The U.S. Air Force (USAF) wants to build on its current transformational period, catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, to accelerate change and position the military to win, and the service branch’s CIO spoke on June 8 about tech strategies that the Air Force and the Defense Department are putting in place to get to that goal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made all levels of government radically change how they operate. From shifting their workforce to telework to delivering government services digitally, Federal, state, and local governments have had to pivot the way they work, while still delivering on their mission.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., 20 Democratic senators plus Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged leadership to include maximum telework provisions for Federal employees and contractors in the next coronavirus relief package.
As the COVID-19 pandemic marches into August, many Federal agencies are reflecting on the challenges of their initial transition to the telework environment, what positives have resulted, and lessons learned from the transition.
Back in March nearly every workplace – public and private – has to rapidly pivot and shift from in-person work to telework due to COVID-19.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been far-reaching within the Federal government – not only requiring agencies to shift services online, but also to enable employees to work from home en masse.
Across the board, Federal agencies have made a massive shift to telework in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, agencies are beginning to look at how to safely bring employees back to worksites. While the Department of Defense (DoD) is taking a slow, phased approach, leadership is grappling with whether the culture of increased telework is here to stay.
As the COVID-19 pandemic made it increasingly difficult for veterans to access in-person healthcare services, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) quickly scaled its existing telehealth capabilities to accommodate more patients. Now, per several VA officials, the agency is planning to continue investments in and accessibility to its virtual health services even after the pandemic winds down.
Will the vitally strong performance of information technology in government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic go down in the history books years from now as technology’s “golden moment?”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it is working to re-open agency offices in accordance with Phase 1 of the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan, although office re-opening schedules are expected to vary based on a number of factors.
As some Federal offices begin looking ahead toward reopening when the COVID-19 pandemic slows, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still largely pushing for maximum telework despite its rolling plan to reopen, an agency spokesperson confirmed to MeriTalk.
Reps. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and Sens. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Doug Jones, D-Ala., introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress June 11 to invest $50 million in rural telehealth initiatives amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
As agencies have gone remote, they have had to evolve their cyber security strategies to adjust to their new telework reality. What challenges are they encountering as they make this shift? How can they adopt or adapt “bring your own device” (BYOD) plans to ensure the security of agency applications and data?
Nearly three months since Federal agencies were directed to maximize telework, Federal CIOs at a June 11 ATARC virtual conference talked about what the telework experience may mean for the IT workforce of the future – and how agencies may balance newfound efficiencies with the need for human interaction in the workplace.
Bill Harrod, Federal CTO at mobility management software maker MobileIron, is looking for changes in Federal bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies – along with continued drives toward digital transformation – to help sustain and make more secure the turn to widespread telework by government and industry in the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program has been a key tool for managing cybersecurity risks since Federal employees began maximum telework in March by helping to maintain situational awareness on networks, said Federal CISO Grant Schneider at MeriTalk’s CDM Central: Tales from the Frontlines digital event today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven Federal agencies to leap to maximum telework capacity on short notice. While many were able to kick telework into high gear in only a matter of days because of previous or ongoing IT modernization investments, the requirement to change fast and on the fly underscores the vital need for modernization – in the case of a pandemic or not.
The U.S. Air Force’s AFNet Sustainment and Operations branch (HNIB) has expanded the service branch’s network capacity to 200,000 teleworkers, and Air Force official said.
The Department of Defense is planning on moving its network addresses into a bigger house, so to speak, but the Government Accountability Office says that the department needs to take more preparatory steps to plan before the move.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – largely because of its broad, hands-on healthcare mission – is not the type of Federal agency that can transform to near 100 percent telework. But that didn’t stop the agency from more than tripling its telework capacity to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, said agency CIO James Gfrerer during a May 28 AFCEA Bethesda webinar event.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Federal IT operations are providing a resilient fabric that enables accelerated delivery of vital services to citizens during an unprecedented public health crisis. As government IT operations reach their new steady-state and map the path to further modernization, MeriTalk is surfacing the untold stories – and lessons – of those efforts. In the latest installment of CIO Crossroads, we examine the Labor Department’s performance eight weeks into the fray.
Recounting how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a quick jump to 96 percent telework during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, agency CIO Vaughn Noga explained today how partnerships with other offices and a new approach to emerging tech helped fuel the fast transition. And he urged tech practitioners not to forget lessons learned over the past three months as they transition to the next phase of new normal.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has been taking the current remote-standard in stride as it has enough capacity in its cloud-based systems for personnel teleworking.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has had a 900 percent increase in the use of Teams, Microsoft’s collaboration platform, and a 483 percent increase in the use of virtual private networks during the COVID-19 pandemic, a DHS official said.
The National Security Agency (NSA) released a guide on April 24 to help Federal agencies make decisions about which collaboration and video chat services to use during telework, as the government continues to adjust to mass telework orders.
Taking the kids to their doctor’s appointments may become easier – and a lot more fun – as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks to turn pediatric onboarding into a video game with real-life rewards.