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Pentagon rolls out remote work environment in record time

The Department of Defense rolled out its temporary telework collaboration platform in record time as the department works to accommodate its remote workforce during the new coronavirus pandemic, the Pentagon’s top IT official, Dana Deasy, said April 13.

Central to the the DoD’s telework environment is the Commercial Virtual Remote Environment, a temporary collaborative environment for departmental employees to use as they telework.

The rollout began March 27. As of April 13, the department had created 900,000 user accounts, Deasy said, and had active logins for 78,000 users. Last week, the Pentagon added new 250,000 accounts to the environment in a single day, he added.

“This is the largest rollout ever implemented in this short amount of time,” Deasy said.

The CVR Environment provides DoD employees with Microsoft Office 365 software while they work from home, accessible on personal or government PCs or Mac computers, according to an April 6 news release from the 16th Air Force.

According to Deasy, the majority of DoD employees are working from home. The DoD has broken down the needs of the workforce into three categories: employees who need remote email access; employees who need remote email and file sharing access; and employees who need a full office experience.

The 16th Air Force’s news release said that in the early days of telework due to COVID-19, the DoD networks experienced poor connection due to increased traffic.

“As social distancing increased telework requirements, more than one hundred thousand teleworkers accessed the network,” the release said. “This huge increase led to slow and spotty connectivity, and unreliable virtual private network access for some users.”

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