Federal Data Strategy and Draft Action Plan Released

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the finalized framework of the Federal Data Strategy, as well as a draft of its year one action plan today, cementing the administration’s approach to data under the President’s Management Agenda and setting out new activities for agencies to complete.

The Federal Data Strategy sets 40 finalized practices in addition to the 10 principles and mission statement identified in Oct. 2018. Together, these practices and principles set the longstanding framework for how agencies should utilize Federal data. In addition to the principles and practices, the draft action plan sets the short-term actions agencies will need to implement over the next year, with updates coming on an annual basis. The draft action plan is open for comment until July 5.

The action plan includes six actions for all agencies to complete, and 10 actions assigned to specific agencies or groups for government-wide implementation. The six activities every agency will need to implement – once the action plan is finalized in August – are:

  • Improve data resources for artificial intelligence research and development by February 2020
  • Constitute a diverse data governance body by September 2019
  • Assess data and related infrastructure maturity by May 2020
  • Identify opportunities to increase staff data skills by May 2020
  • Identify data needed to answer key agency questions by August 2020
  • Identify priority datasets for agency open data plans by August 2020

While each agency will need to take these actions, some agencies will need to put in more effort to meet these goals. A senior administration official told reporters today that the strategy aims to meet agencies where they are, but allows for agencies with strong data practices to move faster.

On a government-wide basis, the actions included are:

  • OMB will create an agency data council by November 2019
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) will create a curated catalog of data science training by February 2020
  • GSA will develop a data ethics framework by November 2019
  • GSA will develop a repository of tools and resources to implement the Federal Data Strategy by November 2019
  • The Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology will develop a data protection toolkit by August 2020
  • The Census Bureau will pilot a one-stop standard application for research access to Federal data by August 2020
  • The Department of Education will pilot an automated tool populate metadata on agency enterprise data inventories by August 2020
  • GSA will create a government-wide data catalog platform pilot with a shared code base and cloud hosting for agencies by February 2020
  • The President’s Management Council will improve management and use of financial management data assets by August 2020
  • The Federal Geospatial Data Committee will improve geospatial data standards by August 2020

“Like any lofty goal, we’re looking both strategically and tactically. We have to start with the basics, and invest and build a rock-solid foundation,” said Federal CIO Suzette Kent during a conference call with reporters.

The finalized practices of the Federal Data Strategy closely resemble the draft practices released in October 2018. The final version reduced the number of practices from 47 to 40, but a senior administration official noted that some of the practices had been combined and streamlined. The practices fall under three categories, reduced from five in the draft version:

  • Building a Culture that Values Data and Promotes Public Use
  • Governing, Managing, and Protecting Data
  • Promoting Efficient and Appropriate Data Use

“What you will see is a long-term strategy and ways that we are expanding on things have been done in the past but raising the bar by defining the standards, sharing principles across agencies and inside and outside of government, expanding our approach to collection, storage, use cases, accelerating commercial aspects, and reconsidering regulations as we move into a different model for data usage,” said Kent.

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