III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Communications and Information System Department (G6) has rapidly adapted to ensure III MEF personnel continues to accomplish mission requirements while maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic through innovative teleworking solutions.
The G6 department exists to provide critical communication and information support services to III MEF and to ensure its personnel are able to connect electronically.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect military operations and capabilities around the globe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stressed the importance of social distancing and implementing work from home policies for essential services to prevent further spread of the virus. III MEF has been working around the clock to ensure its personnel are in compliance with these policies and to implement work from home capabilities for its personnel.
The G6 is responsible for ensuring a smooth and efficient teleworking experience. Network services, to include internet, email, etc., are being routed through and supported by the G6 to afford III MEF personnel the opportunity to telework on a daily basis.
To use a MCEN laptop on a personal wifi network, the user must connect through a Virtual Private Network. This has resulted in an influx of new users and has meant the G6 must rapidly enhance III MEF’s current capabilities to ensure the network is not overwhelmed by the recent influx of new users.
““We have been working to ensure the telework options everyone uses are effective and available. In addition, we’ve surged capabilities to provide enhanced telework options.” Col. Jeffery Hammond, III MEF G6 Assistant Chief of Staff
While teleworking allows III MEF personnel to continue essential operations and services without exposing them to unnecessary risks, it does come with its own set of obstacles.
“It is much more difficult to ensure everyone is working on the same priorities and have everything they need to continue to pursue tasks,” said Hammond. “We have had to surge folks in at times when missions started and needed to be established.”
The G6 has also been working to connect COVID response cells throughout the Pacific as they respond to the complex problems COVID-19 presents to our mission in the Indo-Pacific.
Personnel assigned to the COVID Response Cell at Camp Courtney, the Joint COVID Response Cell on Camp Foster and 20 Major Subordinate Command missions, including Task Force Medical in Guam, are working around the clock to ensure III MEF stays mission ready throughout COVID-19.
“III MEF has done an incredible job not only minimizing the effects of COVID on the operational effectiveness of the MEF, but have also supported 7th Fleet with Task Force Medical in Guam, stood up the CORC and JCRC, and provided guidance and clear instructions to Marines, Sailors, and their families,” said Hammond.
Because of the collective efforts III MEF has taken against COVID-19 and the continuing development of innovative capabilities, III MEF has been able to maintain its readiness to respond to crises in the Indo-Pacific, while also protecting the health and wellbeing of its Marines and sailors.