***Note: Throughout the pandemic continue to check frequently with your supervisor for the most relevant, personal up-to-date information.
I know you're eager, as I am, to begin returning to the workplace. We plan to do so safely and deliberately, ensuring the health and protection of our team members.
After a meeting with Team Redstone leadership and seeing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases in the Northern Alabama region, I've made the decision to begin the transition to onsite work next week.
As we transition, my guidance is no more than 25% of our team members return to our facilities on May 27. Beginning June 1, we'll expand that number to no more than 50%, and we'll continue to make assessments from there. This has been and will continue to be a deliberate, thoughtful process.
To that end, I've asked the team to schedule a supervisor all-hands on Tuesday, where we'll share the transition framework. An invitation and details about how we will conduct the meeting through MS Teams has been sent to all supervisors. In the interim, I'm asking supervisors to begin identifying the roles, responsibilities, and functions of team members who will be in the first wave of those returning on site.
As our team returns, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines and DoD protective measures including wearing face coverings while in SMDC facilities, maintaining social distances and my "rule of five." We have also increased the level of cleaning service in our headquarters facilities. Our facilities team will clean and disinfect common areas, including bathrooms, drinking fountains and elevators, daily. Cleaning materials will be made available for you to wipe down your individual office space, and hand sanitizer will continue to be located throughout the building common areas for ease of use. We will also provide masks to team members who need them. And, as always, rely on common sense.
Throughout the upcoming holiday weekend, I encourage you to consider how you can best protect yourself and your family. Think through your plan for social distancing, and if that's not possible, wear face coverings. Focus on continued personal hand hygiene. Through our intentional efforts, we can defeat this virus.
Thanks for your flexibility as we make decisions in the best interest of our team and our nation. See the following links at your favorite social media sites:
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
In a previous "CG Sends" I stated that we wouldn't begin bringing team members back into our facilities until at least 15 May.
After assessing conditions in our local communities and discussing options with installation leaders, I've decided to postpone returning team members to our facilities and to continue maximum telework through the Memorial Day weekend. We will plan on returning on May 27th. My guidance is that we will start with <50% working on-site -- the same approach we took ~2 months ago prior to our 100% telework status.
This decision aligns us with Redstone Arsenal's approach. For team members in other locations, continue to follow the guidance of your installation, state and local authorities. As we have done, we will continue to assess the environment to make sure the conditions are set for a safe return to on-site work.
As more communities open, it's easy to begin feeling like everything is going back to normal, but now, more than ever, we must remain disciplined and vigilant. While we hope that the worst is behind us, CDC, DoD and Army guidance have not changed. Continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, limit group gatherings and practice good hand hygiene. Your health and safety are vital to our success.
As we transition to operating in an evolving COVID-19 environment, I am inspired by your dedication to the mission and how you remotely stay connected to team members around the globe through tools like MS Teams. I see your commitment to our Army and our Nation. Continue the great work you're doing.
Thanks for your flexibility and for what you do every day.
I've always made a significant effort to get information out to you as rapidly and as accurately as possible. In the case of my last "CG Sends," where I stated that we'd return to work beginning on 27 April, speed came at the price of accuracy. Based on a meeting that LTG Daly held for all Team Redstone leaders, I've made the decision to delay bringing team members into the workplace until at least 15 May. I want to ensure we stay synched with the approaches of Team Redstone, as well as the approaches of our local installations, cities, counties and state authorities.
While I'm eager, like you, to return to normal operations, the safety, health and well-being of the SMDC and JFCC IMD teams continues to be my top priority.
I'll continue to get information out to you as rapidly and accurately as possible.
Thanks for your flexibility as we continue to plan the way forward.
I heard that some of you were having trouble accessing my video updates through YouTube (it must be the overwhelming number of people who want to watch them). You can now watch my new video update at the following links (but not on VPN, please):
This week, I've decided to extend the 100% telework period for SMDC and JFCC IMD to 27 April. As a reminder, the only exceptions will be our essential personnel who must be in our buildings, and these exceptions must be approved daily. We will continue to assess the environment to make sure a 27 April return date is okay.
I'm sure many of you have questions about how and when the command will return to full, on-site operations. As those plans solidify, I'll give you updates. Right now, supervisors will attempt to identify anyone who is in an "at-risk" population according to the CDC guidance and allow them to continue to telework after our return until the environment supports their return. Employees are encouraged to raise any concerns with their supervisors to ensure any "at-risk" issues are identified and addressed.
My priorities continue to be protecting the health and safety of our people, maintaining readiness in our 24/7 no-fail missions and supporting the whole of government effort. Thanks for your continued teamwork and great communication across the command in support of those priorities.
