data science (chombosan/

State data officers offer feedback on federal data strategy

With state governments receiving over $650 billion in federal funds annually to administer programs, the State Chief Data Officers Network has a vested interest in keeping tabs on the Trump administration’s federal data strategy. The initial draft of the strategy features 10 principles across three main pillars: stewardship, quality and continuous improvement.

The 14 members of the State CDO Network submitted comments on the federal data strategy suggesting  that because state and local governments are “often the primary source, providers or collectors of data for federal agencies,” their role should be acknowledged in the strategy.

To strengthen the relationship with state and local governments, the State CDO Network recommended adding a principle under the stewardship pillar stating that the federal government will actively engage with the state and local government programs responsible for data collected. They also recommended changing the seventh principle -- demonstrate responsiveness by improving data sharing and access with ongoing input from users and other stakeholders -- include input from state and local governments.

“While the State CDOs recognize the desire to maintain a broad set of principles to guide federal activities are necessary, we believe that formally acknowledging the stewardship role the state and local government play in the federal pipeline within its principles will enhance the federal data strategy,” the letter stated.

In the request for comments on the strategy, the Department of Commerce also asked stakeholders to provide use cases to guide the development of a comprehensive data strategy. The state CDOs offered four use cases:

Education and workforce outcomes: Most states are operating or in the process of establishing longitudinal data systems to inform policymakers on workforce outcomes of publicly funded education programs.

Combating opioid and addiction crises: Virtually every state is the process of formulating a strategy to monitor and reduce overdose-related deaths and improve addiction treatment and intervention strategies. Data at the local, state and federal levels can support research and evidence-based policies.

Recidivism: Most levels of government want to understand the causes of recidivism and identify effective strategies to reduce it. State and local governments can offer relevant data on housing, substance abuse, Medicaid, employment, education and transportation.

Fraud, waste and abuse: Efforts are currently underway in several states to leverage administrative data to ensure federal and state funds are used appropriately, and those initiatives can be scaled through collaboration with the federal government.

The State CDO Network also used the opportunity to comment on the federal data strategy to ask the federal government to streamline regulations when it comes to data privacy.  This follows up on the efforts by the National Association of State CIOs to make streamlining compliance requirements a priority.

State CDOs believe that state and federal agencies will both benefit if federal leadership harmonizes the current landscape of “confusing and conflicting” privacy regulations and establishes clear and consistent guidance governing the use of protected data used for program evaluations and the service delivery.

To help communicate state and local government priorities to managing federal data, the State CDO Network recommended convening a series of virtual roundtable discussions to share best practices and formulate detailed strategies for the effective use of data for all levels of government.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected