COVID-19

March 31, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is modeling the effects of drug molecules to stop the COVID-19 coronavirus. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL

A national laboratory supercomputer used to model neutron star collisions now is peering into inner space to explore potential vulnerabilities in COVID-19. The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), described by officials there as the world’s most powerful and smartest, is matching small-molecule drug compounds against the coronavirus in the hope of blunting the virus’s activities on two fronts.

March 31, 2020
 
Anyone with 3D printing or other additive manufacturing capabilities can help counter the spread of the coronavirus by making N95-style masks. Credit: CDC image

A movement is underway to inspire 3D printing or other additive manufacturing experts and hobbyists to produce N95-style masks, visors and other critical medical supplies across the United States and the globe. 

The so-called Maker’s Mask is a mask created by Rory Larsen at the request of Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. Larsen created the mask from commercially available hobbyist-grade 3D printers and other common household materials. He intends to share his design freely and widely. 

March 23, 2020
By Greg Touhill
With the Coronavirus driving more people to work or study from home, it is more important than ever for private individuals and families to secure their home networks. Credit: Manolines/Shutterstock

As people around the world practice self-isolation in an effort to reduce exposure and spreading of the COVID-19 virus, the need to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture arguably has never been higher. Millions of people have shifted their daily lives to an environment relying on telework, distance learning, Internet-enabled social engagement, streaming news and entertainment and other activities.

This “new normal” is facilitated by the robust capabilities of the Internet. Yet it presents a significant cyber risk. During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen bad actors stepping up their game with increased incidents of phishing, disinformation, watering hole attacks and other criminal activity.

March 30, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
 The Defense Department could help struggling small business contractors by advising contracting officers to use their legal authority to implement more flexible requirements, experts say. Credit: U.S. Defense Department

Small business contractors working with the federal government are facing unique challenges as they try to fulfill their contractual obligations amid COVID-19 site shutdowns. Their problems range from workers compensation details to meeting contractual specifications when not allowed to work on government sites. These problems may just be the tip of the iceberg as the government moves forward in the post-COVID-19 era, experts say.

March 25, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Amid the COVAD-19 crisis, first responders are turning more and more to communications through FirstNet, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Zoff

The COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has sickened tens of thousands of Americans and killed hundreds, is testing the viability of the FirstNet network in ways never seen before. The exponential increase in the number of cases in the country is pulling in more and more emergency medical services personnel, police officers, firefighters and other public safety officials, often in more remote areas, who all need real-time data exchange, network connectivity and communication tools.

March 17, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Essye Miller, principal deputy, DOD CIO, speaks at a town hall on the response to COVID-19. Credit: Screenshot of DVIDS video

During a town hall on the response to COVID-19, leaders at the Pentagon stressed the importance of cybersecurity as more employees shift to telework. Along with personal hygiene, Daniel Walsh, acting director, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, asked Pentagon personnel to practice good cyber hygiene.

Essye Miller, principal deputy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, echoed similar sentiments. “With the increased telework capability comes an increased attack surface for our adversaries. They are already taking advantage,” she said.

March 16, 2020
 
Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theater to various training areas. The exercise was expected to test multidomain operations but is now being restricted out of caution regarding the new coronavirus outbreak. Credit: U.S. Army

In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and recent guidance by the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Army has modified exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 in size and scope. As of March 13, all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe has ceased, according to an Army announcement.