DOD Seeing Enormous Jump in Telework, Remote Collaboration

  • Published
  • By David Vergun

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department has three priorities for dealing with COVID-19: protecting the entire force and their families, maintaining mission readiness and supporting the whole-of-government effort to mitigate and end the pandemic, said the DOD chief information officer.

In keeping with those efforts, "the department has moved to a telework posture at an unprecedented rate and at a scale never before seen, which has mitigated disruption to our national defense," said Dana Deasy.

According to a statement from Deasy's office, as of June 16, more than a million DOD personnel telework. Prior to the pandemic only about 95,000 DOD personnel teleworked.

Also during that time frame, the department-wide Virtual Private Network usage increased from 49,600 to 440,000 connections on average per day, the statement said, noting that pre-COVID-19 DOD-wide network capacity was 200 gigabytes and that has increased by 10% to 220 GB.

On March 27, the department launched its Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment, which facilitates collaboration from any location. Since that time, more than 3.2 million CVR accounts have been created. As of June 5, there have been 44.3 million chat messages; 16.8 million phone calls; 847,000 meetings; 339,000 group team calls; and 134,000 unique teams in CVR.

The COVID-19 Telework Readiness Task Force has been critical in ensuring the networks remain telework ready and cyber-secure to support the full range of DOD missions, Deasy said, adding "We had challenges, given the scope and scale of remote work, but have consistently exposed the issues and acted upon them, ensuring no impact on mission."

That task force continues to meet several times per week, he noted.

The department will continue to reevaluate telework requirements in light of the pandemic response and the future enduring environment, Deasy said. "We expect there to be a demand for more telework options across the department. We will leverage a combination of new and existing contracts to satisfy new demands."

Deasy mentioned that his office will host the second annual DOD CIO Global Virtual Town Hall meeting for DOD personnel, Aug. 12, to provide an opportunity for the department's information technology and cyber workforce to learn more about the successes and lessons learned and the work that the task force is doing.