The Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) said in a new report that the agency should work to update its emergency response plans to include assumptions regarding the use of telework for essential and non-essential personnel.
In a study conducted by the IG of 54,665 DoD personnel respondents who reported telework status, the main challenge for telework was “accessing DoD Component networks, voice and video teleconference applications.” They also “identified shortfalls in government-furnished equipment available to DoD personnel when their Components first transitioned to maximum telework.”
While this challenge lessened over time from first implementing the switch to telework in March 2020, the IG recommended that DoD revise its DoD Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza to “update planning assumptions with the use of telework for essential and non-essential personnel, align the DoD Implementation Plan with the DoD Telework Policy, and require DoD Components to update their plans to include revised assumptions regarding telework for personnel and the resources required to support the teleworking workforce.”
In addition to that recommendation, the IG made two more.
The IG recommended that the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (DUSD[P]) and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should work together to establish management oversight procedures to verify that testing, training, and exercise requirements of the DoD Implementation Plan and the DoD Telework Policy are performed by DoD Components.
Lastly, the IG said “oversight procedures should assess the ability of DoD Components to support government-wide mandated telework, including the results of tests of network and communications systems and telework exercises with personnel.”
DUSD[P] did not respond to the IG on the recommendation regarding DoD Components updating their Pandemic Plans to include revised assumptions regarding telework and therefore remains unresolved.
As for the other two recommendations, DUSD[P] did not agree or disagree with them, but did state that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security (ASD[HD&GS]) would “work with the Joint Staff and the U.S. Northern Command to include the use of telework for essential and non-essential personnel in the Functional Campaign Plan-Pandemics and Infectious Diseases” – replacing the DoD Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza, and “align the plan with the DoD Telework Policy.”
“In addition, the DUSD(P) stated that the ASD(HD&GS) would also work with the Joint Staff to include the use of telework for essential and non-essential personnel in the Global Integration Framework-Pandemics and Infectious Diseases,” the IG reported.