I encourage you to continue practicing social distancing and following CDC and DoD guidelines.
My continued thanks for your cooperation and understanding -- together we'll beat this virus!
We must remain: "The First Line of Defense and Last Line of Defense."
Expanding upon DOD guidance, I am establishing a requirement, effective immediately, for all people who enter any JFCC-IMD or SMDC building to wear a cloth face covering, regardless of whether they are able to stay 6 feet away from others. This means all personnel -- military, civilian, contractors and visitors.
The Centers for Disease Control provides instructions on how to make and use cloth face coverings at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html. Please take a moment to read about how to safely put on and take off your mask, and ensure masks are always washed with detergent after use.
N95 masks and surgical masks are in short supply; they are not recommended except for personnel working in healthcare, first responders, or those with a medical condition for which their doctor recommends their use. So get your creative side in gear, refer to the CDC guidelines, and do not delay to prepare your cloth masks -- to include family members who live on or enter our installations. Please be aware that the materials to make the masks will not be at the cost of the government nor will they be reimbursed by the government.
All personnel within the commands should exercise good judgment on the appearance of homemade masks. Personnel will not wear masks that display printed wording, profanity, violate EO or EEO policy, express a political view or contain demeaning or derogatory logos, script or imagery. Leaders should use their best judgment when it comes to color, fit, and design of face masks and approach this as a force protection issue. Additionally, non-serviceable ACUs should not be used for mask material, since they are treated with an insect repellant chemical. My best guidance -- keep it bland.
Thank you all for maintaining the highest vigilance toward all we can do -- meticulous hand washing, social distancing, staying home except when you absolutely must go out, and now, using cloth face masks.
Thanks for your exceptional teamwork in this fight.
To mitigate the risk of virus transmission, the States of Alabama and Colorado have now issued stay at home orders. I want to give you a sense of how we are approaching that: in short, we are ready for these mandates and we are continuing our missions. These new orders don't really change our day-to-day operations much for how our command is operating under COVID-19.
I want to continue to emphasize social distancing, and connecting with each other through calls, official emails, and official Skype for Business accounts. The command continues to maximize telework requirements and when necessary essential personnel will enter our buildings while maintaining the "Rule of 5" at all times.
If you have questions or concerns, please inquire with your supervisor. In the absence of guidance, I encourage you to follow your local guidelines. I urge everyone to use common sense both at work and outside of work to minimize your chance of exposure to the virus. Stay vigilant and practice hand hygiene and social distancing. Be adaptive in this evolving situation. Most importantly, don't come to work if you don't feel well or don't feel to be in normal health.
During this challenging time, I am encouraged and reminded of the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton. After an outbreak of bubonic plague known as the Great Plague of London, the University of Cambridge closed its doors forcing Newton, a 23-year-old student, to sequester himself at his family's farm. Later in life, Newton reflected that his most intellectually productive period was during this time of seclusion when he theorized about gravity (which led to his laws of motion), laid the foundation for modern optics, and discovered calculus. Newton's most profound work came from his own quiet period.
Without these discoveries, our command would not be able to accomplish its mission. Let us use this time to accomplish our assigned missions while contemplating new ideas. Now is your opportunity. I am positive you will make the very best of this challenging situation.
We are in a fight, but a fight we'll win.
The irony is that we'll win this fight together...by keeping apart.
A lot has changed since February, when I delivered my Command Voice in person to our team members here in Huntsville and by VTC to those stationed around the world. Now we are all practicing social distancing as we work to flatten the curve and defeat COVID-19. So this week, I put my Command Voice for March in a video online.
In it, I share my congratulations with our DC-O, COL (P) Dave Stewart, who was confirmed for promotion to BG! Dave will be taking over as commander of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command in Fort Bliss, where I know he will do a great job. I also offer an early welcome home to Army astronaut and ISS crewmember COL Drew Morgan, who will be returning to Earth on April 17. And I talk about both my Senate Armed Services Committee-Strategic Forces Subcommittee testimony and the successful execution of a hypersonic test that was supported by our Technical Center and the Reagan Test Site.
I also look ahead to what we can expect in the coming month with regard to the FEVS. The theme for April is collaboration and, with our person-to-person interaction minimized at the moment, the timing couldn't be more perfect to remind everyone how important it is to stay connected. Thanks to today's technology, we have many ways to communicate with each other from afar-and we need to use all of them to not only get the job done, but also to sustain the spirit of teamwork that defines this command.
With that said, you can watch the March Command Voice here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvZPKzWaYVY. Please be sure to use a non-VPN connection to preserve our VPN bandwidth.
