With the upcoming release of the Federal Data Strategy’s final action plan on the horizon, Federal chief data officers (CDOs) agreed on Sept. 25 that the strategy holds plenty of promising features to advance their work, including an official CDO council that will help them share ideas and experiences.

At the Data Driven Government conference, CDOs from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) spoke in a panel about projects in data management, analysis, and collaboration – the last of which largely comes from the Federal Data Strategy’s guidance.

Sarah Ijaz, HUD CDO, and Caryl Brzymialkiewicz, HHS OIG CDO, said they look forward to formation of the CDO council.

Each of the panelists touched on how fostering dialogue among CDOs and personnel who work with data has led to cross-agency collaboration, and Brzymialkiewicz said that creation of a CDO council will help formalize those conversations in a meaningful setting.

“How are we going to pull together as a community,” she asked, and replied that a council will help CDOs tap into other agencies’ resources and enable information sharing between them.

In addition to the council – which the Federal Data Strategy currently has set to launch in November – Ijaz said she’s excited about a data resource and toolkit repository provided for in the strategy.  That well of information will help new CDOs in particular to build a foundation for data management, organization, and analysis, she said.

Meanwhile, USCIS CDO Matthew Graviss focused on the workforce components of the Federal Data Strategy. He said that “recruiting, training, and hiring – all things data scientist – and getting that position established within our lexicon” is important to him.

Graviss added that as agencies continue to work with data, figuring out how to target professionals who work with data will be key to driving agency efforts forward.

The strategy’s draft action plan currently calls for the following government-wide steps:

  • The Office of Management and Budget will create an agency data council by November 2019;
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) will create a data science training catalogue by February 2020;
  • GSA will develop a data ethics framework by November 2019;
  • GSA will develop a tool and resource repository by November 2019;
  • The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology will develop a data protection toolkit by August 2020;
  • The Department of Education will pilot an automated tool to populate metadata on agency enterprise data inventories by August 2020;
  • GSA will form a government-wide data catalog pilot with a shared code base and cloud hosting for agencies by February 2020;
  • The President’s Management Council will improve management and financial management data asset usage by August 2020; and
  • The Federal Geospatial Data Committee will improve geospatial data standards by August 2020.
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Melissa Harris