Frequently Asked Questions

USCG Specific Frequently Asked Questions

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ALCOAST 121/20 - 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) GUIDANCE – USCG TELEWORK CAPABILITIES – SITREP 3

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R 031712 APR 20
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-6//
TO ALCOAST
UNCLAS //N06200//
ALCOAST 121/20
COMDTNOTE 6200
SUBJ:  2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) GUIDANCE – USCG TELEWORK CAPABILITIES – SITREP 3
A. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 140102 MAR 20/ALCOAST 085/20
B. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 200756 MAR 20/ALCOAST 094/20
C. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 272112 MAR 20/ALCOAST 112/20
D. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 201727 MAR 20/ALCOAST 096/20
1. The C5I community is working diligently to increase our network capacity and efficiency so the maximum  number of users are able to remotely support the Coast Guard. In the past week the CG has upgraded its network throughput and hardware, balanced server loads, and prioritized traffic to help meet the Coast Guard’s mission essential activities. Additional improvements to enhance the user telework experience will occur in phases over the next 2-6 weeks. Please consider the following:
2. Be Considerate and Be Vigilant! Network constraints can be frustrating. IAW REFs (A) thru (C), we must all do our part to allow network access to users supporting the most
mission essential activities. You can help by using the lowest bandwidth telework method, alternating your work schedule hours, and conducting self-help troubleshooting for network access issues.
    a. Method of Telework Access. Per REF (C), unless supporting a mission essential activity, all users shall use the least bandwidth solution first and work their way up as mission needs dictate. Access solutions are (least to highest impact): (1) Offline, (2) CG Mobile Device, (3) CAC Enabled Software Applications (i.e., OWA and CGPortal), (4) VPN, and (5) VDI for COVID-19 response only. A list of these “Information Systems & Network Systems” is located at: https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/.
    b. Alternate Work Schedule. Reinforcing the guidelines outlined in REF (C), please work with your supervisor for alternate work hours to avoid peak network usage. Peak hours for network usage are typically from 0800-1500 EDT weekdays.
    c. Check Telework Support Guides First. Many of your information needs and solutions for top telework challenges can be found online. Consolidated Telework help information is available at: https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/. Additional Telework technical tips can be found at: https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/units/c4ITSC/FSD/SitePages/CGFixIt.aspx.
3. Compliance. The following activities are necessary to maximize network access and ensure proper operational security.
    a. VDI Priority Access. Due to limited network capacity, the Coast Guard must manage user access to maximize support of mission essential functions. With the increased number of teleworkers, our VDI infrastructure is almost completely saturated, and we need more users to take advantage of unused CG-VPN capacity for remote access. Approximately 80% of laptops remain in the workplace and connected to the CGOne network. These laptops could be leveraged immediately for remote access from home. All laptops are already configured for CG-VPN and a streamlined setup process has been created: https://cg.portal.uscg.mil/units/dol/dol-3/BNCR/ COVID19 Updates/VPN Self-Help Tips.pdf. Additionally, over 2900 new laptops have been requested and over 900 have been shipped to users across the Coast Guard. C4ITSC is working rapidly to fulfill remaining Form 213RR prioritized orders for immediate shipment. These new laptops can be set up at home "out-of-the-box" and do not need to be connected to CGOne prior to using. To order additional laptops, submit a Form 213RR to FSDassist@uscg.mil.
    b. Retrieve and Use Your Coast Guard Laptop. Due to the high bandwidth demand, employees shall use their CG standard workstation laptops (where available and to the maximum extent practicable). These laptops shall then be used for VPN instead of VDI to reduce the load on the CG network (see REFs (A) thru (C)). To the extent practicable, employees who can safely travel to their office should contact their supervisors to discuss an orderly return to the worksite to retrieve their CG laptops. Employees must also ensure necessary files and folders are available for offline use before disconnecting from the CG network. The best practice is to make the entire "U" drive available for offline use. Telework help information is available at: https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/. VDI is prioritized for those working on the COVID-19 response, all others shall use alternate methods of connection or work (such as VPN, OWA, or offline work). Failure to prioritize using VPN over VDI may cause CG-6/Cyber to actively remove
users from VDI access if they have a CG laptop.
   c. Reduce Your Network Footprint. When using VPN, users shall consider logging out of Skype and closing Microsoft Office or using it in offline mode when not directly in use. This will speed up your computer and lower network demand. Users should also consider using Outlook webmail (https://outlook.uscg.mil/) instead of Microsoft Office.
4. Restricted, Prohibited, and Recommended Software Applications.
    a. Restricted Use Activities. While on VDI or VPN, users shall not use Skype screen sharing or download or stream audio/video unless absolutely required to meet mission essential requirements outlined in REF (C).
    b. Teleconferencing, Videoconferencing, and Collaborating tools: The recommended DoD-approved methods of teleconferencing and collaboration are Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) https://conference.apps.mil/dashboard/ and milSuite at: https://login.milsuite.mil/. These tools are secure, authorized, and available on the Internet for use outside of the Coast Guard network. For further details, please refer to: https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/ for the most updated list. If the DoD-approved teleconferencing and collaboration solutions do not provide the necessary capabilities to a unit commander, then as a last resort, Third-Party applications (apps), such as Zoom or Adobe Connect can be installed ONLY on personal and/or government mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) and are limited to “off network” use. Third-party teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and collaboration apps are NOT authorized on CG Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) Standard Workstation Laptops. These off-network Third-party apps offer the capability for collaborating remotely while also not using and preserving Coast Guard’s CGOne bandwidth. Users of Third-party applications are not authorized, and are strictly prohibited, from displaying or discussing the following: (a) Conversations discussing or sharing USCG sensitive information (FOUO, Law Enforcement Sensitive, Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), and all levels of classified information), (b) Operational Security (OPSEC), (c) Personally
Identifiable Information (PII), Sensitive PII, and Protected Health Information (PHI). USCG medical personnel utilizing third party, remote communication products (e.g., Skype) to deliver healthcare services should continue to follow the temporary changes to telemedicine policy outlined in REF (D). Third-party apps have known associated risks, refer to: https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/ for further details. CGCYBER will continue to evaluate risks and put out information to advise users, while working with COMDT (CG-6) to provide more secure collaboration alternatives that will allow us to migrate away from unsafe applications and ensure the protection of CG information and data.
    c. Use of Personal Email. Forwarding work files that are not internet releasable from your Coast Guard email to your personal email address is not authorized. Use of personal email to conduct official business is strictly prohibited. If you have files on your government computer or network that are internet releasable and do not contain PII, you may forward those files to your home email account.
    d. Printing and USB devices. Users must adhere to the USB policy for Government Furnished Equipment (GFE). Printers, Scanners and other home USB devices are not authorized for use with GFE. The approved peripheral list is available at: https://esuit.uscg.mil/ESUIT-Home/Entry/ProductList2.aspx. A wired Mouse, Keyboard and CAC Reader without onboard memory are authorized for all GFE. Users are reminded to abstain from printing Coast Guard documents on personal or commercial printers.
Information Security is everyone's responsibility. Not printing from CGPortal and Web Outlook will help ensure privacy and operational security.
5. Users are encouraged to regularly check https://dcms.uscg.mil/Telework/ for the most updated information regarding telework.
6. RADM Dave Dermanelian, Assistant Commandant for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information Technology (CG-6), sends.
7. Internet release is authorized.