Telework gets Air Force IT seal of approval

Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force's deputy CIO, said IT satisfaction went up significantly once people started working from home.

More telework is the key to IT satisfaction in the workplace. That's what the Air Force learned from results of an internal survey of personnel satisfaction that includes the period of maximum telework during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force's deputy CIO, said personnel satisfaction with IT services spiked the more personnel worked from home as opposed to being in bases and facilities.

Why? "Because you're at home, you've got a great commercial connection, there's no funky configurations going on on your base that's different from the next base," Knausenberger said during a keynote presentation at AFCEA NOVA's Air and Space Force IT Day Dec. 15.

"What we're working on now is really instrumenting so we can see exactly what [those problems are] on each base so we can focus our effort and our spend," she said.

Knausenberger said nearly two-thirds (61%) of personnel primarily working from home approved of their IT services compared to 27% of those who mainly work on base. That trend held steady with a bump for the unclassified NIPRNet access with 69% and 36% respectively.

Knausenberger said the Air Force is working with the Defense Information Systems Agency to determine where there are duplicative efforts and where the Air Force can pass responsibility off to DISA, which has been working to become the IT service provider for the Defense Department's administrative Fourth Estate agencies.

Telework levels have been trending down as more personnel return to working on bases but an increase is expected in the coming weeks, the deputy CIO said. But nevertheless, the Air Force wants to improve those on-base numbers, which means looking at new solutions, with virtual private networks, laptops and a fast connection as the foundation.

"We have a lot to get after on the base side," Knausenberger said. "We should be open to using commercial internet and a VPN. We should be open to using commercial internet and some more of the zero trust technologies that we're adopting now."

This article first appeared on FCW, a Defense Systems partner site. 

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