The Defense Department is transforming itself into a data-centric organization, and is tasking its chief data officer with new responsibilities to help it along its way.
In a memo, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the Pentagon adopted five “data decrees” to “generate transformative proficiency and efficiency gains across the DoD Data Strategy’s focus areas.”
Hicks wrote that the changes are “critical to improving performance and creating decision advantage at all echelons from the battlespace to the board room, ensuring U.S. competitive advantage. To accelerate the department’s efforts, leaders must ensure all DoD data is visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable, and secure.”
The decrees state that the Pentagon will maximize data sharing and rights for data use, publish data assets in a federated catalog, and make data useable by artificial intelligence and machines. DoD will also store data in a safe manner that is uncoupled from hardware and software and implement best practices to secure authentication, access management, encryption and protection of data.
Hicks’ memo directs the creation of a Data Council for all DoD components to coordinate data activities, and to appoint data leaders to manage data throughout its lifecycle and promote data literacy.
Under the new guidance, DoD’s chief data officer will be responsible for issuing policy and guidance regarding the Pentagon’s data ecosystem, sharing, architecture, lifecycle management and data-ready workforce.
The CDO is also tasked with working with the Joint Staff and Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to make it easier for weapons systems and different components in DoD to talk to each other.
“In order to rapidly field an enterprise data management solution, the Department will seek to scale existing capabilities that have proven themselves in the battlespace and in real-world operations, simulations, experiments, and demonstrations,” the memo states.
The memo solidifies the Advancing Analytics platform (Advana) as the single authoritative enterprise data management and analytics platform for the Pentagon.
Finally, Hicks is asking that the DoD CDO deliver status reports by June 15 on:
The establishment of the CDO as independent from the chief information officer,
Identification of near-term options to accelerate the adoption of enterprise data management
A review of current and developing data management and analytic platforms
Ways to resolve gaps in capabilities to data storage, access, security and management
Analysis of DoD data talent, fluency, critical skills gaps and training approaches
DoD published its Data Strategy last October. It imposes stronger governance over all of the military’s data, including information that’s used mainly for business purposes.
“DoD leadership has demanded that we address the need to manage and share our data. We must prioritize these efforts by focusing on the needs of the warfighter,” said a DoD official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity when the strategy was published. “The strategy provides the overarching vision, focus areas, guiding principles, essential capabilities and goals necessary to transform the department into a data-centric enterprise.”