Defense Department teleworkers have, by and large, continued the mission without being in a brick-and-mortar structure, a Defense Department official said.
Peter T. Ranks, deputy chief information officer for information enterprise, joined a panel discussion titled "Telework Opportunities and Challenges" on a Defense One webcast [yesterday].
The department has been working toward software modernization and cloud infrastructure usage for several years, and this has been especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ranks said.
But although hundreds of thousands of service members are now working on the commercial virtual remote environment, the classified environment is much more difficult to scale in a safe way, he said.
DoD is working with the National Security Agency to make that happen, Ranks said, but for now the sensitive compartmentalized information facility is where that work will have to take place. However, SCIF conditions are often crowded, and it’s up to local commanders to ensure that personnel are staggered in shifts to reduce the number of people in those confined areas to allow social distancing.
Ranks said a big DoD success story during the pandemic has been that employees who are teleworking have increased their productivity over what it was when they were required to go to an office. The department is looking to preserve that productivity and resilience after the pandemic is passed, and part of that challenge will be to embrace this new normal and have a cultural shift in thinking and attitudes across the force, he said.
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