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DOD Schedules Second Annual CIO Global Virtual Town Hall Meeting

By David Vergun, DOD News By: David Vergun

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The Defense Department will host the second annual DOD Chief Information Officer Global Virtual Town Hall meeting Aug. 12 for DOD personnel to provide an opportunity for the department's information technology and cyber workforce to learn more about the department’s continued execution of the Digital Modernization Strategy and receive updates on telework and the DOD COVID-19 Telework Readiness Task Force.

The meeting will bring together military department CIOs; the Joint Staff's director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber; and the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency for a dialog with the thousands of IT professionals across the DOD workforce.  

Dana Deasy, the Defense Department's CIO, will host the event with Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing the opening keynote address on the Digital Modernization Strategy and the influence that will have on the future of warfighting.  

"This past spring, the department began moving to a telework posture at an unprecedented rate," Deasy said. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the department's IT and cyber workforce to learn more about the successes and lessons learned as DOD stood up the Telework Readiness Task Force, he added.

"We will also highlight successes and the way ahead in executing our digital modernization strategy," he said. "Implementing initiatives around artificial intelligence; cybersecurity; cloud; command, control and communication; data and IT reform are more important now than ever."

The task force has been critical in ensuring the networks remain telework ready and cyber-secure to support the full range of DOD missions, Deasy said.

"We had challenges, given the scope and scale of remote work, but have consistently exposed the issues and acted upon them, ensuring no impact on mission," Deasy added. The task force continues to meet weekly, he noted.

"In addition to discussing the accomplishments and milestones of the task force's mission to date, the town hall meeting will also discuss telework as a whole and its future in the DOD," Deasy said.

The department will continue to reevaluate telework requirements in light of the pandemic response and the future enduring environment, he said. "We expect there to be a demand for more telework options across the department," he added. "We will leverage a combination of new and existing contracts to satisfy new demands."

According to a statement from Deasy's office, as of June 16, more than a million DOD personnel were teleworking as opposed to only 95,000 prior to the pandemic.

Also during that time frame, the departmentwide virtual private network usage increased from 49,600 to 440,000 connections on average per day, the statement said.

On March 27, the department launched its Commercial Virtual Remote environment, which facilitates secure collaboration from any location. Since that time, nearly 1 million personnel are actively using the capability. As of June 5, there have been 44.3 million chat messages, 16.8 million phone calls, 847,000 meetings, 339,000 group team calls and 134,000 unique teams in CVR, officials said.

The event will be hosted live in DOD's CVR environment, and a question-and-answer portion will take place at the end. IT professionals joining the town hall meeting are asked to submit their questions in advance by email to osd.pentagon.dod-cio.mbx.dodcio-gth1@mail.mil.