Thursday Three is Here!

July 23, 2020
Yesterday, MFAN’s executive director, Shannon Razsadin, joined Angela Caban (an MFAN Advisory Board Alum) at Military Saves to chat about empowering families in personal finance. In case you missed it, you can still catch the video here.
Speaking of our amazing people, we’re hiring! MFAN is looking for an exceptional grant and proposal writer to join our growing team. In some cases, a grant proposal is the first introduction to our organization, so a successful candidate will be skilled at making that first impression count. If you are a polished, grammar lover who can tell remarkable stories and work in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment, we want to hear from you! 
Here’s what we’re hearing about this week:

Not a lot of bang for the buck 

A five-year, $174 million defense contract raises questions about the return on investment. The ScanEagle program was intended to provide Afghan forces with surveillance drones and training on their use to target Taliban engaged in combat.
But multiple concerns were recently raised by a government watchdog report. The success of the program, and whether it is sustainable by the Afghan security forces, cannot be determined. The report indicates there has been a serious lack of oversight. Equipment has not been accounted for. And perhaps most troubling, there has been concern about the possibility that Afghan trainees of the program might have connections to the very Taliban forces they’re being trained to fight.
The ScanEagle program was meant to better prepare the Afghan security forces for the drawdown of troops and to minimize – to the extent possible – the losses they might sustain fighting without coalition support.
Measures have since been recommended to remedy these problems and the status of the program will be reassessed in a few months.

Still trying to break barriers

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the table pictured here (courtesy of Tara Copp for McClatchy) speaks volumes.
Forty-five years after the U.S. Air Force made history adding ten female pilots to its ranks, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Females continue to be underrepresented as military pilots and the numbers for Black female pilots, even with data from all the services combined, fail to break three digits.
Last week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper called for a Pentagon-wide review of racial disparities and DoD policies that could potentially have obstructed equal opportunity for all. Also engaged in the effort is the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services – examining issues such as gear, equipment, and aircraft design, created with male body frames in mind, that might prevent or limit full-participation by women.
Lt. Col. Christina “Thumper” Hopper, the first Black female Air Force pilot flying combat missions in a major war, is optimistic about the future. “Being an ‘only one’ has kind of given me a platform from which to reach out and encourage other young girls, and especially young minority girls, and tell them, ‘Hey there are opportunities here that exist for you.’”

Good news, bad news, good news

First, a quick science lesson…
Some research indicates that plasma from individuals who have acquired COVID-19 and recovered from it, might aid in a quicker recovery for others with the virus. This plasma is referred to as convalescent plasma and there are now donation centers collecting this blood product.

Good news:

Earlier this year, DoD committed to collecting 8,000 units of convalescent plasma by the end of September (now they have raised that number to 10,000). This effort would directly support national efforts to learn more about how effective convalescent plasma is in treating the virus.


Despite the fact that approximately 31,000 military-connected individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date, more than 600,000 Tricare beneficiaries likely got a quick scare when they received an email asking that since they’d had COVID, would they be willing to consider donating blood for research purposes. Humana Military inadvertently reached out to every beneficiary near a plasma collection point with this message (which it quickly apologized for when made aware of the error).

Good news:

At the very least, 569,000 of those who received this email did not in fact have COVID without their knowledge. (And with the proper precautions, we hope never do.)


Marines from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego who had, and are now recovered from, COVID-19 made some very wonderful lemonade from those lemons – all of them volunteering to support the convalescent plasma collection!

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We hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!