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Intelligence Community Adopts Tech, Telework to Meet Mission Requirements During Pandemic

The U.S. intelligence community has initiated changes to its work operations to ensure continuity, meet mission needs and safeguard the health of its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic, Government Executive reported Thursday.

An official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told the publication ODNI continues to adjust its response to COVID-19 in compliance with the guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “has reduced staff contact through a variety of options including staggered shifts, flexible schedules and social distancing practices.”

Jim Dawson, special agent responsible for the mission services division of the FBI’s Washington field office, said his office has been using Skype, Microsoft Office products, webinar and online training applications to facilitate communications with law enforcement and private sector partners in addition to adopting telework arrangement and staggered work schedules.

“I think all of the FBI faces a challenge during the coronavirus pandemic in maintaining close continuity with our state and local partners and also with their private sector partners,” Dawson told the publication. “And having webinars and just maintaining close connection with them has proven viable and has been very useful in continuing our ability to operate as normally as possible.” 

Other IC agencies such as the intelligence division of the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Intelligence and Security Command and the CIA have also distributed personal protective equipment to staff and implemented telework and social distancing measures to carry out missions and ensure the health and security of their personnel.

“Per [Defense Department] and Army policy, INSCOM is following CDC guidelines for protection measures and social distancing requirements whenever possible to combat the spread of COVID-19 for employees who can't telework due to the classified nature of their work,” said a spokesperson for the command.

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