WASHINGTON — Starting March 16, access to the Pentagon facilities will be restricted and offices in the building will operate on “minimum manning” to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, defense officials said March 14.

In a conference call with reporters, officials said many Defense Department offices will shift to telework, although it will not be mandatory. “Telework is an office-by-office decision,” one of the officials on the call said. Employees who have to access classified information for their jobs cannot telework and will have to go into the building.

Some offices in the building will have rotating staffs of ”red and blue” teams to help minimize contact.

Effective March 16, all public tours of the building are canceled, all unofficial visits and ceremonies are suspended, and all visits from international partners and visitors must be rescheduled or conducted remotely.

Additionally, any DoD civilian, military service member, contractor, or official visitor who has traveled internationally within the last 14 days cannot enter the Pentagon facilities.

The latest restrictions follow previously announced policies to halt travel for civilian and military personnel, to include permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The travel ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...