COVID-19 has changed daily life as we know it. States are beginning to reopen, despite many case counts continuing to trend upwards, and even the most informed seem to have more questions than answers. Many of the answers we do have, though, are the result of models and simulations run on high-performance computing systems. While we can process and analyze all this data on today’s supercomputers, it will take an exascale machine to process quickly and enable true artificial intelligence (AI).






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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.






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While the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently outlined key considerations for Federal agencies returning to work following the coronavirus pandemic, a GAO official said this week that the agency hasn’t yet seen a comprehensive and detailed plan from government that is comparable to some industry reopening plans.






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While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a flurry of cybersecurity risks in its wake targeting healthcare and other sectors, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has scarcely missed a beat in carrying out its mission to protect the U.S. from cyber threats.






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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is tentatively scheduling a phase one reopening of its offices in the National Capital Region to start June 22, per a short video presentation for employees obtained by MeriTalk. 






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It’s hard to fathom the number of critical government processes that have had to evolve – very quickly – to meet the needs of the American people during the COVID-19 pandemic. And if this crisis has a silver lining, it’s the accelerated modernization and innovation being born out of it. MeriTalk is surfacing the untold stories – and lessons – of those efforts. In the latest installment of CIO Crossroads, we turn to the General Services Administration (GSA).






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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.






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EPA Environmental Protection Agency

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.






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State Department

The Department of State has been monitoring local conditions in the D.C.-metro area during the Coronavirus pandemic, with the expectation of entering Phase I of Diplomacy Strong today.






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Pentagon DoD Defense Military

On June 10, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced five Defense Production Act Title 3 actions to help sustain workforce capabilities that were disrupted by COVID-19. The actions will include funding totaling $135 million. In a statement, Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said that the actions by DoD would “help sustain defense-critical workforce capabilities in body […] […]

US Federal CIO Suzette Kent OMB MeriTalk CCXB

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.






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The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and National Cancer Institute are looking to develop digital health solutions to address COVID-19 as well as advance new research in digital health technologies to improve public health responses.






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