I started by saying a lot has changed. But what hasn't changed is our priorities: protecting our people and maintaining mission readiness. And we will continue to do that as we support the whole-of-government effort to beat this virus.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and whenever possible, stay home.
We are the Nation's First Line of Defense, and its Last Line of Defense.
Due to the limitations of the SMDC Network, the Knowledge Management team would like to provide an alternate solution which will allow employees to stay connected to the CMDNet through this COVID-19 telework period.
The CMDNet portal can now be accessed from any external location through the use of the XCMDNet link. This access will allow a user to gain access without the use of a government-provided workstation as well as the use of the "VMWare Horizon Client Software."
In order to leverage the XCMDNet, users will have to request access through the Knowledge Management Service Request System. The KM service request system is located HERE.
Please ensure you fill out all the user request information to include selecting the "COVID-19 telework" option.
Users requesting this access, will need to provide their "AKO user name" information. A helpful guide to find this information is provided on the KM service request site.
Additionally, users will need to provide URL information for each site needing access. Unlike the CMDNet, KM will have to enable permissions to ensure each user has the appropriate access for each site location. If you do not provide this information, KM will just provide the user access for the main site page. The user will then have to submit a subsequent ticket once they determine which sites they need access to.
Lastly, KM has confirmed that a variety of windows-based personal workstations can successfully connect to the XCMDNet site through the use of various internet service providers. KM has also experienced specific access issues with Chrome Books, MACs and Linux-based machines and has determined these operating systems to be unsupported within XCMDNet. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and are working diligently to resolve this issue.
Once KM has granted access the user will then click HERE to access XCMDNet.
***Of note: On initial login users will be redirected to the Realm Discovery Page. Be sure to select EAMS-A and select the "Authentication cert" on your CAC. The user will then be redirected to the EAMS-A site, select the CAC/PKI icon, then select your "Authentication cert" on your CAC. The user will then input their CAC PIN, if the user provided their correct AKO User Name information they will then be granted access to the XCMDNet site home page. If you need assistance or cannot access the KM Service Request Site from home, please feel free to send an email to: email@example.com
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C, McConville; Army Corps of Engineers Commander Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite; and Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle briefed the media March 20 on the Army’s role in the Defense Department’s COVID-19 efforts. Click HERE for the video.
To limit the spread of and potential exposure to COVID-19, Service Members may take leave only in the local area, limited to 120 miles from their assigned instillation or per your installation Senior Mission Commander's guidance, whichever distance is less.
Though DoD or Army guidance does not mandate the local leave requirement for Civilians, I’m asking our Civilians to consider following the same guidelines as our Service Members. As my original "Vision and Intent" states, we are "One Team."
Like practicing social distancing, restricting travel is a key factor to protect our team members and their families.
It takes all of us working together to prevent and fight the spread of COVID-19.
Keep looking out for each other, and thanks for what you do every day.
We just finished the Supervisor All-hands, and I want to provide you an update on what guidance I've given as a result of the pandemic.
First, my number one priority is the health and safety of our Service members, Civilians, contractors and their families. With that in mind, I've provided supervisors the flexibility to develop plans and make decisions necessary to protect their teams.
To minimize our footprint, I've given guidance to maximize the use of telework, flexible work schedules, and leave. The goal is to have no more than 50% of team members in our facilities at any one time. If in-office time is required, I've asked that we look at ways to stagger work hours.
As we work through options to best protect the workforce and continue our mission, stay in contact with your supervisor for information updates specific to your area. You can also visit Command Net for SMDC COVID 19 related information and https://www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus/ for Department of Defense updates.
We as a command are taking every possible step to ensure you and your loved ones are safe, while continuing our mission.
Take care of each other; be safe, be alert, practice good hygiene, and know we are in this together.
Thanks for what you do.
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Facebook page
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Twitter feed
Redstone Arsenal installation website
Redstone Arsenal COVID-19 webpage
Team Redstone Facebook page
Team Redstone Twitter feed
Peterson Air Force Base installation website
Peterson Air Force Base COVID-19 webpage
Peterson Air Force Base 21st Space Wing Facebook page
Fort Carson installation website
U.S. Army Fort Carson Facebook page
U.S. Army Fort Carson Twitter feed
***Note: You do not have to subscribe to any social media platform to view these pages. These are all in the public domain.
U.S. Army Coronavirus Response
Department of Defense Coronavirus Response
Centers for Disease Control Coronovirus Disease 2019
What the U.S. Government is Doing
Office of Personnel Management Guidance
Defense Health Agency Tricare Guidance
World Health Organization - COVID-19