All components and branches of the military -- including active-duty, Reserve and National Guard -- have taken part in the Defense Department's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials speaking at the Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition last week. The military deployed personnel to aid hard-hit US communities, has handed out protective equipment, provided meals and tests, and tested their own personnel weekly, panelists said.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the US military needs a 3% to 5% boost in its budget in order to maintain troop readiness for future battles. Esper, speaking online at the Heritage Foundation forum, said troops are ready right now if needed, but unless Congress acts to increase funding, that may not be the case for future challenges.
One bill creating easier access to a suicide crisis hotline for veterans and another to bolster suicide prevention efforts have been signed into law by President Donald Trump. The ability to reach a crisis hotline by dialing 988 is expected to be working by 2022, while the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act contains several provisions to help veteran mental health, including measures to mitigate staffing shortages at the VA.
The Air Force is contracting with Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc., for body armor for female Air Force service members, and is expanding the quantity sought to cover Reserve and Air National Guard security forces. "The new gear fits properly, which improves protection and offers better comfort for gear that has to ... work in difficult environments and conditions," says Maj. Saily Rodriguez, Female Fitment Program manager.
Air Force Reserve Command Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer G. Lee Floyd conducted a training session with the Reserve's 926th Wing earlier this month at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Floyd stressed the importance of ensuring that diversity and inclusion become part of the culture of the Air Force Reserve.
Members of the Air Force Reserve's 89th Airlift Squadron with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's 445th Airlift Wing ferried supplies and food to the Ukraine last month during the Denton Humanitarian Assistance Program. The squadron delivered more than 50,000 pounds of humanitarian goods and food, including high-protein meals and packets of water purification materials.
Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Dianna Smith ran in 25 virtual races in just under four months during the coronavirus pandemic to stay fit. Smith, a member of 7th/95th Battalion, 4th Brigade (Personnel Services), 94th Training Division - Force Sustainment, signed up for a 5K run, but then got hooked, running more than 365 miles.
Philanthropic organizations can't tackle systemic racism without first acknowledging it exists, then developing a process to reduce it that goes beyond diversity, equity and inclusion goals, writes Mary-Frances Winters of The Winters Group. "Individual and organizational well-being increase when organizations go beyond seeing DEI as a one-and-done checkbox and instead take incremental steps to tackle systemic racism," Winters writes.
The Surdna Foundation will expand its annual giving of about $41.5 million to include an additional $36 million for racial justice initiatives to be distributed over a three-year period. "We are increasing our spending to give grantees breathing room to respond to the demands of today and make progress toward long-term reforms that address deep structural racism," says President Don Chen.
The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio has cut its annual budget by almost 30% and eliminated 39 jobs in response to ongoing financial challenges. The museum secured a Paycheck Protection Program loan, sought emergency funding and shifted programs to avoid the cuts as long as possible, says Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes.