The State Department’s new Enterprise Data Strategy released on September 27 outlines the central role that data will play in the agency’s use of emerging technologies, and how the strategy will help the United States deal with global threats.

“This enterprise data strategy represents the elevation of data in American diplomacy at a time when the world demands it, diplomacy calls for it, Ambassadors and other Department leaders require it, and our workforce expects it,” the strategy states.

The State Department’s vision is to make data a critical instrument of diplomacy. To that end, the agency said it will empower its workforce with skills and tools to derive actionable mission insights from data, and make sure its data assets are securely shared and effectively managed. The new enterprise data strategy envisions greater access to data, increased data fluency across the workforce, and better governance to ensure data security.

The strategy outlines four primary goals:

  • Cultivate a data culture to strengthen data fluency, enhance data collaboration, and grow the workforce;
  • Accelerate decisions through analytics by delivering analytic products, modern analytical tools, and scaling artificial intelligence applications;
  • Establish mission-driven data management by enabling data access, defining and implementing a data architecture and standards, and establishing a data quality program; and
  • Establish enterprise data governance to develop data policy and measure the organizational value of data and analytics.

“This strategy represents the close collaboration of bureaus and offices across the Department to develop a holistic approach to building a foundation of data capabilities and assets,” the strategy states. “This strategy, and the following implementation plan, are set on a three-year time horizon to create momentum, deliver rapid return on its efforts to support the Department’s workforce, and provide accountability to American taxpayers.”

The strategy also features five guiding principles to reinforce decisions around data – sharing, application, governance, ethics, and security.

The principle for data sharing aim for appropriate sharing of data through collective stewardship to enable analysis across the enterprise and enhance its value. When looking at application processes, the agency must ensure that data is broadly understood and applied to inform evidence-based decisions at all levels and missions across the globe. The governance principle will ensure that effective oversight and management of data enables the agency’s applications through improved data quality, simplified use, and investment decisions prioritized by mission impact.

On the ethics front, guidelines will ensure that data is responsibly collected, stored, and utilized to provide accountability to the U.S. taxpayer and uphold the highest scientific and data integrity levels. And finally, security guidelines will ensure that data is safeguarded through industry-leading security practices at each classification level to protect U.S. national interests at home and abroad.

The department’s Enterprise Data Council, led by Chief Data Officer Matthew Graviss, will implement the strategy. The council will also provide regular updates to Brian McKeon, the deputy secretary of State for Management and Resources.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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