The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeing rapid user ramp-up with its new Commercial Virtual Remote Environment (CVR), launched in late March to accommodate the massive shift to telework caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

CVR provides remote workers with “enhanced collaboration capabilities,” according to CIO Dana Deasy. During the first few weeks of the CVR deployment, the department has already activated over 900,000 user accounts, the CIO said.  As part of that total, DoD was able to onboard a quarter of a million accounts in a single day, he said.

“This is the largest rollout ever implemented in this short amount of time,” Deasy said during a press briefing today.

The remote work environment is just one of several new teleworking tools launched by the agency to accommodate the sudden shift. Deasy said the Pentagon is cognizant that remote employees require different capabilities and, therefore, the department is working to provide the necessary equipment, networks, and solutions to each.

Many of these improvements have been spearheaded by the new Telework Readiness Task Force implemented by the CIO earlier this month.

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“With the majority of the workforce teleworking, we have seen unprecedented demand for new equipment ranging from tablets, laptops and network equipment to secure devices … The task force has successfully navigated this increase in demand, and we are rolling out equipment and increasing network capacity where needed,” he said.

According to Deasy, 2,000 employees in the Pentagon alone have been provided with additional tech, and 65,000 Navy personnel now have the capacity to work remotely. Upgrades at the Air Force have led to a more than 130 percent increase in bandwidth, and a number of measures at the Army increased network access for data and voice capacity by 400 percent, he added.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Joint Service Provider increased internet service providers connections by 30 percent, and the department’s telecom provider increased call volume capacity by 50 percent to accommodate the transition. DISA also onboarded additional endpoints to increase capability by over 300 percent.  Finally, the use of global video services, Outlook Web Access, and enterprise audio conferencing grew tenfold, Deasy said.

“The speed and magnitude of what the department has implemented in such a short amount of time is truly extraordinary has been accomplished while ensuring mission operational needs are not impacted,” Deasy said.

With the quick turn to more remote work, the CIO acknowledged that the department is sifting through large amounts of new data in an unclassified environment. On that front, he admitted that the agency has not yet decided what to with all the data.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.