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DOD’s data decrees aim to preserve military’s advantage

To transform the military into a data-centric organization, the Defense Department has laid out five "data decrees" to guide data sharing, storage and security.

"Leaders at all levels have a responsibility to manage, understand, and responsibly share and protect data," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks wrote in the memo that was publicly released May 10. "Common access to authoritative data is essential for providing a 'single source of truth' for objective and informed decision-making."

The memo details DOD's five principles covering the creation, publication, protection, management and use of data:

  • Maximize data sharing and rights for data use.
  • Publish data assets in the DOD federated data catalog along with common interface specifications.
  • Use automated data interfaces that are industry standard, non-proprietary, machine readable and externally accessible.
  • Store data in an environment-agnostic platform.
  • Implement industry best practices for authentication, access management, encryption, monitoring and protection of data at rest, in transit and in use.

The memo designates the Advancing Analytics (Advana) platform “as the single enterprise authoritative data management and analytics platform” for DOD senior leadership. Any other data management and analytics tools must adhere to open data standards and be approved by the chief data officer, the memo stated.

Hicks also highlighted data's role in implementing Joint All Domain Operations and establishing DOD's Advancing Analytics platform as the official "enterprise authoritative data management and analytics platform" for top DOD leaders.

The memo largely synthesizes DOD's data strategy released in November, emphasizing the chief data officer's leadership in implementing the strategy, issuing data policy and guidance, and providing access to all DOD data.

 “Speeding these efforts is imperative,” Hicks wrote.

The memo details several policy deadlines that are spread across the summer and fall. The CDO, for example, must identify "near-term options" to rapidly adopt enterprise data management and analytics and resolve any gaps in capabilities. Additionally, Hicks ordered final reports regarding the assessment and plan of action for standing up the chief data officer separately from the DOD CIO and as the principal staff assistant for enterprise data management and data analytics by July 1.

The CDO and members of the Analysis Working Group must also review current and developing data platforms and analysis of data talent and personnel by the fall.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.


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