capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

Democratic senators from Maryland and Virginia penned a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell Vought and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Michael Rigas urging them to clarify Federal agency reopening plans to continue maximum telework, and arguing that it’s “unsafe” to bring employees back to the office. […]

EPA Environmental Protection Agency

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its “extensive, transparent, data-driven, measured and deliberate approach” to reopening its regional and National Capital Region offices, a spokesperson confirmed to MeriTalk that political leadership has returned to on-site work.






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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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NASA

The National Security Agency (NSA) updated its telework tech security guidance June 4 with new details for government agencies to consider when selecting which collaboration and video chat services to use to connect employees working remotely.






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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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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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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.






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CDM Central - Government Keynote - Grant Schneider

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.






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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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USDA Agriculture

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.






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According to The Washington Post, 40 percent of Federal employees were set up for remote work before COVID-19. And, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported just four percent of state and local employees had telework capabilities. Hundreds of thousands of government workers across Federal, state, and local levels were suddenly in need of remote access.






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DOJ Department of Justice

Nick Ward, Chief Information Security Officer at the Department of Justice (DoJ), said the agency is proceeding “full steam ahead” on efforts to explore adoption of zero trust security models, with the more distributed nature of DoJ’s workforce in the coronavirus pandemic providing impetus to that effort.






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General Services Administration GSA

The CIOs of the Agriculture (USDA) and Transportation (DoT) Departments said today that workforce productivity trends have been stable or improved since both agencies turned to large-scale telework in March to combat spread of COVID-19.






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EPA Environmental Protection Agency

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.






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