echo I Satellite Launched [GovWin] – Learn about the 1960 NASA launch of the Echo I passive satellite, a large balloon-like aircraft constructed by then little-known G.T. Schjeldahl Company. The satellite was the forerunner of today’s less-conspicuous active satellites.
DOD Contract Announcements
Contract Announcements for August 11, 2011 [Defense.gov] – Huntington Ingalls Industries won a $56.6 million Navy contract modification for continuation of construction preparation efforts for the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, while National Steel and Shipbuilding gained a $24.5 million modification for fiscal 2011 extended docking phased maintenance availability for the U.S.S. Harpers Ferry. Small business APIC won a $8.7 million modification for commercial prototyping process technology needed to develop and fabricate prototype photonic integrated circuit chips for use on Navy and other defense networking and communication systems. See the full announcement for more details and other awards.
Federal Register Updates
Acquisition Regulation Miscellaneous Changes – The Department of the Interior is amending its acquisition regulations for consistency with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and inserting a clause on contract administration roles and responsibilities.
GovCon Is Everywhere
The Military: Closer to You Than Your Family [International News Media] – David Swanson muses about how a seemingly non-military town such as Charlottesville, Va., is actually home to military branches and many defense contractors. He notes that the town claims the National Ground Intelligence Center and numerous Starbucks (actually a major DOD supplier) – also pointing out that eatery Pig Daddy’s BBQ took a 2006 contract of $4,311.
At Least Guam Is Too Hot to Need Benchwarmers
Air Force Needs Team Benches for Fitness Center at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base [Guam Buildup News] – The Air Force is soliciting small businesses for intramural team benches for the Andersen Coral Reef Fitness Center at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The eight benches must be easily moved, use the tip-and-roll mode to maneuver them into any suitable arena, and offer lumbar support.
Storm and Thor Must Have Bid Lower
IMPACT: Marines cancel contract for device that used lightning to attack roadside bombs [Center for Public Integrity] – Marine Corps Systems spokesman Jim Katzman said the service pulled an offer for a new $3 million contract with Applied Energetics for a weapon designed to zap roadside bombs with bolts of lightning because the solution was not meeting the requirement. The failure of the Joint IED Neutralizer, a Tesla Coil-like device to pre-detonate the bombs, made the company a poster child for foolhardy attempts to use technology to beat bombs.