On Friday, Department of Navy CIO Robert Carey wrote a post on his blog entitled “To Work or Not.” He mentioned the success of the semiannual Department of the Navy IT Conference in sunny San Diego, California, and said that when he heard about the coming storms in the DC area, he departed on a red-eye flight on Thursday, Feb. 4th before the storms hit, closing the federal government for four days (Feb. 8th-Feb. 11th) and permitting unscheduled leave on Friday the 12th of February.
“The loss in productivity this week was tremendous. But like any major event (natural or otherwise), we should be able to work from dispersed locations.” He wrote of the snow event. “We should be able to stay connected via our laptops and wireless devices so that the time spent away from the office can mean continued support of the Department’s ongoing mission. But did we continue that support effectively during this recent snowstorm?”
Carey enumerated the telework resources available to Navy IT personnel, including NMCI, “a world-class network (although some folks remain on legacy networks), which affords us a great deal of secure connectivity from remote locations.” He went on, “With an air card or a home network and a secure VPN tunnel, it is reasonably easy to connect and engage your colleagues to accomplish work.”
While he notes the “many” challenges facing telework, “Do we take laptops home each night as a matter of course or only when we are going to “work from home”? Do all the personnel who need a laptop have one? Do we have access to our data? How much of our processes are paperless?” Mr. Carey concluded, “How akin was this storm to a manmade event, and how well would we be able to serve the Sailors and Marines at the tip of the spear during such an event? They do not shut down; should we? I believe it’s time to develop the telework community to its fullest as it is similar to the behavior required to stay operational to support our mission.”