More Defense Department employees – in uniform and civilian – could be called upon to do their jobs from home even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
“There will be some permanency to what we have here,” said Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer. “There is going to be an enhanced teleworking capability that will be sustained at the end of COVID-19.”
At present, at least 4 million DoD service members and civilians are teleworking, Air Force Lt. Gen. B.J. Shwedo, director of command, control and communications for the Joint Staff, said.
The breakdown includes 800,000 Army soldiers and civilians and 250,000 sailors and civilians. The Air Force figure stood at about 100,000, with the expectation that the figure would quickly rise to 200,000 and could reach as high as 400,000.
The Navy reported that some 250,000 uniformed and civilian employees were teleworking as of mid-April, with the number projected to rise to about 500,000.
The Navy is employing a tool called Outlook Web Access (OWA). Some 300,000 should be on it by the end of April. Likewise, the Marine Corps expects the number of OWA users to increase to more than 150,000.
The Pentagon has created a web site that contains the telework-enabling tools employees need.
The key item is the commercial virtual remote, or CVR, which allows for collaboration via video, voice and text for unclassified information. Since CVR rolled out on March 27, it now has more than 900,000 user accounts.