Defense Department has more than one million personnel working remotely, have ‘increased their productivity’

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense
Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense is publicly sharing its gradual transformation to distributed government teams and said there are more than one million personnel working remotely.

The DOD has stated that through this process, “employees who are teleworking have increased their productivity over what it was when they were required to go to an office.”

“Effectively mitigating the spread of COVID-19 requires new customs such as working remotely, restricting movement and social distancing,” said the DOD in April. “To combat this new reality, commanders are empowered to exercise more flexibility and may use broader discretion in employment practices, such as telework and work from alternate locations. The secretary of defense has given commanders the authorities needed to take the necessary precautions, while also ensuring service members are trained and ready to defend the nation.”

On July 22, DOD Deputy Chief Information Officer Peter Ranks participated in a ‘Telework Opportunities and Challenges’ panel discussion and the DOD said this in a post titled ‘Work Effectiveness is a Product, Not a Location, DOD Official Says‘:

Ranks said a big DOD success story during the pandemic has been that employees who are teleworking have increased their productivity over what it was when they were required to go to an office. The department is looking to preserve that productivity and resilience after the pandemic is passed, and part of that challenge will be to embrace this new normal and have a cultural shift in thinking and attitudes across the force, he said.

And this from a July 27 DOD post titled ‘DOD Seeing Enormous Jump in Telework, Remote Collaboration‘:

The Defense Department has three priorities for dealing with COVID-19: protecting the entire force and their families, maintaining mission readiness and supporting the whole-of-government effort to mitigate and end the pandemic, said the DOD chief information officer.

In keeping with those efforts, “the department has moved to a telework posture at an unprecedented rate and at a scale never before seen, which has mitigated disruption to our national defense,” said Dana Deasy.

According to a statement from Deasy’s office, as of June 16, more than a million DOD personnel telework. Prior to the pandemic only about 95,000 DOD personnel teleworked. 

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at


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