As I am sure is true of most of you, day-to-day operations of SERDP and ESTCP have been impacted by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All SERDP Office employees and the Noblis support staff are working from home currently and look to be doing so for some time. In addition, DoD has restricted travel for all Service members and civilian employees through May 11th.
I do not expect Interactions of our investigators and proposers with Program Office staff to be any different during this period. As many of you know, our offices are in a building that is very difficult for visitors in the best of times so most interactions are via e-mail or telephone. All the staff are answering e-mails promptly when I send them and we have all forwarded our office phones to a number we can access from home.
We have two sets of In-progress Reviews (IPRs) scheduled in April; we have converted both of them to virtual meetings using Zoom. The meeting support staff has been in contact with Technical Committee members and PIs from the Resource Conservation and Resiliency (RC) and Weapons Systems and Platforms (WP) Program Areas to facilitate this change. We conducted our weekly staff meeting this week using Zoom and, aside from a few minor glitches, it went smoothly. Everybody will have to wear a clean shirt for the video chat but there should be no larger impact. As we see how the response unfolds, we will make a decision for the May IPRs as appropriate.
The biggest impact to the programs is just starting however. Many of our performers are locked out of their labs and having to contemplate cancelling planned field experiments. Please coordinate with your Program Manager as these decisions are made; summarizing schedule disruptions and adjustments in your Quarterly Progress Reports will help us as well. Inevitably, these delays will have an impact on milestones and contract completion dates. I have started a conversation with our contracting agency about addressing this on a program-wide basis; I will let everyone know if we see any progress on this front.